Lawmakers will be focusing on ways to control auto insurance prices; mainly, by reducing the amount of scams and civil lawsuits associated with bogus personal injury claims. Staged accidents are costing law enforcement, insurance companies and private tax payers millions of dollars a year.
In most states, insurance fraud is a (2nd degree) felony, with a minimum, mandatory two year prison term if convicted. In some states, like Florida, organized crime rings committing auto related accidents have gotten so out of control, the insurance industry has developed special investigation units. These special squads are dedicated solely to investigating personal injury claims arising from (possibly) “staged” accidents.
Over a four year period, fraudulent auto-injury claims can raise premiums across a single state, over 514 million dollars. Excessive pay outs for one year, have cost the insurance industry over 7 billion dollars; or, more than 15 percent of claims that were paid out, were fraudulent.
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To lower these rates, state lawmakers must come up with a way to reduce injury claims and civil lawsuits. It isn’t just crime rings that are involved; many doctors and lawyers are involved with the fraud claims also. Doctors will diagnose the “victim” with certain injuries; while lawyers trump up bills and services.
Everyone involved, on the illegal side of it, gets a portion of the claim settlement; while the real victim (the unsuspecting driver), taxpayers, and the insurance industry itself, end up on the losing end. Lawmakers are hoping that by capping what lawyers and doctors can charge, and putting a limit on the pay outs associated with these types of accidents, it will reduce the amount of fraud.