Fraudulent insurance claims on the rise in Orlando area

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ORLANDO, Fla. - For the first time in several years investigators said more questionable car insurance claims have been filed in the Orlando area than nearly anywhere else in the state.

Orlando's metro area is now second only to Miami in the potentially fraudulent claims, with Tampa a close third.

"People just move around from those areas, migrate here, I think that's part of the equation," said Michael T. Gibson, an attorney who specializes in auto injury cases.

In 2012 investigators looked into nearly 200 more questionable claims in the Orlando area than in Tampa.

Gibson said the fraudulent cases can make it more difficult for drivers in legitimate accidents to get money from insurance companies.

"It hurts the person with the legitimate claim who is entitled to a legitimate day in court, because they get lumped in with everyone else who they believe is cheating the system," said Gibson.

According to investigators, there are people on the roads looking to cheat the system by getting into accidents on purpose so that they can file claims for bogus medical treatment they never receive.   

Officials said that type of fraud has pushed Florida's insurance rates to the fifth highest in the nation. They said with Orlando now second in the number of questionable claims, insurance rates could be pushed higher.