Automotive

My wife rear-ended a car at 5km/h. Just received lawyer's letter claiming injuries.

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  • May 16th, 2015 9:18 pm
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[OP]
Member
Jul 6, 2008
225 posts
28 upvotes
Toronto

My wife rear-ended a car at 5km/h. Just received lawyer's letter claiming injuries.

My wife rear-ended a car in bumper to bumper traffic going 5km/h. Virtually no damage to either car. Our kids in the back seat hardly felt a jolt.

Before exiting the vehicle, the couple in the other car spoke for a few minutes at which point the driver got out and started yelling about his wife's sudden headache and how she
could hardly move.

My wife started to dial an ambulance and he quickly stopped her.

We just received a letter from their lawyer claiming injuries not just to his wife, but now also to him!

(I don't want to say what nationality they are, but perhaps there's a reason why everyone in their country uses a dash cam to prevent insurance fraud).

I was under the impression that insurance handles everything and am now more than a bit concerned
as to why a letter was sent to our house. Is this normal practice?

Is there any way that we might be personally sued for their "injuries"?

Edit: I should add that while we registered this at an accident reporting centre, I didn't directly call the insurance company because I thought they just receive that report.
My insurer contacted me today confused about why they received a lawyer's letter. I sure hope that me not reporting this immediately doesn't absolve the insurer from
their responsibility.
80 replies
Deal Addict
Jan 13, 2014
2501 posts
1606 upvotes
Calgary
Let your insurance know about this and good luck. These things are a headache.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 11, 2008
8760 posts
2392 upvotes
1. Have you reported the accident to tour insurance company? If not, time to do so now.
2. Its normal practice to send the lawyers letter to your house. You would give a copy to your insurance company.
3. Sounds like the accident was a set up?
Deal Addict
May 2, 2010
1646 posts
165 upvotes
Toronto
Can they sue you even when you're not charged for a traffic violation? I thought this wasn't even possible in Ontario.
Deal Addict
Jan 13, 2014
2501 posts
1606 upvotes
Calgary
Now that i think about this a bit more, the lawyer sent a letter to you because they are expecting you to cave in and give them some money. IF he goes to the insurance company they know that this will drag on costing them money in lawyers fees and they have to show actual injury from doctors, physio, medical records etc. I think you should be contacting your insurance ASAP about this.
Deal Addict
Aug 20, 2007
1972 posts
792 upvotes
Kitchener
The lawyer sent this to you since they are starting action against you. They would not sue the insurance company but rather put the action against you. Now you contact your insurance company and they will defend you and take it from there.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 17, 2008
2042 posts
859 upvotes
Ontario
The insurance company will take care of the claim, assuming you filed an accident report with them when it happened.
Jr. Member
Apr 6, 2015
133 posts
13 upvotes
Toronto
Good luck. I'm sorry for your loss. Hope Karma will catch up with them soon.
Member
Apr 22, 2015
388 posts
76 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Your insurance company and their lawyers should be dealing with this directly, do not correspond or reply to any emails letters or phone calls from their end. They likely won't get a cent these insurance companies are very thorough and can easily ascertain when people are exaggerating injuries.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 20, 2011
7747 posts
2737 upvotes
ON
In future, if they claim injury on the scene but stop you from calling an ambulance, insist.
Do it anyway as it gets a record that they were checked out at an ER on the day of the incident.
Makes it much harder for them to fake an injury if there is a doctors report.
Combined with photos of the bumper showing no visible damage means they would have zero case.

Them stopping you from calling for medical assistance when they claim injury should be a huge red flag.
If you're injured, you would never say no to that.
Even RFDers who are probably too cheap to pay $45 ambulance fee. If you're genuinely injured, you don't refuse help.
Sr. Member
Nov 20, 2014
643 posts
147 upvotes
Toronto, ON
the lawyers who even take these cases should be investigated by the bar and have their license to practice taken away. fkn ambulance chasers and scammers like these have a special place in hell reserved for them
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Member
User avatar
Mar 19, 2015
272 posts
267 upvotes
North York, ON
chixdiggit wrote: My wife rear-ended a car in bumper to bumper traffic going 5km/h. Virtually no damage to either car. Our kids in the back seat hardly felt a jolt.

Before exiting the vehicle, the couple in the other car spoke for a few minutes at which point the driver got out and started yelling about his wife's sudden headache and how she
could hardly move.

My wife started to dial an ambulance and he quickly stopped her.

We just received a letter from their lawyer claiming injuries not just to his wife, but now also to him!

