Loss of a Peel: When Personal Injury Claims Are Fraudulent

For more than two decades, our firm has pursued justice and compensation for North Carolina clients who suffer injuries in their homes, in public places or on the job. For our clients, compensation from a legal action or insurance claim is needed to aid recovery, cover losses and sometimes provide a lifetime of care. The personal injury clients we don’t accept are those whose claims are fraudulent. 

In August 2013, Maurice Owens, a resident of Washington, D.C., made an injury claim with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The 43-year-old District Heights man approached a Metro station manager on August 8, stating he had slipped on a banana peel in an elevator that was not properly cleaned. The manager contacted transit officials and an ambulance for Owens. 

Two weeks later, Owens filed a claim with WMATA, seeking $15,000 for hip and leg injuries he purportedly suffered during the slip and fall accident. 

There was a time when contradictory statements of the parties were at the core of many personal injury matters, but that era is passing with the wide use of video surveillance in public areas and on transit lines. In this case, a video camera in the WMATA elevator occupied by Owens may prove to be his undoing. Authorities say that the video shows the following about the injury claim made by Owens: 

  • Owens entered the elevator, glancing up at the video camera.
  • Owens drops an object later identified as a banana peel.
  • Owens exits the elevator and steps directly on the peel, staging his fall. 

Facing charges of second-degree fraud, Owens has been ordered to undergo mental health testing. 

Injury claims are a powerful and important means to obtain financial help. Seek experienced legal counsel in North Carolina if you have been hurt because of the negligence of others. 

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