Business owners need to be wary about a lot of things when it comes to safeguarding their businesses and the old slip and fall fraud is one of them. This is a huge scam business where a “customer” slips and falls, then sues the business man or woman.
While the business owner has much on their plate, It’s important to have the right insurance not just so they won’t have to pay any fraudulent claims, but also so these scam artists can be caught.
Crime Rings and Scams
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) this scam is on the rise. From 2008 to 2010, the problem rose by some 57%. Investigators are seeing whole organized crime rings with large numbers of people who are making a living on slip and fall staged accidents. Their goal is to get a quick payout and move on to another store. They hit grocery stores, big box retailers and other businesses. Your small business isn’t out of the question.
The fraud usually consists of two people who work together but go in to the store separately. When the coast is clear, one pours some liquid on the floor and “falls;” the other goes to help and claims to be a witness. The same people may go from store to store or members of the crime ring will take turns. Many stores pay off the claim with no investigation because it’s just easier. But that perpetuates the crime ring. Because the crime is becoming more common, like the Georgia woman accused of phony slip and fall, more investigation is happening.
With video cameras and other technology, it’s becoming clearer that often crimes in a nearby vicinity are done by the same people. It’s important for any business to have insurance so not only can a real slip and fall be taken care of, but a fraudulent one can be investigated.
Not only are criminal rings responsible for many of these fraudulent claims, but employees are also using this method to qualify for workers’ comp claims. Whether it’s a new employee, an unhappy one, or someone who has just been let go, keep your eyes out for red flags when a slip and fall claim is made to receive workers’ comp. With insurance, an investigation can be made before anything is paid out.
You want to go the right routes when investigating and if you think anything is suspicious, let your insurance company know. It may not always be the insurance company who conducts the investigation, but they can lead you to the right places to get to the bottom of the claim.
It can be real
Remember, though, that sometimes a legitimate fall can happen. If no red flags go off and the fall and injury make sense and the claimant has proper documentation (like from a medical doctor), you may have to pay compensation.
That’s another reason to have insurance; you don’t want these claims coming out of your own pocket.
About the Author: Heather Legg is an independent writer who covers topics relating to small business and social media.