There is a long history of arrests for insurance fraud involving consumers submitting fraudulent injury claims from automobile accidents and similar events. Intentionally submitting a substantively false claim is one thing, but some of these arrests seem to be questionably premised on a fine-line distinction between normal negotiating tactics and actual fraud. For example, a North Carolina man was recently arrested for insurance fraud regarding a July 31, 2012 car accident.
The 28-year-old Charlotte resident was charged with one count each of insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense, according to state insurance authorities. They are still looking for another man who submitted a claim on the same accident. According to news reports, investigators say that the two men ‘exaggerated’ the amounts of damage to their vehicle and medical injuries in attempting to defraud a major nationally-known automobile insurer.
The investigation is being handled by the North Carolina Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations. The details of what the two did were not immediately provided by police or the investigators. However, based on the reported allegations of exaggerated claims, it is wondered whether what the duo did was any different than what most claimants do when they make their initial demand as high as reasonably possible to account for future reductions through the negotiating process.
For example, the amount of property damage to a vehicle can be highly subjective. Furthermore, the economic value of a specified personal injury is notoriously subject to a wide range of expert and non-expert opinions. A repair bill from one mechanic can be worlds away from another’s estimate of the same repairs. ‘Blue book’ values of used cars allow for wide variances. In these instances, what authorities call fraud could on the other hand be seen as prudent negotiating procedure.
Experienced insurance agents are trained to respond to extremely high demands and they possess a multitude of negotiating tools that sufficiently protect them from falling prey to inflated demands. If a North Carolina resident faces a charge of insurance fraud or a similar criminal offense the best strategy is to obtain experienced counsel as soon as possible. A strong defense can be better prepared and evaluated early in the process while the situation is still dynamic and fluctuating.
Source: wbtv.com, “One arrested, one wanted for insurance fraud, officials say,” John Cominsky, March 14, 2013