Set-up by scammer who stopped short after green light...
I was out alone running errands here in San Francisco during the early evening, it was a still light out. Myself (female) and the "scammer" (male) were at a red light in the far right lane, me behind the scammer with no other cars around. The light turned green and "scammer" proceeded, then I do right after.
All of a sudden, after 7-10 feet and 10 mph (if that), the scammers stopped but the car had no running lights or brake lights. I slammed my brakes but still made contact with his bumper at maybe 5 mph. The scammer immediately jumped out of his car and seemed irate.
This guy was driving a 1999 eclipse and I was driving a NEW vehicle (Chevy truck). I ask him if he was ok, and he stated yes but also said his car was very damaged. I saw his rear end and yes it had tons of prior damage.
I suggested to scammer we get out of cross traffic as we had only driven maybe 8-10 feet from the light's line, so we pulled over and started inspecting our cars. There was no damage whatsoever to my truck, just the license plate was a little bent. The guy was claiming all his very obviously OLD damage was my doing.
Right then I thought "red flag," and that I've been set up to hit this guy. I said to him that the damage was old and not from me. ENTER passenger... Another male then exited the car after hearing our conversation and the fact that I'm stating there was no damage to either vehicle. This guy gets out of the car I just tapped at 5 mph and grabs his neck and says "my neck!" I seriously thought he was joking.
I am 100% confident these 2 set me up. The passenger lit a cigarette and stood around while the driver was going over every inch of his car. We finished up taking photos and exchanging info, and we went our separate ways.
It's now one week later and the driver and passenger are suing me for bodily injuries and damage...for upward of $60K. These 2 set out to get in an accident that day and they did, though I'm sure not the kind they were hoping for. There were no police and no ambulance.
Are these 2 seriously going to get away with this at my expense? What can I do to stop this obvious scam? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Set-up by scammer who stopped short after green light...":
Technically you were in violation of Section 21603 of the California Motor Vehicle Code, which reads:
"The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway."
However, from the facts you present, the driver and passenger of the 1999 Eclipse appear to be exaggerating the property damage and personal injuries.
In most cases, a lawsuit is not filed until each respective driver’s insurance company becomes involved by conducting an investigation into the accident.
It's quite unusual for a lawsuit to be filed so quickly. To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit the "victims" would need to have medical and/or therapy bills to use as a basis for their demand for compensation.
It would be virtually impossible for the two victims to have medical and/or therapy bills approaching $60,000 dollars in such a short period of time. Moreover, it would also be quite unusual for an attorney to accept a case when there are virtually no injuries.
Even if an attorney accepted the case, he or she would have first dealt with your insurance company. It would be incredulous for an attorney to believe he or she could possibly succeed in a lawsuit where the injuries to both clients have not yet been established, nor had there been medical or therapy treatment sufficient to constitute such a high demand for settlement.
Unfortunately, some attorneys accept cases like yours knowing they won't get anywhere near the compensation they are suing for. Instead, the attorneys hope to be compensated by the insurance companies by filing what is considered a "nuisance" lawsuit.
Nuisance insurance payouts are settlements paid by an insurance company to make a lawsuit go away. Instead of having to hire an attorney to defend a case like yours, the insurance company instead agrees to settle the case for a small amount. That way the attorney gets paid, and the case fades away, ultimately to be dismissed.
If you haven't already, turn the entire matter over to your insurance company. Under the terms of your policy, the insurance company is legally obligated to investigate the circumstances of the accident and subsequent injuries, and provide for you at no cost an attorney to defend you up to the limits of your insurance policy.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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