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The profitable nature of these types of staged accidents has led to the terminology “crash for cash" scams. In other words, defrauders think of staged accidents as a means of
Beyond staged traffic accidents, still other forms of hard auto insurance involve the filing of a claim when the person was not actually involved in the accident. For example,
when a vehicle was rear-ended in a crash, there might only be one person in the car. But, when the claim is filed with the insurer, there may be 4 or 5 people who claimed that
they were also in the car at the time of the accident.
Another form of hard auto insurance fraud involves the submission of claims for medical treatment that was not actually received. Often, an insured will make an arrangement
with a deceptive chiropractic specialist or medical doctor, wherein the insured allows the specialist or doctor to bill the insurer for services, even though they are never
received. The insured then receives some portion of the chiropractic or medical fees.
And finally, some auto insurance fraud involves the outright fabrication of injuries. These injuries often involve soft tissue injuries of the neck or back. These specific types of
injuries are difficult to identify medically.
These fraudulent auto insurance claims often directly shape the existence of innocent people through accidental or purposeful injury or damage. And, even if consumers are
not directly affected by a staged traffic accident, both soft and hard auto insurance fraud causes general consumer premiums to be higher than necessary. Auto insurance
fraud adds an estimated 13-18 billion to the annual insurance bills that Americans must pay.
The accident reconstruction experts at Crash Data Services, LLC offer investigative services such as crash data retrieval or general accident reconstruction techniques to
help explore suspicious claims.
Crash data retrieval is the process by which reconstructionists download the recorded data from inside a vehicle’s black box, or event data recorder (EDR). An EDR is
generally located in the airbag control module (ACM) or powertrain control module (PCM) of a vehicle. The data from these modules can supply crucial information for use in
the analysis of a traffic accident.
Insurance fraud is any act committed with the intent to fraudulently obtain compensation from an insurer.
This includes the misrepresentation of the circumstances surrounding a traffic accident.
The accident reconstruction experts at Crash Data Services, LLC recognize that automotive insurance
fraud poses a very significant problem. Therefore, our reconstructionists offer organizations the
assistance that they need in preventing such activities.
Generally, insurance fraud is fought by fraud bureaus. Fraud bureaus are state agencies charged with
the investigation and prosecution of insurance fraud in their state. Most states have fraud bureaus which
investigate fraud across nearly all lines of insurance, including automotive. However, there are those
states that do not have multi-line fraud bureaus. Those states are Alabama, Illinois, Maine, Michigan,
Oregon, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Those states without insurance fraud bureaus, such as Illinois, rely heavily on private industry special
investigation units (SIU) to identify and deter fraudulent insurance claims. The accident reconstruction
experts at Crash Data Services, LLC can assist these SIU agents by providing clearly articulated evidence
of automotive insurance fraud.
Our experts can also adapt general accident reconstruction techniques to
automotive insurance fraud investigation.
Vehicle damage evaluations can be utilized by our experts to assess what
type of accident a vehicle was in, what it struck, or how old vehicle damage
is. Occupant kinematic evaluations can help our reconstructionists explain
which person was operating a vehicle when it crashed. And full accident
reconstruction assessments can provide dynamic details, such as how fast
a vehicle was traveling or how two vehicles interacted during a collision.
All of the accident reconstruction experts who perform investigative services
for Crash Data Services, LLC are graduates of Northwestern University’s
Center for Public Safety Accident Reconstructionist Program and/or are
certified reconstructionists by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic
Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR).
For more information about our general accident reconstruction techniques
and a detailed description of this services, please click here.
For more information about crash data retrieval, download examples and a
detailed description of this service, please click here.
Crash Data Services, LLC is also proud to support the
fight against insurance fraud through our membership in
the Illinois Chapter of The National Society of Professional
Insurance Investigators (NSPII) and the Illinois Chapter of
The International Association of Special Investigation Units
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The complexity of automotive insurance scams varies greatly. They generally fall into one of two categories, either soft automotive insurance fraud or hard auto insurance
Soft automotive insurance fraud can involve the exaggeration of injuries sustained as a result of a traffic accident. The Rand Institute for Civil Justice estimates that one third of
people hurt in traffic accidents exaggerate their injuries.
