Last year individuals in Los Angeles committed over $120 million in auto insurance fraud. More than 1,500 people have been arrested for auto insurance fraud since 2011. Los Angeles is considered by many insurance companies to be the auto insurance fraud capital of the world. Over 42 percent of all auto-related insurance fraud in California occurs in Los Angeles.
The auto insurance fraud that occurs in Los Angeles is covered under California Penal Code Sections 548 to 551. When trying to determine California’s definition of auto insurance fraud, many find it very complicated. Most agree that it is a crime that occurs when an individual performs any act as a way to get money by fraud from an auto insurance company. A person convicted of committing this type of fraud could be sentenced to a substantial amount of jail time, significant fines, lose their employment, have a lifetime criminal record and more.
Auto Insurance Fraud Scams.
One common auto insurance fraud scam is known a swoop and squat. This happens with two or more vehicles box in a victim’s vehicle when driving. The goal is to make the victim have a sudden stop that results in a rear-end collision. There is a staged collision where a deliberate traffic collision is staged for the purpose of defrauding an auto insurance company. Paper collisions are reports of traffic collisions that never occurred. A panic stop is a deliberate and quick stop of an individual’s vehicle to deliberately cause a rear-end collision. There is also a sideswipe where on vehicle purposefully makes side contact with another vehicle. Wave-out otherwise known as drive down occurs when a suspect driver goes into a public area from the street. They give up the right-of-way to another motorist. When the victim acknowledges the relinquishing of the right-of-way, they proceed. The suspect then goes at the same time to create a collision.
Fraudulent Auto Insurance Claims
This happens when an individual submits a claim for payment to their insurance company resulting from vandalism, destruction, theft or loss of a vehicle’s contents. The individual knew the claim was false. The claim was submitted with the goal of defrauding the auto insurance provider. Individuals can be found guilty of this because of evidence provided by another source or what they claim occurred is impossible to prove. If someone is found guilty of this offense, they could face formal probation. They could also be sentenced up to five years in county jail. There could also be a fine of over $49,000 imposed them or double the amount of the fraud. A person will have to pay whichever is greater.
Not everyone accused of auto insurance fraud is guilty. When someone is a accused, there are certain defenses that can be utilized to help them. One of them is a lack of intent. The adjusters who work for auto insurance companies will closely examine all injury claims where little property damage occurred. Another red flag is an individual’s claim of soft tissue damage with symptoms that are hard to confirm with diagnostic testing. People often make mistakes. They can make a misstatement because of not understanding certain provisions of an insurance policy. It is possible they did not notice previous damage to their vehicle or an old physical injury. When a person is charged with insurance fraud, their intent to commit such an act needs to be proven. Many insurance fraud cases can be dismissed because there is a lack of evidence. It is difficult to prove if a person intentionally abandoned their vehicle or damaged it on purpose without having direct evidence that is credible.
If you feel you’ve been the victim of false allegations of vehicle insurance fraud, contact us today and learn how we can help.
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