On my first night in Los Angeles, my friend got into a small accident. She was driving a Uhaul, going 5MPH and trying to move lanes when she hit an SUV who had pretty much ignored her. It was difficult to figure out what the SUV lady was thinking because she didn’t speak any English. We called the cops who said that they would not send anyone unless there were injuries. There were none. The SUV lady wouldn’t exchange info with us and kept calling someone and it was clear by her movements that someone who spoke English was coming. Eventually, her granddaughter showed up and explained that her grandmom didn’t speak English. Duh. The granddaughter exchanged insurance and contact information with my friend. Everything seemed fine – a dent on the SUV and a damaged bumper on the Uhaul but no one was hurt.
Today, my friend got a call from one of the insurance people who asked her to go through everything. She explained what happened in great detail. They asked why there was no police report and she explained that she’d called the cops but they only come when someone’s hurt. They asked so no one was hurt? And my friend was like no. And then it became obvious that the woman had filed injuries. WTF?
Having seen the woman and the car and having hung out with the woman for a good 20+ minutes waiting for the granddaughter, there’s *no* way that there were injuries. No possibility of whiplash and it was the passenger side. She wasn’t holding on to any part of her body and her granddaughter said nothing. Everything was normal, even if we were all a bit frazzled.
But then i started wondering, what’s the cost of reporting injuries? I mean, if she succeeds in declaring injuries, she gets money even if she’s lying, right? But what does she lose if the insurance company shows she’s lying? Are there any costs to lying when it comes to insurance? My moral fabric is horrified by the idea but then again, i return pens when i stole them from stores after signing credit card receipts. I cannot imagine lying to get more money from insurance. Of course, everyone thought that i should sue this person and that person after my neck accident. But it was an accident – i couldn’t ethically feel good about lying even if it cost me an arm and a leg. Yet, for others, is there any reason not to lie? What happens if you get caught lying to medical insurance?