Personal injury claims include claimed losses stemming from a physical or mental injury. In order to win a personal injury case, the plaintiff must be able to prove that they suffered an injury and suffered a loss as a result of that injury. They must also be able to prove that the defendant’s action or inaction caused them to suffer that injury. What happens when a plaintiff files a personal injury claim based on lies? Can a plaintiff be charged with a crime or suffer a financial penalty? Who is charged with investigating these claims, and how do they figure out who is telling the truth?
Fraud Investigation in Personal Injury Cases
When a personal injury case is filed, it is up to the courts to decide if that case will be heard. As explained by our personal injury attorney Indianapolis law firm, courts can only go on the information provided by the plaintiff and defendant. While the plaintiff has the burden of proving their case, the defendant will often pay an investigator to investigate the claim if they suspect fraud, or to introduce doubt into a case. For example, a grocery store that is subject to a slip-and-fall personal injury claim could hire an investigator to look into the plaintiff’s claim. If the plaintiff is claiming grievous physical injury and the fraud investigator observes them on video performing physical activities that are outside their stated abilities, it will greatly hurt their claim, and might even result in the claim being dropped altogether.
Fraud investigators use a variety of means to investigate personal injury claims. Capturing the plaintiff on tape behaving in a manner that is contradictory to their stated physical condition is but one tool in their arsenal. Finding previously filed personal injury claims that establishes a pattern of potentially fraudulent behavior can taint the judge and jury to the point that the claim is virtually dead in the water.
If a person is involved in an auto accident scheme, an experienced investigator can use information from the scene, the injuries claimed, and evidence collected from the vehicles involved to raise suspicion of fraud. In the past, investigators have been able to uncover schemes of this type that involve multiple people and a lot of money. The parties involved leave themselves vulnerable to a variety of consequences for being involved in the fraud.
Consequences of a Fraudulent Claim
There are serious consequences that a plaintiff could face if caught filing a fraudulent personal injury claim. These can include criminal extortion charges, loss of driver’s license and insurance, and they could be subject to a lawsuit filed by the defendant.
If a plaintiff is found to have filed a fraudulent personal injury claim after winning the case and collecting damages, they could be forced to repay the defendant, with interest, until the entirety of the damages are recouped. If they are unable to repay the money, the defendant can garnish their wages or file a lien against their property.
Personal injury claims are usually filed by people who are truly injured. Those who abuse the system often end up getting little to nothing, or they get caught red-handed and have to suffer the very real consequences of their actions.
Article written by Georgina Clatworthy, a former legal blog editor and now a contributing writer for the personal injury attorney Indianapolis based law firm, Sevenish Law. Their experienced lawyers represent many who have suffered serious injuries and always fully investigate all claims to ensure those who are negligent are held accountable.