I just read a disturbing article in the New York Times about a large-scale personal injury insurance scam in New York City. It works like this: A gang of fraudsters lines up “scouts” to go into poor neighborhoods in search of people willing to “fake” accidents and injuries in exchange for money. The “victims” are then coached on how to fake both the accidents and the injuries. Suitably trained, they then “fall” in potholes, deliberately trip outside of restaurants or other businesses, or crash cars. The fake accident victims then visit doctors whose pockets are also being lined with the fraud ring’s money. The dishonest doctors then “treat” the “patients” for broken bones or internal injuries that do not exist, and of course keep copious records of all the “treatment” they provide. The doctors even go so far as performing unnecessary medical procedures to bump up the settlement value of the injury.
The five men who orchestrated this particular scam have now been indicted. The indictment alleges that the scam lasted for five years and cost insurance carriers about $30 million.
This is the kind of dishonesty that gives New York personal injury lawyers, and personal injury victims, a bad name. And this is the kind of news article that jury members I empanel will have in mind when I am presenting a legitimate personal injury case to them for a seriously and legitimately injured victim. Unfortunately, juries have to wonder whether my client, and perhaps even I, am trying to pull the wool over their eyes. And a lot of it is the fault of scammers like these guys.