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Getting The Least Out Of Your Personal Injury Claim

In the early spring of 2013, a man drove his car into a tree on the side of Wilderness Road, in Norwich. That fall, the same man drove his car into a different tree on the same road. Two months later, the same man again drove his car into a tree. Dissatisfied with the crash, he backed up his car and rammed it into the tree once more. For the three accidents - though they were not accidental - insurance companies paid out a little more than $50,000 in property damage and bodily injury claims.

These were just three in a series of about 50 planned car collisions that took place in eastern Connecticut between 2011 and 2014. The crashes were part of an elaborate scheme to defraud insurers, and were carried out by a group of six men. Five of them have been charged with insurance fraud and face up to 20 years in prison. The sixth man is on the lam.

Why defrauding insurers is bad for everyone

Auto insurance is an essential, if often hidden, part of American life. There is a good reason that Connecticut requires all drivers to carry insurance. Namely, it is the principal means by which persons injured in a crash can make sure their medical bills are covered. With the help of an attorney, individuals can often receive compensation for their ongoing pain and suffering as well.

Yet insurers are often reluctant to pay out claims, in part because they have learned to be suspicious of fraud. (In fact, this scenario has made lawyers even more crucial to the claim-filing process, as they are adept at demonstrating the authenticity of a crash.)

How it worked...and then didn't

The men involved in the current conspiracy were careful to cover their tracks - up to a point. Primarily they staged single-car crashes on remote roads, where there were no witnesses. After the crash, some accomplices would stay at the scene, while others would flee in a second car. They collected, reputedly, between $10,000 and $30,000 for each collision.

But they went too many times back to the well (...or tree). The high number of accidents in the short period of time evidently aroused the curiosity of insurers. Eventually the police and FBI became curious, too. And the men involved seem likely to pay expensively for the money they took in.

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