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A claimant needs some extra cash and decides that insurance fraud is the answer, so he stages a collision or just enhances the damage to his car caused by an actual impact and tries to cash in on the loss. But how can you tell the difference? You get a report for the umpteenth time today about a claim that your insureds have sustained damage to their vehicle. But something about this claim makes you think twice about it. Whether it is because the damage was allegedly from a “phantom” vehicle, or because the parties involved have recently filed a similar claim, or because the photographs do not seem to match the description; whatever the reason, this one makes you suspicious. But there is damage and there is no claim of any injury, so what can you do? Pay the claim or investigate it further? If you want to investigate further, who can help and what will it cost?

An accident reconstructionist may be able to assist you with this matter. Frequently, an investigation can be done based on the claimant’s incident description, the police report, repair records, and photographs. During such an investigation, there are several different aspects that the accident reconstructionist should be investigating. Typical approaches include: matching the damages to the claimant’s statement of the incident sequence; ensuring the damages are consistent with the police report description; or confirming the damages between the involved vehicles are consistent with the shape and height of the damaged vehicles. Because of the limited scope of the assignment, an accident reconstructionist is often able to quote a specific price for the effort based on the exact nature of the claim, the available evidence and the scope of the assignment (i.e., verbal update only or a written report).

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