Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Insurance Fraud

T3SLA_S

Member
Nov 12, 2017
29
22
California
So I had a minor (and when I say minor....almost unnoticeable) collision with my Tesla S. Was simultaneously backing while another vehicle was backing in a parking lot (subway and no cameras, facing collision area). I stopped just in time and unfortunately he did not. The impact was so soft I almost didn't feel it other than i was observing the backup cam. I pulled forward and looked for damage and did not initially see any. I took a second look and there was a slight (super slight) ripple in the plastic near the right rear sensor in the bumper. The other vehicle was a GMC Tahoe type. No damage other that preexisting to his bumper in areas that were no where near the impact area on my car. The other guy was totally apologetic. We exchanged info and he wished to keep it private. Nothing shady looking about the guy. As I could not see the damage in certain lights I figured the cost to fix would maybe be $300. And since he was super cool about it I figured I would not screw him with a full bumper replacement. Accidents happen.

While attempting to get quotes a few days pass and I receive a letter from his insurance carrier claiming a loss. I'm like WTF and furious at this point. I call him and he's evasive. I contact his insurance and they claim $807 in damages to his bumper and that I hit him. Unknown exactly where he is claiming the damage is but its impossible as his bumper his higher than my damage and its a chrome steal bumper.

I took pics during the original event with phone but since there was no damage from the collision my pics were limited. I later located his vehicle at his work since his DL address was outdated. Positioned my vehicle behind his and snapped photos. The only thing that lines up remotely close is his trailer receptacle (the pavement may have been slightly uneven at the collision scene). It looks like the ripple may have been caused by the structure underneath the bumper skin as the skin was pressed into the under structure by something hard (like metal). I took a handful of photos and left.

My concern is the insurance companies will find the collision to be a 50/50 at fault and just move on and do nothing about the insurance fraud because they don't wish to invest the time (money) into his false claim on the damages which might also illustrate he's lying about who's fault it was.

I was thinking about avoiding my insurance and suing in small claims court for a full bumper replacement ($3000) and maybe "Treble Damages". Triple that amount ($9000) due to the fraud aspect.

Anyone with experience on this???

Thanks in advance.

Assume everyone (no matter how nice or unassuming) will screw you at a later date and take necessary precautions to avoid being taken advantage of.
 
May 21, 2018
377
128
Connecticut
You mentioned that the accident resulted from both vehicles backing up simultaneously, so how does that make the other driver 100% at fault?

Since this happened in a private parking lot with no clear right of way, you're likely looking at a 50/50 judgement.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Az_Rael

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,616
7,945
Seattle area, WA
Personally I would say not worth the time. My wife tapped an old Toyota Corolla long time ago (before she had a Tesla), as the woman in front started to turn left at an intersection and slammed on the brakes mid way without any reason. The damage was so minor we didn't even bother taking our car to buff out the scratches. They exchanged information and everyone left of their merry way. We didn't even find out until we were renewing our insurance that somehow the claim was $5,500 in damages. I don't think that corolla was worth $5,500 total. Some people treat any minor insurance claim as a lottery win and claim all they can, often unrelated or made up damages. At $800 the insurance is not going to even bother investigating - not worth their time. Chuck it up to "life isn't fair and sometimes the bad guys win" and don't lose any more sleep over it.

Btw, there was a lesson for me in this. Since then, I've started putting front+back dashcams in all our cars, and it actually paid off recently when a DUI driver totaled my wife's 1 year old Model S - without the dashcam no way to prove who caused the accident, with the dashcam footage no questions as to who is at fault.
 

GatorGuy

Member
Feb 25, 2018
529
511
Jacksonville
I'm not an expert in these accidents at all but just because you had stopped and he confused I'm not sure puts the liability 100% on him. Something to consider. You also don't have much evidence.

But small claims would be the way to go. The only thing you would have to lose would be alot of time.
 

Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
2,950
2,244
SoCal
This is in California and in a parking lot and both cars are in the process of backing out? With no witnesses, it is 50/50. And it is only $800 damage, your insurance will not want to spend any time to fight for it. It is his insurance claiming it is a loss, so it will be you filing small claim against his insurance company. You may get lucky and they never showed up. But if they do show, you have to claim that you received $3000 damage to your bumper while his $800 damage is fraudulent, and he was at fault because he was moving and you were not,

I think you are just angry right now and want to fight back. But in the end, it is probably not worth your time to do this, and that's why you have insurance.
 

cpsss

Member
Dec 26, 2017
16
1
toronto
This is in California and in a parking lot and both cars are in the process of backing out? With no witnesses, it is 50/50. And it is only $800 damage, your insurance will not want to spend any time to fight for it. It is his insurance claiming it is a loss, so it will be you filing small claim against his insurance company. You may get lucky and they never showed up. But if they do show, you have to claim that you received $3000 damage to your bumper while his $800 damage is fraudulent, and he was at fault because he was moving and you were not,

I think you are just angry right now and want to fight back. But in the end, it is probably not worth your time to do this, and that's why you have insurance.
That's very informative. I have a similar case recently, but rather than fight back what can he do? paying the $800 or make it 50/50 and pay $400? either way sucks..
 

Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
2,950
2,244
SoCal
That's very informative. I have a similar case recently, but rather than fight back what can he do? paying the $800 or make it 50/50 and pay $400? either way sucks..

His insurance will just pay the other insurance $400. OP does not directly pay any part it. If he want to fix his own MS, he will have to pay the deductible and his insurance will pay for half of the rest and the other guy's insurance will pay for the other half. His insurance rate for next year "may" go up because of the accident.

So really the out of pocket loss for OP would be the deductible (if he decided to fix his own car) and the possible future increase in his auto insurance. Now if there was injury....that's another story.
 

derekmw

Member
Oct 3, 2016
628
902
San Diego, CA
I know the feeling. I had a similar event where a car in front of me stopped, then put his car in reverse and kept driving while I was honking until he backed right into my front bumper (this is the event that got me to have a dash cam in all my subsequent cars).

He apologized and said he never saw me, that he was trying to back up to get into a spot (the street had diagonal parking spaces). We exchanged info and by the time I called my insurance, they said he claims he was stopped and I rear ended him. A MUCH more believable story since who drives in revers and hits someone on a street (not even a parking lot).

Thankfully, there was a homeless guy I remember seeing so we tracked him down and he remembered the event and put it down on writing for us to submit to our insurance.

The really annoying part is, later I find out my insurance said we lost the case. I couldn't believe it so I called them and find out, they forgot to submit the evidence. They realized it was their fault and removed it from my record and refunded me my deductible.

However, I was just so mad that this guy got away with it...but in the end, it's just not worth it. Nor was it worth it to the insurance company to try to get this guy.
 

demundus

Active Member
Jul 5, 2015
1,324
856
Oceanside, CA
Assume everyone (no matter how nice or unassuming) will screw you at a later date and take necessary precautions to avoid being taken advantage of.

Yep. And even when you're not at fault in any way shape or form, the insurance company of the "nice" person will turn them against you, as money talks.

As others have said, its not worth your time. If you can get them to agree to 50/50 (because thats exactly what you described it as being) then you're lucky, pay the piper and move on :)
 

SSonnentag

Rocket Scientist
Apr 11, 2017
1,738
2,188
Arizona
At fault insurance claim will almost double your insurance rates for all vehicles you own for 3-5 years. I'd fight it.

My wife accidentally letting her car roll into a pole raised our insurance rate by 77% for 35 months. Repair bill to the insurance company was $2100. Insurance premium increase over 3 years will be $4200.
 

BigTonyTones

Member
Nov 28, 2016
633
532
Los Angeles
Im sorry to hear this. Seems like it will probably be 50/50. Get a dash cam installed right away (front and back).
Already saved me one time when an employee misplaced a shopping cart and it scraped the entire side of my car.
 

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top