When someone files an insurance claim in California, they might exaggerate some of the details of the incident. Sometimes this happens accidentally, while other times it happens intentionally. In any case, prosecutors might charge the person with insurance fraud.
What is insurance fraud?
Insurance fraud is the act of lying about an incident or exaggerating the details to get a bigger payout. Many people commit “soft fraud” by exaggerating to make the incident seem worse than it actually was. For example, if they’re filing a car accident claim, they might lie about some of the damages or claim that they had more severe injuries. Some people think this is harmless, but they’re technically committing a crime when they lie about minor details of the accident.
Other people commit “hard fraud” by staging an accident or outright making up a story. This includes deliberately burning down a building to collect an insurance payout or making up a false claim about a slip-and-fall incident. To build their case, the prosecutor will have to prove that the individual knowingly lied so they would receive a bigger payout from their insurance company. If you committed an honest mistake, you might want to hire a criminal defense attorney to help you clear your name.
How can you fight accusations of insurance fraud?
Most people know at least one person who exaggerated their insurance claim to get a higher payout. Some people think that telling a few white lies is acceptable, but lying about any aspect of the case is a criminal offense. An attorney could help you defend yourself against accusations of insurance fraud. They might point out that the prosecution can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you lied intentionally or had the goal of earning a bigger payout.