Yesterday, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley made it a crime to stage a car accident to steal insurance money. Bill HB1409, signed into law, would also limit the amount of access outsiders had to police reports so that perpetrators wouldn’t be able to secure the names of real crash victims and try to get them to take part in fake injury insurance scams. Conviction for illegally accessing these records could mean a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.
According to Howard Goldblatt, the government affairs director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, these kinds of targeted fraud laws help prosecutors convict participants of insurance fraud rings, which are usually well-protected. The new law can convict kingpins directly so that prosecutors won’t have to go through other laws.
The coalition says that the Baltimore-Washington D.C. corridor is a popular target for auto-fraud rings. These kinds of groups usually try to put as many passengers as possible into a motor vehicle which they can then crash into another car with passengers that are either involved in the scam also or are innocent participants. Participating injured parties will then file personal injury claims—usually for injuries that are hard to verify in terms of their extent.
Staging an auto crash scam would carry fines of three times the amount of insurance money stolen and up to 15 years in prison.
Maryland is the second U.S. state to pass this law, which becomes effective there on October 1, 2007.
Injuries from motor vehicle accidents are no joke—whether the injuries were inflicted intentionally or negligently. This is why it is important that you retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer who genuinely wants to help you achieve the maximum recovery possible for your legitimate injury so that you can recover from your pain, suffering, or loss.
If you are involved in a car accident, here are a number of steps to take right away:
• If possible, remove your vehicle out of the way of ongoing traffic.
• Check to see whether anyone has been injured. Call 911 if someone is hurt.
• Contact the police so that they can file a report documenting the accident. This could be evidence on your behalf that could protect you from liability if you were not at fault.
• Get the contact information of everyone involved and give them your information also. Make sure you get their vehicle and insurance information.
• Take down the names and contact information of any witnesses.
• As soon as possible, write down as much information and details about the accident.
• If you have been seriously injured or another passenger in your vehicle has sustained a serious injury or is killed in the accident, contact a personal injury attorney immediately.
New Maryland Law Sets 15 years For Accident Staging, National Underwriter, May 17, 2007
Immediately After an Accident, Liberty Mutual
Related Web Resource:
Car Accidents: Handling the Accident Scene & Your Damaged Vehicle, Settlement Central.com