This fall we wrote about an insurance scam being perpetrated throughout the country, including Florida, wherein drivers stage car accidents to obtain benefits through personal injury protection policies. PIP provides coverage to policyholders for the medical bills that may accumulate after being injured in a motor vehicle accident. The protection applies regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
This fraud is complicated and often incorporates quite a few people to perpetrate. When successful, the scam has the potential to be quite fruitful for those participating as currently all drivers in Florida must carry $10,000 in PIP coverage.
Authorities in Florida take this fraud very seriously. Accordingly, the state implemented Operation Dark Horizon to address the matter. Since the program was put into place, individuals at all levels of the scam have been arrested including staged accident recruiters and doctors. In all, the number arrested currently totals around 25.
A mother and daughter team are two who were recently arrested for participating in the scam. They were charged with five crimes including patient brokering, personal injury protection insurance fraud and operating an unlicensed clinic.
It is likely that some drivers will assume that scams like this will not impact them at all. This is untrue however since the fraudulent claims will most likely ultimately drive-up the insurance premiums for all Florida drivers.
A peripheral way in which Florida drivers may also be impacted by the scam could appear when legitimate accidents happen. If adjusters are busy dealing with fraudulent claims, they may not be able to provide the appropriate attention to someone who has been injured in an accident that truly is an accident.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “Two Miami women arrested for alleged staged accident,” Julie Patel, Dec. 12, 2011