It’s an auto insurance scam that costs car insurance companies millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. A cost that’s handed down to drivers in the form of higher insurance rates. Insurance fraud through a fake car accident claim is on the rise across Canada and no driver should feel immune from becoming a victim.
How Fake Car Accidents Happen
Sometimes called staged accidents, they can happen in many different ways. The following are among the most common set-ups that scammers use to make claims for staged collisions.
Another vehicle intentionally drives into your vehicle
Real accidents with injury claims for victims who were not involved in the accident, or for fake injuries.
Accident reports for auto accidents that did not happen
In addition to paying for the overall cost of fake insurance claims through higher average insurance rates, innocent drivers may also face increased rates for their own car insurance if they are found “at fault” in a staged accident.
6 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Fake Car Accidents Claims
If you are in a car accident, take the following steps to reduce your chance of becoming the victim of a car insurance scam.
Get full names and contact information (mailing address, telephone number, email address) for the other driver(s) and the other occupant(s) of the vehicle(s).
Write or record your observations about the physical condition of the other driver(s) and occupant(s). Are they injured? What’s been injured? Or are they walking around without any apparent injury?
Use a camera or your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene. Take images of the overall scene from different angles. Take images of each car involved in the accident. Get images of the license plates of each car involved, and pictures of the damage to each car.
When police arrive, ask for a copy of their accident report. If police don’t attend, write down everything you can remember about the circumstances that lead up to the accident and call the police as soon as you can to file a report about the accident.
Look for witnesses and ask for their contact information
If anyone else recommends that you use a particular tow truck company or auto repair shop, don’t take their advice. Research and retain your own tow truck and body shop.
Let’s just get the biggest myth about being charged with domestic assault out of the way before we go any further. You cannot get domestic assault charges dropped in Ontario if the complainant decides to withdraw the charges. Canadian law says that victims of an assault cannot simply drop criminal charges against the accused.
But that doesn’t mean that a victim who wants to withdraw domestic violence charges can’t help in having charges dropped.
3 Ways to Get Domestic Assault Charges Dropped in Ontario
Hire a Specialized Lawyer – Only the Crown Attorney’s office can have charges withdrawn. That makes the best thing you can do to maximize your chances of having the charges dropped is to hire an expert criminal assault lawyer who specializes in domestic cases of assault.
Recants – Victims in assault cases can recant their statements that support the charges. By itself, a recant will not get the charges dropped. But a recant tells the Crown Prosecutor that the chances of conviction are somewhat mitigated and that may be enough to persuade the Crown to drop charges.
Your Criminal Defence Lawyers Negotiate with The Crown – The circumstances of your case may result in the withdrawal of charges. This can include if they are less serious charges, it’s a first offence, you have no criminal record, there were no children present during the assault and/or it was an isolated incident. Your defence lawyer can engage in pre-trial discussions with the Crown Prosecutor to have the charges dropped.
The system of demerit points in Ontario and how long they’re on record has confused the province’s drivers for as long as anyone can remember. You get demerit points when you are convicted of breaking certain driving laws, and when you’re convicted of more serious infractions of other driving laws.
For example, you can expect to get demerit points every time you are convicted of racing. But you will generally only get demerit points for speeding when you are convicted of driving at more than 15 kms over the speed limit.
Demerit points remain on your driving record for two years from the offence date. A conviction will stay on your record for three years from the date that you are convicted. Insurance companies calculate any increases to your insurance based on the number of convictions and the severity of the convictions on your driving record.
3 More Things You Should Know About Demerit Points
In a video game world where you need mega gazillions of points just to survive, 15 points doesn’t seem like much. But they’re enough to get your driver’s license suspended for 30 days. Then you’ll have to make arrangements and pay for alternate transportation during the license suspension, and potentially face higher insurance premiums when you get back behind the wheel.
You Start with Zero Points – Again, drivers in Ontario earn points for being convicted of breaking driving laws according to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. If you have no demerit points, that’s as good as it gets.
How Many Points Do You Get When Convicted? The number of demerit points you get for any conviction depends on the seriousness of the offence. It is also up to a police officer’s discretion to reduce the charge on a traffic ticket so that you won’t get any demerit points if you are convicted. Here are some examples of offences and the demerit points they can add to your record.
Failing to Signal a Turn – 2 demerit points
Exceeding the Speed Limit by 30 to 49 kms – 4 demerit points
Failing to Stop When Signalled or Asked by a Police Officer – 7 demerit points
You Should Get Legal Advice – As we pointed out above, the implications of demerit points on your driving record can have a serious impact on your ability to get around (how are you going to get to work now?) and finances. It pays to invest in qualified legal advice and representation to avoid any convictions that involve demerit points.
