What is a “slip and fall” fraud charge? And what are the consequences of this? “Fraud,” by law is intentionally giving information that you know to be false, or intentionally collecting monies from insurance companies or through other means, for which you are not entitled.
A Case Of Simple Fraud
Some instances of simple fraud involve things such as “worker’s compensation fraud,”health insurance fraud,” or unemployment fraud. All of these types of fraud are very serious and can carry criminal charges involving stiff fines and/or prison sentences.
“Slip and fall” fraud usually involves the deliberate manipulation of evidence or factors to give the impression that there was negligence involved. For example, a man in Metro Station (Maurice Owens) falsely claimed negligence when he said he fell on a banana peel inside a service elevator. What he didn’t know was that the camera was running inside the elevator. During the testimony in court, it was shown how he had planted the banana himself and faked the fall. He now faces possible prison time and may be charged with a felony fraud case. (Washington Post, Nov. 2013)
What’s In a Fraud Case?
Some cases of fraud can even be tried in Federal court, such as health care fraud, due to the fact that they use federal monies to dispense the claims.
Here are the typical components that constitute a “slip and fall” fraud situation:
- Knowingly making a false or misleading statement which results in monetary gain
- Making claims about injury which utilize the avenue of an insurance policy or company to collect
- Making a statement which holds significance to the claim for insurance monies
- Falsifying information that leads to payments from an insurance company or other monetary entity
- Exaggerating information so that it appears you are entitled to money
Keep in mind that this is different than “misunderstanding” the facts. Someone may make a mistake in their testimony or remembrance about an event. But “fraud” occurs when they have deliberately fabricated events which result in compensation.
Possible penalties for fraud include:
- Soft fraud (when someone exaggerates the claim to receive more than they normally would have), which constitutes a misdemeanor charge in most case. It normally results in paying a fine which can be the amount you took, plus additional fees and charges.
- Hard fraud (when someone makes up information or stages a situation to sway opinion about whether negligence occurred); usually due to some act they take on their own and not due to true negligence on the part of the business or entity in which it occurred for the purpose of receiving insurance money. In these cases, you could be charged with a felony, and may face stiff fines, plus a prison term of up to 10 or more years.
In most cases of “slip and fall,” it would fall under the “hard fraud” case, in which a person fabricated facts or manipulated evidence to make it appear as though negligence was involved. In these cases, you will need a criminal defense attorney as the charges and the resulting penalty are likely to be quite severe.
The Best Policy To Have
Some people may worry that their case may be challenged by someone trying to show they were fraudulent in their claims. The best policy is always honesty. If you are doing the right thing and have a possible case of “slip and fall negligence” to report, do so. But be honest in all of the facts, to the best of your ability. This way, no one can accuse you of exaggerating the facts or trying to collect money which you are not actually entitled to.
If you have been accused of fraud involving a slip and fall case, or if you need help with a case of negligence, involving a slip and fall situation, contact us. We are experts in handling slip and fall cases and we are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.