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Auto Insurance Fraud Defense Lawyers


Defending Those Accused of Auto Insurance Fraud

If you own a car in California, chances are that you have auto insurance. Given that auto insurance is a legal requirement, you may assume that insurance companies would go out of their way to make the process as easy to understand as possible. Sadly, the opposite is true. These companies make their language convoluted and confusing, causing customers to accidentally provide false information or submit the wrong forms. When these mistakes happen, it is the customer who faces the consequences.

Auto insurance fraud is no laughing matter. Those convicted of this crime face incredibly harsh punishments, and may even find themselves labeled “felon.” If you have been charged with auto insurance fraud, you need to establish a strong defense, or you may find yourself behind bars for the next decade. Thankfully, there are skilled insurance fraud attorneys in Los Angeles, such as our team at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, who can help you get the outcome you want. To speak with a member of our excellent legal team, call us at (213) 688-0460.

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What Is Auto Insurance Fraud?

Everyone who owns a car in California is required to have a certain amount of auto insurance. This insurance covers the costs of an accident in which the insured was at fault, such as repairs, medical bills, and lost wages of the other party. There are many acts that are considered auto insurance fraud under California law. Some of the most common include:

  • Damaging, abandoning, or hiding a vehicle on purpose in order to collect compensation
  • Being the cause of, or participating in, a car accident with the intention of defrauding the insurance companies involved
  • Knowingly submitting a false claim
  • Knowingly submitting two or more of the same claim in order to collect further compensation
  • Knowingly presenting false information during a claim in order to receive more compensation
  • Falsely claiming California residence when applying for auto insurance

It can be surprisingly easy to find yourself being accused of auto insurance. Despite insurance being required in California, the paperwork, process, and jargon are purposefully made to be confusing. You may check a box or write in an answer that you honestly believe to be correct, only to find out after your arrest that it was not. Even worse, if you are found guilty of auto insurance fraud, then the penalties you face will likely be very harsh.

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How Auto Insurance Fraud Is Penalized

The penalties you face for a conviction of auto insurance fraud will depend on what actions you are being accused of. Giving a false statement will be penalized differently than purposefully causing a car accident. To know what kinds of penalties you may be facing, you need to know exactly what you are being accused of.

For damaging or abandoning a vehicle on purpose with the intent to defraud your insurance company, the penalties could include:

  • Between two to five years in jail
  • A fine of up to $50,000

This particular crime is a felony, which means you will also be facing life as a convicted felon, which involves the loss of certain rights. On top of that, if you have a history of prior felony auto insurance convictions, then you could be facing an extra two years of jail time.

If you are facing a conviction for making a fraudulent claim, as in you knowingly provided false information to the insurance company, or you are facing a conviction for submitting multiple claims, then you could be punished by:

  • Between two to five years in jail
  • A fine of $50,000 or a fine that is equivalent to double the amount of the fraud

Similar to purposefully damaging a car, if you have a history of auto insurance fraud convictions, then your jail sentence could be lengthened by two years. In addition, you will likely not be granted probation.

For a purposefully causing an accident, you could be facing a felony conviction and penalties that include:

  • Between two to five years in jail
  • A fine of $50,000 or a fine that is equivalent to double the amount of the fraud

However, there are several aggravating factors that could extend your sentence. For a prior history of auto insurance convictions, your jail sentence could be lengthened by two years. For a prior history of causing accidents purposefully to commit fraud, your sentence could be lengthened by five years. You could also be facing an extension of two years for every victim who was injured as a result of the accident, which may be pushed up to three years for every case of great bodily harm.

Finally, if you made a false statement on a claim, or in an application, then you could be facing a misdemeanor charge, as well as penalties that include:

  • Up to one year in county jail
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Being convicted of any of these crimes could completely derail your life. You may find yourself in jail for years, even decades depending on the aggravating factors involved in your case. However, you should never assume that you are going to be found guilty. With the right attorney and the right defense, your charges could be lessened, or you could be acquitted altogether.

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Defending Against Fraud Charges

Like all fraud crimes, such as bank fraud and healthcare fraud, auto insurance fraud hinges on intent and knowledge. You must knowingly provide false information with the intention of committing fraud. Remember, the prosecution has the burden of proof. They must be able to show beyond reasonable doubt that you committed auto insurance fraud. As auto insurance fraud requires knowledge and intent, it is immensely helpful to create doubt to avoid conviction. Some of the most common defenses that our team uses include:

  • You were unaware the information you provided was false
  • You did not intend to commit fraud
  • You did not cause the accident purposefully
  • You were not the cause of the accident
  • You did not purposefully submit more than one claim
  • The police who arrested you committed misconduct

Of course, being able to cause reasonable doubt and disprove the prosecution’s evidence requires skill and expertise. While you can request the help pf a public defender, these attorneys are often overworked, and will have very little time for you or your case. Instead, you should work with a legal team that can give you the undivided attention that you need.

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Working with the Best

Not just any attorney can provide you with the defense your case requires. You need to work with a lawyer who has the skill, knowledge, and experience to provide you with a top-notch legal defense, and who will fight to have you acquitted. Finding such an attorney is as easy as contacting our firm, Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, and having a quick conversation with a member of our team. To get a free consultation, call us at (213) 688-0460 today.

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Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP Today
Phone: (213) 688-0460
Fax: (213) 624-1942

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