If you’ve received a stunt driving first offence, Ontario laws and penalties can be quite strict and severe. For example, if a police officer stops you for exceeding the speed limit by 50 km or more (the most common offence that’s classified as stunt driving), You will get a drivers licence suspension for seven days and your vehicle will be impounded for seven days – even if you were never convicted of stunt driving or racing in the past.
If you are convicted, you can face fines of up to $10,000, get six demerit points, or be sentenced to a maximum of six months in jail. On top of that, the conviction can have a lasting effect on your life, including a license suspension of up to 10 years and increased insurance premiums.
The seriousness of being charged with stunt driving means you should learn as much as you can about the offence to minimize the impact of a conviction.
4 Things to Know if You Got a First Offence Stunt Driving in Ontario
There are lots of myths about what is considered stunt driving and the implications of receiving a stunt driving ticket.
You Should Get Legal Advice – Again, due to its gravity, the most important step you can take if you are charged with stunt driving is to get legal advice and representation in court from lawyers and experts well-versed in how to fight a stunt driving ticket.
It’s Not Just for Speeding – While exceeding the speed limit by 50 km or more is the most common reason for a stunt driving ticket, the Ontario Highway Traffic Act outlines many more, including:
Doing burnouts, drifts or donuts
Driving while you’re not in the driver’s seat, or with someone in the trunk
Jumping the green light at an intersection to make a left turn before oncoming traffic begins to move.
The Costs of Getting a Ticket Are All Yours – If you are stopped and given a traffic ticket for stunt driving, the consequences are all your responsibility, including the financial ones.
If your license is suspended and/or vehicle impounded, you must find and pay for your own transportation (police officers are only obligated to take you to a safe place).
You are responsible for the costs of towing your vehicle to the impoundment lot and the cost of storage for the duration of the impoundment.
You must pay a $180 fee to get your driver’s license reinstated.
You Will Likely need to Make More Than One Court Appearance – When you get the ticket, you will also get a summons to appear in court. You or your licensed legal representative must appear in court or face a bench summons for your arrest. If you do not intend to plead guilty at that first court appearance, another court date will be set for your trial.
The group behind Stop100 think so. They are actively petitioning to raise the speed limits of 400-series highways in Ontario to 120km/hr, and they have already gathered over 25,000 signatures. But this seems counter-intuitive. How is a faster speed limit a safe alternative to the current speed of 100km/hr? Stop100’s website claims that “many countries with higher speed limits observe lower or similar fatality rates to Ontario.”
When speed limits are low, drivers tend to do one of two things. Most people drive faster, keeping a sharp eye out for police radar, while others choose to drive exactly the limit. This creates a chaotic highway filled with obstacles, where as a driver, you are continually speeding up to go around slow drivers, and then dodging out of the way of other, much faster, drivers. Continue reading →
You’re driving to a friend’s house. Your phone is in your bag on the passenger seat. While waiting at a red light, you hear the unmistakable sound of a text message and see the screen’s light shining up at you invitingly. The light is still red, and you might have time to read it. You reach over and grab the phone. It’s your friend asking if you’re bringing your partner. You’re not, and you feel the need to reply. Now the light is green, so you cradle the phone in one hand and steer with the other, typing as many characters as you can between quick glances at the road. Your mind is trying to both answer and drive, and meanwhile, you’re spelling everything wrong and getting frustrated. Continue reading →
In light of a recent report, Ontario police are cracking down on dangerous driving during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. This is the first Thanksgiving since the Ontario government passed stiffer penalties for distracted driving, which include up to $1,000 in fines and three demerit points.
The report describes the main causes of traffic-related casualties between 2011 and 2015, and states that the great majority of the 1,507 deaths on the road Continue reading →
In Ontario, doctors are required by law to report anyone over 16 who they believe is not able to drive safely due to a medical condition. They file their report with the Ministry of Transportation, which may then request more information, or may suspend the license without need for further evidence. Some of the more common conditions that lead to a medical suspension include alcohol/drug abuse, epilepsy, diabetes, and major vision problems, among others. The timeline and necessary steps for getting a license reinstated depends on the severity and nature of the condition, and will require proof that the driver has taken these steps and can now drive safely.
If you have a ticket or criminal charge and need help please Reqeust a Free Quote. One of our helpfull representatives will contact to help!
This website and its information is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Please consult a legal services provider (Lawyer or Paralegal) for advice about your individual situation. Please contact us by electronic mail, telephone or in person. Contacting us through this website does not create a lawyer/paralegal-client relationship. Until a Lawyer or Paralegal-client relationship is established, please withhold from sending any confidential information to us.