Contesting the Other Driver's Fraudulent Injury Claim

If you suspect that the other driver is faking injury, or that their claim is otherwise fraudulent, what can you do about it?

It's a fact that some people make fraudulent injury claims after car accidents. Here's what you need to know:

  • If you suspect that another person's car accident injury claim is baseless (or that they're downright faking an injury), you can take action.
  • As a practical matter, the extent to which another driver or passenger's fraudulent claim is a concern for you personally hinges on whether you have adequate car insurance coverage in place.
  • Building a solid record of your accident, doing some online investigation, even engaging an attorney (and/or an investigator) can all help you prove your case.

Fighting a False Injury Claim If You Have Car Insurance

If you have car insurance, and the other driver is making a claim against that coverage, then the adjuster handling your case will take charge of the matter, and will investigate all aspects of the car accident, including any indication that the other is making a fraudulent claim for car accident injuries.

All you need do is be sure you give the insurance adjuster all of the information you have about the accident and anything related to it. That includes your most detailed account of how the crash happened, the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident and/or its aftermath, and any pictures you might have taken of the car accident scene. (Get more details on steps to take after a car accident.)

After that, the adjuster is in charge, and there is nothing further you need (or should) do. Insurance companies are nothing if not thorough in ferreting out fraudulent or questionable personal injury claims—it's their money on the line, after all.

Will My Insurance Company Act In My Best Interest?

If your interest is in keeping the other driver/passenger from making a fraudulent injury claim, then the insurance company's interest aligns nicely with your own. As we touched on above, it's the insurance company's money on the line, and they're going to do everything they can to make sure the "injured" person's claim is a valid one.

Will My Car Insurance Premiums Increase?

Your insurance premium shouldn't go up based on the existence or severity of another driver or passenger's injuries after a car accident. This is an issue of the nature and extent of a claimant's losses related to a covered accident, not liability for that accident. If you're convinced that the other driver is wrongly claiming that you were at fault for the accident, that's a different situation. Learn more about disputing fault after a car accident.

Fighting a False Injury Claim If You Don't Have Car Insurance

If you're in a car accident and you don't have car insurance, you (and/or your lawyer) must take the lead in investigating and defending against a possible fraudulent injury claim.

You can start by writing down everything you can remember about what happened at the car accident scene, including:

  • how the collision occurred
  • approximately how fast each vehicle was traveling at the time of impact
  • the severity of the impact
  • what each person involved in the crash said afterward
  • how each person involved in the crash looked/acted afterward, and
  • injuries/symptoms that were reported or complained of by anyone involved in the crash.

If you took pictures at the car accident scene, got the names of witnesses, and had a law enforcement officer come to the scene so that a police report could be prepared, all of that evidence will be essential to fighting a fraudulent car accident injury claim. (Get tips on what you can do if you disagree with the car accident police report.)

You're on the Financial Hook If You're Uninsured

If you're uninsured, and the other driver files a personal injury lawsuit against you, then you could be financially responsible for all of that person's losses resulting from the accident ("damages"), including their medical bills, their lost income, and their mental and physical "pain and suffering". So a fake or greatly exaggerated injury is very much your concern.

Do Some Online Sleuthing to Uncover a Fraudulent Injury Claim

You have some detective work to do if you think the person is faking their injuries. Besides building a case through witnesses, pictures, and the police report, you can go online.

Your goal is to try to uncover evidence of the person acting in a manner that is inconsistent with their claimed car accident injuries. Google, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites are excellent investigative devices, especially if the injured person has a significant social media presence, and is in the habit of posting lots of textual/visual evidence of his or her daily life.

For example, if you learn that the other driver is training for a half-marathon or just spent a weekend building houses for Habitat for Humanity, participation is activities like that can indicate that a debilitating knee injury is being faked.

Hire an Investigator to Prove a Fraudulent Car Accident Injury Claim

While it could be risky, some parties to a personal injury lawsuit (or investigators hired by personal injury lawyers) have been know to do a little in-person sleuthing when they suspect that an injury is being faked or exaggerated (without confronting the person, of course).

The goal here is to observe (and possibly record) how the "injured" person looks and acts. Are appearances and activities consistent or inconsistent with the claimed injuries? An investigator is usually free to take photographs/video as long as they are on public property and the subject is on public property when the pictures/videos are taken.

Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer

Ultimately, if the other driver is suing you, and you and your lawyer are convinced that the claim is fraudulent, your best course of action may be to let the car accident lawsuit process play out until the time comes to ask the court to order the other driver (the plaintiff) to submit to an independent medical examination (IME). If the court grants this request, then the true nature and extent of the plaintiff's injuries should become clear.

If it turns out that the plaintiff's claimed injuries can't be medically substantiated, there's a chance that the lawsuit could be dismissed, and if the lawsuit is deemed "frivolous," the defendant might be ordered to pay you.

If you're ready to discuss your situation and your options with an experienced legal professional, learn more about how a car accident lawyer can help.

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