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Old 5th September 2011, 08:49   #1
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Default Victim of insurance scam in the USA

Moderators: please move this thread if its not in the right section

Though I got my membership approved 2 weeks back, I wasnt able to write any posts so far, thanks to the following story. Hope this incident will help our friends in USA.
I met with a very minor accident in 2010 Dec. I hit ( "touched" is a more appropriate word) someone from behind, probably at 3 to 5 mph speed. Nobody was injured, my car front number plates were slightly bent, other cars rear bumper had 2 minor scratches. The other person was very rude, didnt even roll down his window or share his contact details or insurance details. Police came and as expected I was at fault as I hit him from behind.

Next day I reported the accident to my Insurance Company, and uploaded few photos of my car. A week later, the insurance company emailed me that they paid $300 for the painting (read touch up) of his car. Every 2-3 months I used to contact the insurance company to check the status of the claim and they said the other party is not reachable and per the state law, they have to keep the claim for 2 years open if the other is not available.

Fast forward to July 2011. I get a civil summons from the Superior court that the other person is suing me stating my careless driving has caused him irreversible damages (internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, back/neck pain, not able to work for long etc etc) and demanding a huge amount of money. I contacted My Insurance Company, they said this person has contacted them a month back, and they declined his request as the injuries stated cannot be caused by the accident. They will represent me in court. My insurance coverages are good, so I donít expect any payment from my side other than my lawyer fee ( I am planning to have an attorney from my side as well)

Talked to few colleagues/friends and realized that this is a common scam in US if itís a hit from back. My insurance limits are high, so they are trying to get maximum out of it. The other probable cause that they saw me as an asian and are using scare tactics to get a good amount of money.

There are many loose ends to his story, but the tactic is to force a out of court settlement. Otherwise they will drag it in court (3-5 years) causing high attorney fees for the other side on top of the time and effort.

If any of you have gone through similar experiences, please let me know how it was handled.
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Old 5th September 2011, 15:20   #2
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Default Re: Victim of insurance scam in the USA

Generally, anyone who rear-ends the car in front is at fault.

However, that doesn't justify outrageous claims, especially in a case like yours where it's a minor bump. Unfortunate, but I know of people who've shelled out $500 to the other party for little more than a light bumper kiss. As you rightly posted, this is indeed a common scam in the States.

At the outset, the case seems to be in your favour. The incident was recorded by the Police who would have definitely classified this as a slow speed bump. Plus, you have post-accident pictures of your car that (I'd expect) prove that this was a very slow speed accident.

I don't see why you need to blow up big bucks on having a lawyer present at all hearings, when your insurance company is already representing you. Let the professionals handle it, that's what they have full-time lawyers on board for. Of course, you must be present in court for whichever hearings so as to be on top of the proceedings.

If you are worried about legal fees, so is the opposite party. And knowing that they are standing on loose ground (i.e. a false case), they have more to lose than you.

P.S. : As with all legal advice, consult with a lawyer before taking the final call.
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Old 5th September 2011, 16:21   #3
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Default Re: Victim of insurance scam in the USA

Another thing to do is to take photos of the "victims" soon after the crash. Judginf by the damage, the insurance folks can sniff a fraud a mile away. Times are tough hence more frauds!
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Old 26th September 2011, 08:14   #4
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Default Re: Victim of insurance scam in the USA

An update:
My insurance provider assigned a lawyer who is an employee of their firm. He is taking care of all the legal issues in my state. His office is close to my town. His office believes that I have a very high insurance coverage and the other party is trying to get as much as they can. They are in data collection mode (like the other parties previous driving history, medical history etc) and preparing a response for court, and they dont expect the case to make any significant progress in the next 3 months. Their expectation is that the case can be closed in the next 6-12 months (outside court settlement) and if it all the case goes to jury, that minimum 3 years away !!!.
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Old 8th April 2012, 03:48   #5
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Default Re: Victim of insurance scam in the USA

finally the case is settled outside of court for huge amount of money.

some interesting "facts"
1. The driver in the front vehicle visited a doctor 40+ times in the 4 months following the accident. Every time he visited the same Dr and medical records available.
2. Their lawyers primary job is an optics shop
3. The driver in front vehicle had similar court cases earlier. ( Thanks to the online court system, all those records are public)
4. 33% of the money goes to the above doctor for the 40+ visits, 33% goes to the above lawyer and 33% goes to the above driver
5. Luckily my insurance premium didn't go up and the insurance company handled the case very well from my point of view. They could have saved the 66% of lawyer and Dr if they agreed to pay him before it went to the court. I thought the insurance company wanted to fight, but no idea why they realized settlement is better late.

My attorney told that this could be a staged accident (from my description of the event and the fact that there were 4 kids in the vehicle along with the driver). See the National Insurance crime bureau's youtube channel for typical staged accidents.



InsuranceCrime - YouTube

I am going to invest on a good dash cam.
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