Some people commit insurance fraud—just as some people commit other
crimes that cost all of us billions of dollars each year. Apparently there
has been an insurance scam racket in Colorado by one woman who made 25
claims for injuries from fake car accidents in the Denver area. This is
one that has been caught—and hopefully stopped—by Denver area
prosecutors, but there may be others out there. So how do you know if
you are the victim of a fake car accident?
Here are the common variations of the scam car accident:
- You are following the car in front of you a little too close in "normal"
traffic. Suddenly, the scammer puts on the brakes (for no apparent reason)
and you hit the rear of the scammer's car.
- While waiting to make a left turn, you see the oncoming car slowing down—but
as you make your left turn, the scammer speeds up and hits your car.
- This method requires two scammers working in concert: as you are pulling
out of a parking lot or a side street, scammer No. 1 waves for you to
go ahead and pull out in from of him. When you do, you are hit by scammer No. 2.
All of these car accident scenarios will result in the police giving you
the ticket, because the law presumes that the driver who strikes the rear
of a car in normal traffic is negligent. A similar fault presumption applies
to a driver who makes a left turn in front of oncoming traffic, or who
pulls out into a road into oncoming traffic. Because you are presumed
to be at fault under the law, your auto insurance company will not listen
to your protests of innocence and will quickly pay the scammer's property
damage claim—as well as the injury claim that may be made by the
scammer. The scammers don't make big claims for property damage—or
for injury claims—but they know that the insurance companies want
to make small payments of any claim very quickly, and with minimal or
Insurance scams have been rampant in California for years and now, apparently,
a few scam practitioners are moving their show to Colorado. But, Colorado
attorneys who represent legitimately injured clients in car accidents
know that car accident insurance scams continue to be very, very rare
in Colorado. Experienced auto accident attorneys know that their honest
clients can sustain very real, and sometimes disabling, injuries even
in "minor" accidents. Newer model cars do not show the severity
of the impact on the car's bumper—but transfer those "minor"
collision forces to the occupants. So-called "minor" accidents
will not trigger any airbags (they are not designed to deploy at impact
speeds typically less than 35 mph), so all the force acts on the occupants
of the vehicle to whip them around the car and slam them against the car
seat or headrest—which forces often can put someone with marginal
bodily health over the edge into disability.
If you are in an accident, and can move around your car, take photos with
your cell-phone of both cars and the other driver (and car occupants),
if possible. If you suspect, even a little, that you might be injured—call
the police and report that you may be injured and you are going to see
a doctor to get checked out. If the other party in the collision you may
have caused (no matter how minor the collision was) is telling you anything
about feeling hurt or injured—call the police. Evidence from the
scene will assist in resolution of your auto injury claim and, if you
have been scammed by a fake accident, also will provide your insurance
company with the evidence to resist a claim that was not your fault.