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Collateral lies are fictional accounts, half-truths and coincidences presented as facts by a party in an attempt to deliberately mislead the audience into arriving at the desired conclusion. The term was coined in the title of the book of the same name, Collateral Lies - The Facts behind the Plot to Bomb the Twin Towers on 9/11, which reveals claims introduced on both sides, believers and skeptics, that have become mainstream in the arguments for and against the official line in the years since the disaster. For example, when skeptics point out how an aluminium airplane could not penetrate the steel building, believers present the argument that any material given enough velocity can penetrate any other material and use a water-jet cutting steel in their defense. Though this may be a convincing argument in the eyes of most people, the principle cannot be applied to a single object, i.e. one drop of water cannot penetrate steel, it is a constant stream at high velocity that erodes the steel. On the basis the person making the statement understands the physics involved, it is clearly a lie introduced to reinforce a claim. More recently the term was used for the first time in a UK Supreme Court ruling regarding insurance claims.
When it comes to making a claim against your insurance company, it will still be a fraud if you fabricate the claim, and it will still be a fraud if you exaggerate the claim, but insurers can no longer use so-called ‘collateral lies’ to reject a valid claim.
by rippenburn February 13, 2017
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