Staged “crash for cash” road collisions are on the rise according to a recent report in the Irish Independent. There are apparently a number of insurance fraud rings operating around the country in particular around the areas of – Swords and Tallaght in Dublin, the Cork area, Galway, the Border region, and Ennis in Co Clare.
“Crash for cash” accidents involve people deliberately setting up car crashes and then submitting bogus personal injury claims. Such is the impact of these claims that they are driving up the cost of insurance.
Typically the drivers will target an innocent vehicle and deliberately cause a rear impact by slamming on the brakes. In some cases the brake lights have been disabled so the unsuspecting motorist driving behind has no idea the car in front is slowing down let alone coming to a very abrupt stop, leaving them with little chance but to run into the back of the fraudster’s car.
So when, where and to whom are these “accidents” most likely to occur?
1) Most incidents of this type are staged at night.
2) Normally at relatively quiet junctions and roundabouts where there are likely to be few witnesses around.
3) The most common targets are drivers who appear the most likely to be insured, those with well-maintained cars, older drivers and families with young children.
How do you minimise your risk?
1) Keep a safe distance between your car and the car in front.
2) Stay alert at all times, it only takes a moments lapse in concentration to be a victim of this fraud.
3) If you notice the car in front brakes and their lights don’t work, remain cautious, allow extra space between you and the car.
4) Are there passengers in the car in front, if so are they turning around and looking at you for no apparent reason?
5) Consider installing a dash cam, if you’re the victim of an insurance scam, the camera will most likely show it.
What if you are unlucky enough to be involved in one of these “accidents”?
1) Do not confront the driver with your suspicions and don’t admit any liability.
2) Take photos of both cars.
3) Note down the make, model and registration number of the vehicle, the time and date and location and any weather conditions and the full details of the driver and the car’s passengers.
4) Count the number of passengers in the other car as often a claim will be lodged for far more people than were actually in the vehicle.
5) Try to find an independent witness.
6) Tell the police and your insurers about your suspicions.
You can listen back here (at 50.00 minutes in) to a discussion I had, on these bogus claims, with Chris Donoghue on Newstalk Breakfast recently
12th February, 2015