I disagree with insurance companies as to how prevalent the practice is, but there is no doubt that many people either exaggerate their injuries in car accidents or manufacture the injuries altogether. This we know.
What is an SIU?
Insurance companies set up “special investigation units” called “SIU” (GEICO) or some other similarly covert sounding name to try to determine whether victims in car accident cases are clients that are exaggerating the scope of their injuries, getting unnecessary medical treatment to try to increase the value of their case, or even staging the car accident. The SIU units of insurance companies try, as GEICO puts it, “to detect, deter, and defeat insurance fraud.”
Good car accident lawyers in Maryland know that largely these SIU units are our friends? Why? Because ridding the system of fraudulent accident claims leaves a larger pie – and a more differentiated pie – for people who are really injured in car accidents and deserve compensation. When insurance companies pay on claims they believe are fraudulent, they are a part of the problem. Standing and fighting against fake accident claims is the best thing insurance companies can do for truly deserving victims.
I have not had a claim that was investigated by an SIU unit of an insurance company in years. We take few soft tissue injury cases without compelling facts these days. Why? We have figured out that juries view cases without an objective injury almost as skeptically as insurance companies.
That said, insurance companies are often incompetent and put meritorious cases in SIU. Good accident lawyers address the issue head-on, investigating the claim, and provide further information to explain where the confusion arises. (If your investigation reveals strong suspicions of fraud, I think you have to back out of the case.)
Interesting GEICO Perspective
One thing I found of interest in writing this post is GEICO’s advice on dealing with potential fraudulent claims. They tell their insureds to “look out for large, older vehicles with three or more occupants.” Aren’t you also on the lookout for poor people? I mean, it might be statistically true but it seems a little ill-advised to point this out. I mean, really, has anyone ever seen a car on the roadway, identified it as an old car, and avoided an accident by steering clear of it? I bet this has never happened in human history. You have to wonder who is writing this garbage for GEICO.
What to do if your claim goes to SIU?
If your claim goes to SIU and you have brought a fraudulent claim, go away as quickly and quietly as you can. And please don’t come back. You are risking criminal charges for fraud and you are hurting a lot of innocent victims who have legitimate claims. If you have an honest claim and your claim goes to an insurance company’s SIU suit, get a lawyer and get ready to fight. You are likely to have a trial on your hands. If you have a good injury claim, you will win more often than not.