Along with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, SEPTA has launched a campaign to put a stop to fraudulent injury claims by keeping a closer eye on defrauders. The campaign focuses on the growing role surveillance video plays in exposing defrauders.
SEPTA detailed several instances where surveillance cameras on buses thwarted unwarranted injury claims. The fraudsters were criminally prosecuted for filing meritless claims.
Surveillance footage clearly reveals the fraudulent activity. The video shows bus riders exaggerating injuries after the bus has been lightly tapped by another vehicle. The impact is often so insignificant; most riders do not even realize there has been a collision.
Further, some SEPTA claimants were not even passengers on the bus. SEPTA explained that some claimants would witness an accident and run on to a bus that had been struck by a vehicle. The claimant would then stretch out over many seats to appear injured.
SEPTA is hoping the increased use of surveillance footage will save time and taxpayer dollars that would be spent on personal injury payouts to the fraudulent claimants. SEPTA claims have increased over 10% to over $40 million from 2009 to the present. The new campaign will also help protect legitimate claims by putting resources in the hands of those who rightfully deserve compensation.
“A picture is truly worth a thousand words in these cases,” District Attorney Seth Williams said. “These cameras have been extremely beneficial to our office to prosecute crimes that in the past have been very difficult to prove. We have entered a new age of crime fighting and it is all thanks to this new technology.”
The majority of SEPTA’s fraudulent claims come from bus accidents. Buses are large mass transit vehicles that make it easy for a fraudster to walk on the bus and blend in with other passengers. However, 45% of SEPTA buses now have surveillance cameras, and the goal is to equip all buses with surveillance by 2013.