(I don't want to say what nationality they are, but perhaps there's a reason why everyone in their country uses a dash cam to prevent insurance fraud).

I was under the impression that insurance handles everything and am now more than a bit concerned
as to why a letter was sent to our house. Is this normal practice?

Is there any way that we might be personally sued for their "injuries"?

Edit: I should add that while we registered this at an accident reporting centre, I didn't directly call the insurance company because I thought they just receive that report.
My insurer contacted me today confused about why they received a lawyer's letter. I sure hope that me not reporting this immediately doesn't absolve the insurer from
their responsibility.


Can you be sued personally for this? Well, yes.

Common practice for lawyers is to scare you by serving you with papers; the fact of the matter is, insurance in Ontario bars you from suing the third-party directly if there is an active insurance policy in place. Before the third-party can sue you, they need to exhaust their own accident benefits.

You rear-ended the third-party. Let's say third-party is claiming $3 million in injuries. Before they sue you, they need to exhaust their own Accident Benefits before they can sue you. Now, let's say their accident benefits amount (for simplicity) is $1 million. That will leave $2 million unaccounted for. In this case, YOUR insurance policy would respond. Now let's say, you only have $1 million liability. Your insurance policy would respond to that $1 million, however, there is now $1 million unaccounted for. You can be sued personally for this amount.

That being said, for them to successfully claim over $1M, they need to justify it. The lawyers will select a number out of thin air ($3 million), but keep in mind the court system, as is the insurance system, aims to INDEMNIFY (put you back in the same position you were before the loss), not to profit from. So in other words, for them to successfully sue for $1M, you either had to have injured a child to the point where he will be crippled for the rest of his life, or you have to have caused a boat load of property damage. In fact, it's financially cheaper to kill someone than to injure them severely.

Statutory conditions for accident benefits is 2 years for those 18 and over, and for those under the age of 18, it is 2 years from the day they turn 18.

Either way, forward this to your insurance company. Their liability (or bodily injury) department will handle this. Keep in mind insurance companies have access to bigger lawyers than the third-party has access to. The statement of claim for $3M will quickly be reduced to $300,000, of which the third-party's own insurance company will likely eat that amount, hence never making it to your insurance company. After everything is said and done, the third-parties will be lucky to come up with $100k in "profit".
Deal Guru
Oct 7, 2010
13466 posts
4363 upvotes
Should call the cops ambulance. Obvious scam.
Member
User avatar
Mar 19, 2015
272 posts
267 upvotes
North York, ON
spike1128 wrote: Should call the cops ambulance. Obvious scam.
Back pain is one of the hardest injuries to prove or disprove. This is why insurance companies will spend less time on arguing the costs associated to treat back pain, and more money on hiring surveillance companies to make sure your claims of back pain are legitimate.

The insurance company I work for heavily relies on Garda Security for private investigators. If you're claiming back pain, but you are photographed at Costco picking up watermelons, you can be confronted with this information and risk having your AB claim, in its entirety, declined.

That being said, I am not an accident benefits adjuster, but I have a well-rounded idea of how it works.
Deal Addict
May 2, 2010
1646 posts
165 upvotes
Toronto
OP, how are you sure that the vehicle was driving at 5km/h? Even in bumper to bumper traffic, it's easy to get over 20km/h. The passengers in the vehicle getting rear ended do get injured more, so you do want to consider that. While it's odd that they get their lawyer to send the letter first, unless the accident is staged I wouldn't assume they are scamming you. Also, I don't like the fact that you bring up the nationality of these people, which means you're already assuming something based on their nationality alone.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 2, 2013
5624 posts
1486 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
I've been hit 3 times since last August. I was told by someone who has done this multiple times to make a few thousand each, that if I wanted to I could had whined and made stories about how I started hurting in my back and could get extra money from insurance. Couldn't live with myself ripping people off, but apparently it's extremely common.
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Deal Addict
May 2, 2010
1646 posts
165 upvotes
Toronto
FirstGear wrote: I've been hit 3 times since last August. I was told by someone who has done this multiple times to make a few thousand each, that if I wanted to I could had whined and made stories about how I started hurting in my back and could get extra money from insurance. Couldn't live with myself ripping people off, but apparently it's extremely common.
Like Squirtle's post above, this would be not just ripping people off but downright a fraud, and if you get caught there would be consequences. Perhaps the consequences aren't something severe enough?
Penalty Box
Dec 27, 2013
8003 posts
4031 upvotes
Toronto
this is common practice

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