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Fraud impacts legitimate car accident victims in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach

Our Palm Beach personal injury lawyers know that being involved in a South Florida car accident can be a frightening, painful experience. That every encounter can be a stressor, from dealing with insurance companies to repair shops to addressing medical issues and treatment options.

Talking with your boss about lost work time, or doctor-ordered restricted duties – especially in this job market – can seem like a nightmare.
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Whether you were involved in a parking lot fender-bender or a fatal South Florida crash, getting back to normal takes time, costs money and comes with plenty of stress. So our Fort Luaderdale car accident attorneys were disturbed to read in the Palm Beach Post recently that Florida currently leads the nation for staged car accidents. To boot, both Miami and West Palm Beach are among the nation’s top five cities for such fraud.

While the article reads like the punch-line for a bad joke, we know that living (and driving) in communities tagged as hotbeds for questionable crash-related insurance claim filings only hurts legitimately injured victims. Victims, who at the time they need support the most, instead face scrutiny.

According to the Palm Beach Post, just in Palm Beach County, the number of suspected staged car accidents nearly doubled from 50 in 2008 to 96 in 2009. Miami led the state in 2008 with 232 cases and fell to second in 2009 with 258. Tampa saw the biggest increase, reporting 125 cases in 2008 and a whopping 487 in 2009.

Across the state, cases climbed 77 percent in 2010.

Law Enforcement officials say it’s an easy crime to commit and Florida is an attractive state to do it thanks to generous “no-fault” personal injury protection laws. Florida is one of just 12 states with a no-fault PIP. Meaning: if you are involved in a Florida car accident, up to $10,000 in medical claims related to the accident are covered regardless of who is at fault in the crash.

So pervasive is the scam that auto insurance companies are now passing along a “fraud tax” to Florida drivers. One estimate suggests Florida drivers will pay close to an additional $950 million to insurance companies in 2011 alone.

It also means consulting an experienced injury attorney can be all the more critical to protecting your rights in the wake of a serious or fatal crash.

The South Florida car accident attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC have been successfully and aggressively representing car accident victims and their families in Miami, West Palm Beach, Hollywood, Margate and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. If you’ve been injured, we can help you. Email us or call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

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