Ask the Doctor: Pain, your car and your wallet: What do they have in common?

Whiplash

You must think that this is a very strange title for an article on chronic pain by a pain doctor. However, you will soon realize that there is a very strong connection between pain, your wallet and your car.

Symptom fabrication (making up symptoms) has emerged as a serious issue in car accidents (and of course chronic pain is claimed to be a major problem in these cases). I am using excerpts from a chapter (#9, 2003, 2006) in my book BEYOND PAIN:

“Our neighbours to the South, in 1988, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) initiated a Fraudulent Claims Program, trying to look more closely at the $53 million U.S. the state makes in yearly payments for about 15, 000 personal injury claims. The FBI got involved in suspicious claims. For example in one serious public transit accident, 7 passengers filed claims for injuries sustained in the crash, but only one passenger was found to be in the vehicle at the time of the accident. The other six allegedly injured passengers were indicted for fraud by a grand jury. A 73-year-old doctor was sentenced to 15 months in jail and fined $100,000 US dollars for providing false testimony. Once it became known that SEPTA was after cheaters, injury claims against the authority fell by 60 per cent and lawsuits by 50 per cent, resulting in multimillion dollar savings for the financially strapped transit agency.

In another American story, one small New Jersey bus company was plagued by injury claims for fender bender type accidents. The company asked the New Jersey Insurance Fraud Division to investigate, and in “Operation Bus Roulette”, the fraud division actually staged 10 minor bus accidents throughout New Jersey. They were all videotaped and Connie Chung, then with CBS, with her Eye To Eye team participated in one of the crashes.