Fraud Driving Auto Insurance Costs in NOLA?

Louisiana residents have struggled with relatively higher auto insurance rates for a long time, but current news reports are showing that today’s drivers need to be prepared for a wide spectrum of risks that includes some specific kinds of crimes intended to bleed money from insurance companies. A November 11 report from WDSU News in New Orleans talks about instances of schemes to defraud insurers by staging auto accidents. Citing hundreds of fraud reports from the state police in past years, and public awareness resources from national groups like the National Insurance Crime Bureau, writer Casey Ferrand goes into detail about a type of accident that may not really be what it’s intended to look like. Swoop and Squat According to these reports, the templates for these kinds of accidents, colloquially called “swoop and squat” accidents, are similar to others, in situations where one driver brakes quickly on the road, and others slam into them from behind. An expert, such as someone who works at a New Orleans car accident law firm, will understand that this goes on all the time, but the difference with the kinds of cases that police are now reporting is that there may be drivers out there just looking for a chance to create a collision. Police are finding that rings of people set out to trap distracted drivers by braking quickly ahead of their cars. Some even claim that organized crime is behind some of these fraud efforts. That said, it only takes one […]

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Louisiana Court Holds Insurance Company’s Sale of Policy to Unlicensed Driver Does Not Waive Exclusion of Coverage

In an appeal before the Louisiana Fifth Circuit, the court reviewed a judgment in favor of an insurance company and their automobile insurance policy.  Many automobile insurance policies include exclusion clauses, limiting coverage according to specific situations.  In this case, collision coverage provided an exclusion for collisions caused by drivers without a valid and current driver license. Darryl Parker brought a lawsuit for damages following a vehicle collision on January 27, 2014. A vehicle driven by Laquida Taplin collided with Mr. Parker’s vehicle. Mr. Parker named Ms. Taplin and her insurance company, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, as defendants.  He also named his insurer, Affirmative Insurance Company. Mr. Parker contended that Affirmative provided automobile coverage, both comprehensive and collision, for his vehicle.  He alleged the insurance company acted in bad faith when it denied his claim for property damage.

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Louisiana Court Remands Case When Trial Court Failed to Use “Decretal” Language Making Judgment Valid and Enforceable

A case before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal addressed what makes a trial court judgment a valid, final judgment under Louisiana law.  In order to appeal a judgment, the court stated that there must be specific “decretal” language in the judgment, setting forth the names of the parties, in addition to other details.  Not only does this ensure that the judgment can be enforced, but also it avoids rendering a defective judgment. Michelle O’Regan was driving a vehicle, and Christine Caminita was in the front passenger seat.  Their vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Laura Cashio.  Ms. Caminita and Ms. O’Regan filed a petition for damages against Ms. Cashio and her insurance company, USAA Casualty Insurance.  Ms. Caminita and Ms. O’Regan also asserted claims against Ms. O’Regan’s insurer, State Farm Insurance, and against Ms. Caminita’s insurer, General Insurance Company of America. Ms. O’Regan’s claims against Ms. Cashio and USAA were dismissed.  Ms. Caminita’s claims against Ms. Cashio, USAA, and General Insurance Company of America then went to a three-day trial.  State Farm did not appear at trial.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of Ms. Caminita, and the trial court signed a judgment.

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Louisiana Court Holds Plaintiffs Not Entitled to Damages from Negligent Driver and His Automobile Insurance Company, Due to Failure to Prove Accident Caused Injuries

In a case before the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, the court reviewed a claim for damages against a driver and his automobile insurance company.  Following a collision, injured individuals often seek recovery from the negligent or at-fault driver and their automobile insurance company. In this appeal, the court focused on whether the lower court determined that the accident caused the plaintiffs’ injuries. Plaintiffs Regina Tezeno, individually and as the administratrix of her minor children, Darren and Darinesha, appealed the trial court’s dismissal of Darren’s and Darinesha’s personal injury claims. The facts of this case demonstrated that the plaintiffs were driving northbound in the center lane when another vehicle, traveling in the northbound left lane, entered the center lane and sideswiped their vehicle.  The passengers were all restrained during the collision.  Both vehicles had minor damage, including a lost headlight and scraped paint.

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