Question for Attorney Carbone: Am I Committing Insurance Fraud?
Question: I got into a car accident a few months ago. I was injured and had to miss time at work. I was told by a friend that to recoup that money, I should state on the insurance claim that my injuries were more severe than the really were. Is this legal? If I do this, will I go to jail?
Answer: Yes, this most definitely is a case of insurance fraud. Before we go into the consequences of these actions, let’s first explain what insurance fraud is.
According to New Jersey law, you have committed fraud if you make or cause false or misleading statements to the insurance company. It also includes just conspiring to do make false statements to the There are two types of insurance fraud — hard and soft fraud.
- Hard fraud: This is when someone fakes an accident or injury in order to collect money illegally from the insurance company. For example, someone stages an accident to collect the insurance money.
- Soft fraud: This is more like what your friend had said you should do. It’s when someone makes a little white lie to maximize the claim.
What you intend on doing is soft insurance fraud. Despite the name, it’s still considered a very serious crime. At the minimum, your insurance rates will skyrocket, you will take a serious hit to your credit score, and you probably will lose your insurance. You could also be facing a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months in jail.
Not only will you put yourself at risk, but your crime will hurt those who have insurance. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, insurance fraud is estimated to be more than $40 billion a year. That means it costs the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 per year in increased premiums.
Before committing fraud, you should know that you will be reimbursed by your auto insurance for missing any time at work, no matter how severe your injuries are. It can be extremely difficult to fill out a car insurance claim on your own, especially when you have friends giving you false information. We urge you to contact our car accident lawyer today to discuss your claim and how you can legally get the right amount for your accident.