On Feb. 16, Gov. Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater saw first-hand how car crashes are staged. The fake accidents are part of a larger scheme to file phony Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claims and defraud insurance companies and their customers.
At the driving instruction area of Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy, the Florida Highway Patrol showed how people commit accident fraud. In one instance, people hide on the side of the road near a staged crash. After the vehicles collide, the people jump into the vehicles and claim they were injured.
Fraud from this and other staged accidents has pushed PIP insurance rates 30 percent higher each year, Scott said. He urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would reform PIP.
“That’s money back into somebody’s pocket so they can afford food or shelter, transportation, things like that, education for the kids,” Scott said in an article posted at WFCN, Jacksonville.
“This is the same thing. This is a billion dollars of fraud on the citizens of our state, money that should be back in their hands, not to somebody who’s running a clinic that’s taking advantage of the system, lawyers that are taking advantage of the system. So this to me is a no-brainer. Why we wouldn’t want to fix this and be aggressive at fixing this?”
Radio station WFSU in Tallahassee covered the event: WFSU report on staged accidents