Or, a person might file a claim over a real injury, but one that did not actually result from the collision in which they were involved. Still other motorists will try to pump up the
value of a claim by misrepresenting the actual cost to repair their vehicle. Many of these types of auto insurance fraud are performed with the hopes of off-setting the premium
of the policy.
Hard automotive insurance fraud, however, can be much more dangerous. These types of auto insurance scams can include staged automobile collisions. One of the most
infamous forms of the staged accident is the swoop and squat. The swoop and squad involves two offending vehicles and one unsuspecting victim. In this case, one of the
offending vehicles drives in front of the victim, while the second offending vehicle swerves in front of the first. The first offending vehicle then abruptly slams on the brakes,
causing the victim vehicle to rear-end it. Often, the defrauders who perpetrate this type auto insurance scam will target persons talking on cell phones, driving with children or
infants in the vehicle, or the elderly.
However, crash data retrieval does not just allow our experts to look for certain
symptoms associated with fraudulent accident claims. Our accident
reconstruction experts can also utilize crash data retrieval as a means of
promptly making accurate and justifiable claims assessments when
significant financial risk is involved.
Automotive insurance fraud has existed since the time that auto insurance policies first became available to consumers. Fraudulent auto claims account for a significant
portion of all claims received by insurers, and cost billions of dollars annually.
Types of automotive insurance fraud are varied, and take place across all lines, including liability only, commercial, and comprehensive policies. Fraudulent auto insurance
claims can involve exaggerated claims of injury. Or, they can involve deliberately caused or staged accidents.
Crash data can give our accident reconstruction experts a more detailed
assessment of speed and crash severity. Crash severity is, of course, the
general mechanism of injury. This particular information could be used to
refute those hard insurance fraud claims where the occupant fabricates an
The above download illustrates a relatively large crash pulse that took place over a relatively
short period of time. Larger crash pulses with short durations are generally more likely to
The above download illustrates a relatively small crash pulse that took place over a relatively
long period of time. Smaller crash pulses with longer durations are generally less likely to
Some vehicles are even equipped with occupant detection devices. These
devices and their status are often recorded during an accident. So, if the
front passenger seat was not occupied during an accident, the crash data
might be able to refute a claim that more than one individual was in a
vehicle when a collision occurred.
In the above download, we see that the vehicle was capable of recording occupant information.
When the vehicle was in an accident, the front passenger seat was “Empty”.
In the above data downloaded from the Chevy Blazer, it becomes readily apparent that
the vehicle did not stop for its stop sign. Instead, the vehicle was traveling about 14
MPH when it violated the sign.
In the above accident, a Chevy Blazer and Chrysler 300 collided in an intersection. Both
drivers claim that they stopped for their stop sign. At least one driver from this collision
cannot be telling the truth.
Crash data retrieval can also help our reconstruction experts determine if
reported accident scenarios are possible. For example, many vehicles
now record speed and brake use. This can be particularly useful to our
reconstructionists when identifying staged accidents. If a vehicle was
driven with the intent to strike another vehicle, then the pre-crash data can
show signs of intentional vehicle misuse.
Disclaimer: Crash Data Services, LLC and crashdataservices.net provide the information in this web site for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to be legal advice or an expert
opinion and should not be construed as such. The use of this site does not create a contractor/client relationship with any employee of Crash Data Services, LLC. Each investigation is different. Case
results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case. The results of any investigation/reconstruction do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by Crash Data Services,
|Insurance fraud investigators and claims adjusters are now eligible to become certified Crash Data Retrieval Technicians. Please visit our crash data retrieval training page
to learn more about this opportunity or to schedule a class.
|Our experts are always available to fulfill your accident reconstruction needs Call today for a free consultation: (847)-217-6644 or reach our reconstruction experts by email