A Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) is a common occurrence. With the increase in population in addition to affordability, more and more people drive and own cars than ever before. More cars on the road mean that there is a higher likelihood of accidents. Thankfully, the majority of car accidents are fender benders, where damage is done to the vehicle, but its passengers remain uninjured. Unfortunately, some car accidents can also lead to more serious injuries and even death.
Accidents and Vehicle Insurance
Car accidents are the main reason why it is so important to invest in vehicle insurance. In fact, vehicle insurance is mandatory in most places in North America. This means if you own a car, you must also purchase insurance for that car.
Vehicle insurance applies to cars, trucks, and motorcycles—basically all road vehicles. The purpose of vehicle insurance is to provide the vehicle owner financial protection for the vehicle, themselves, their passengers. Vehicle insurance also provides the individual protection from damage made to other vehicles or individuals. It is also possible to purchase insurance that covers other types of damage that aren’t related to MVAs including, theft.
As you can imagine, there is a process that an individual must follow in order to receive insurance from a motor vehicle accident. This process is dependent on where within the country, province or state the accident occurred.
MVA Insurance Benefits
Vehicle insurance can provide many financial benefits. These benefits help to cover the finances required to repair vehicle damage caused by the accident. The benefits can also cover medical expenses for injuries sustained from the accident. If the individual is unable to work due to the MVA, insurance can also cover income. In Ontario for example, an individual can receive up to 80% of their income (up to a max of $400 per week) for up to 104 weeks.
Examples of some of the different types of coverage MVA insurance provides include,
- Medical Benefits
- Income Replacement
- Travel Benefits
- Lost Education
- Death Benefits
MVA Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud occurs any time an individual attempt to make a false claim in order to receive financial benefit from their insurance company. So, when it comes to MVA fraud, it means that the individual is making a false claim about the severity of the accident, the amount of damage made to their vehicle, and so on.
For example, let’s say that an individual has a broken taillight prior to an accident. While that individual fills out their insurance claim application, they indicate that the broken taillight occurred during the accident. This is MVA insurance fraud. Why? Well, that individual is trying to get compensation for something that did not occur during the incident in question.
Types of MVA Insurance Fraud
There are several different types of MVA insurance fraud claims. Some of these include,
Exaggerated Claim: In this situation, the individual will claim that they were hurt in the accident. For example, they might claim that they have whiplash and make it seem like the injury is worse than it actually is.
Phantom Passenger: In some situations, the individual will claim that a family member or friend was in the vehicle at the time of the accident. They will claim that this family member or friend was injured in the accident. In reality, the passenger wasn’t even in the car or anywhere near the accident.
Fake/False Accident: Sometimes individuals claim that the damage done to their vehicle was caused by another vehicle. The truth? The individual likely damaged his or her own car.
Application Fraud: This type of claim is similar to the example provided above. Any time an individual states that more damage was done to the vehicle (or passengers) than what actually occurred is considered application fraud.
Making a false MVA claim is considered insurance fraud, and unfortunately, the rate of insurance fraud in North America is rising. This is why many MVA insurance companies have turned to hiring private investigation companies or private investigators to help them uncover false claims.
Private Investigators and MVA Insurance Fraud
Private investigation companies and private investigators work with MVA insurance companies to help prove whether or not a claim is legitimate. In many cases, it is very difficult to prove whether or not a person is lying about their claim. It is for this reason that many private investigators request at least some thread of proof before they take on the case. In most situations, this thread of proof means that the individual is having a difficult time keeping their story straight, or that there are discrepancies in the individual’s claim application.
MVA Insurance Fraud & Surveillance
Once a private investigator takes on an MVA insurance fraud case, the most common way they build a case against the individual is through surveillance. Surveillance is a technique that requires the private investigator to watch or observe the individual. Quite often, when people aren’t aware they’re being watched, they reveal the truth about their situation.
Licensed private investigators will use several techniques as part of surveillance to try and prove MVA insurance fraud. Some of these techniques include,
Follow Along: The one major element to surveillance is to follow the individual wherever they go, in order to observe what they do. In many MVA insurance fraud cases, the individual claims to be seriously injured. Therefore, the private investigator will look for evidence of that injury.
Interviews: In many cases, a private investigator will observe the people that the individual has the most contact with. The private investigator will then interview those people to determine different pieces of the case. For example, someone might have noticed that the vehicle’s taillight was damaged prior to the accident.
Detailed Notes: A private investigator will take incredibly detailed notes during their surveillance. It is important so that they can identify the exact time and place they saw evidence of the individual’s lie. The MVA insurance company can then use this information to confront the individual and stop any payments.
MVA Insurance Fraud Penalties and Fines
If a private investigator uses surveillance to prove that an individual is committing MVA insurance fraud, the individual likely faces a court date and jail time. Jail time can be as little as 6 months to as much as 10 years! While it’s true that it all depends on where the individual lives, insurance fraud is theft and is absolutely a punishable offense. Other punishment includes,
- Community Service
As you can see, it’s very important just to be honest with your MVA insurance claim. Getting caught in a lie by a private investigator can land you in a lot of hot water. So, it’s better to state the truth and work with your MVA insurance company to receive the financial support you’re actually owed.