In the UK there has been an increase in the number of Crash for Cash convictions – how can you spot the signs and avoid becoming a victim?
What is Crash for Cash?
Crash for Cash means that at least one party is willingly involved in a car accident for financial gain.
To do this, people normally use one of the following tactics…
- Staged accidents - fraudsters make insurance claims after deliberately crashing into each other.
- Contrived accidents - fraudsters make insurance claims on accidents that have not taken place.
- Induced accidents - fraudsters make insurance claims after causing innocent drivers to crash into a vehicle.
UK law entitles those injured in car accidents that were not their fault to claim Personal Injury compensation. This has lead to people deliberately involving themselves in car accidents where innocent drivers have found themselves to be victims of accidents that were caused by the other driver on purpose, although this is often very difficult to prove.
There has been press attention drawn to recent events in the UK involving Crash for Cash fraud. Evidence has shown people use tactics such as removing brake bulbs to cause innocent drivers to crash in to the back of a car. The fraudster knows that rear end collisions are rarely disputed by the drivers insurance company, and use this to their advantage when making a claim. It is almost impossible to prove that the brake lights on the car that was hit were not working. This will probably result in the claim being successful, and the fraudster winning their insurance claim and being awarded personal injury compensation and other damages.
Following an accident, the person will exaggerate their injuries in order to claim Personal Injury compensation and other costs. Criminals will purposely carry passengers when causing the Crash for Cash accident, this will allow them to make multiple Personal Injury claims.
Incidents have been reported where drivers of large vehicles have reversed at speed trying to crash in to the car behind them. One shocked driver reported that a driver of a 4x4 vehicle looked at him in the rear view mirror before braking suddenly. When the driver avoided the accident by stopping in time, the driver attempted to crash in to him by reversing at speed.
Cash for Crash fraudsters have been known to flash their headlights to make an innocent driver believe that they have been given permission to exit from a turning. They will then continue without braking and hit the other driver, causing a Crash for Cash fraud accident. The victim of the Crash for Cash fraud will find it virtually impossible to prove that they were given permission to exit. By causing an unavoidable obstruction the victim of the scam will be held liable when the Crash for Cash fraudster makes a claim. LJM advises you always to proceed with caution when exiting from side roads. If you think that you have been given way by another driver, take care and consider if it is safe to proceed before doing so. If an accident occurs they may blame you, so think carefully.
Crash for Cash fraud costs every insured driver in the UK money. Criminal gangs and individuals have made fraudulent Cash for Cash claims amounting to tens of millions of pounds a year.
How can I avoid being a victim of Cash for Cash fraud?
Fraudsters may find it easier to target you when you aren’t concentrating on driving. Using a mobile phone whilst driving, sending text messages, eating whilst driving, are all to be avoided. If you are not concentrating, that may be the time the car in front of you brakes heavily and causes an accident. Keep your eyes on the road at all times, don’t become distracted when driving. Keep plenty of space between you and the car in front, and allow even more room in wet weather conditions.
If you think that you have been victim of a Crash for Cash accident
- Report the incident in detail to the police as soon as possible. Make sure you give all the details as they will help your case in the future.
- Make sure you obtain a Crime Reference Number from the police.
- Let your broker/ insurer know that you believe the accident was caused deliberately, and tell them why you think so.
Crash for Cash fraud is not a victimless crime, it effects the insurance industry, which means an increase in our insurance premiums. Because it is impossible to pinpoint exactly how much money Crash for Cash fraud costs, insurance companies are likely to overcompensate Crash for Cash fraud costs and increase insurance premiums by more than is necessary.
For further information, or to ask any questions, please contact LJM Insurance on 0161 406 6786 or by email email@example.com