A worrying phenomenon, fraudulent car insurance claims are becoming a scourge on the lives of honest motorists. In fact, these scams are contributing to the estimated $80 billion that fraud costs the insurance industry each year. And this number is on the rise as innocent motorists are increasingly targeted. Incidents where fault is caused deliberately by scammers are becoming commonplace, as the culprits look to capitalise on the insurance pay-out.
A number of scenarios are possible where an accident is staged – a scammer can:
- Get in front of another driver’s vehicle and then slam on the brakes to cause a rear-end collision. If you go into the back of another driver the fault will invariably be yours.
- Wave an unsuspecting driver into traffic and then pull out in front of them at the last minute.
- Cause additional and extensive damage to their vehicle after the incident occurs, meaning your pay-out will be greater.
Details like the severity of injuries sustained and the number of people in the vehicle at the time of the incident can also be exaggerated, while individuals can also change their account later in the proceedings, preventing a timely resolution.
Dashcam as an independent witness
The list of suggestions to protect yourself against such eventualities is long, including taking notes and photos of the scene of an incident. However, your emotions are likely to be affected by the shock of the event and it is often the case that our memories are distorted. In fact, Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychological science and law at the University of California Irvine School of Law, who has dedicated her professional life to studying human memory, says, “Our memories are constructive, we unconsciously fill in gaps. Think of memory as a Wikipedia page. You can go in and change it – and so can suggestions from other people.”
An example of this played out in one of Loftus’ experiments where witnesses were asked to recall traffic incidents. After showing volunteers a film of a collision, she questioned them about it. Some of the participants were asked how fast the cars were going when they ‘hit’ each other. Others were asked how fast the cars were going when they ‘smashed’ into each other. According to Loftus, “The ones who were asked the smash question told us the cars were going faster and some even said they saw broken glass on the road when there hadn’t been any.”
Despite this potential for inaccuracy, there is an overwhelmingly high reliance on eyewitness accounts in road traffic cases. What’s needed is an independent witness whose recall is never clouded.
A sure-fire way of protecting yourself against any such event is by installing a Dashcam and Nextbase’s cameras can cover off these eventualities with its industry-leading image quality across the range. A Dashcam captures cast iron evidence – with one installed, you will never need to be reliant on just memories.