Is There a Staged Accident Crime Syndicate coming to a town near you?
The lawyer did it.
Well, the lawyers of Louisiana did it. And the doctors. And the insurance companies.
A New Orleans lawyer has pleaded guilty and two others are under investigation for hiring a team to stage a series of accidents with 18-wheelers in the New Orleans area.
But that was just a case that a driver actually won.
Incidents like these are not rare: In New Orleans alone there have been thirty proven staged accident crimes.
Like the mafia, these Staged Accident Squads work in a sophisticated operation: they have their own hitman– the troop employs a “Slammer”– the individual that strikes the truck. And there is always a Witness, and the vehicle is packed with Riders– low level syndicate soldiers that all claim serious injuries and join the suit.
It’s a disturbingly consistent sham: Squad members will undergo serious medical operations to authenticate their claims, often with the cooperation of crooked doctors.
Phantom Bumps: Commonly, drivers never felt anything during the “accident.” A hired witness flags down the truck and then claims they witnessed an accident.
The New Orleans Staged Accident Syndicate actually had their Slammer and their Witness played by the same man. He was thought to be the most talented at hitting drivers successfully, and after bumping the 18-wheeler, the driver jumped out to act as a witness to his own crime.
“Prosecutors have said a grand jury investigating a number of staged accidents has the names of the (alleged) two attorneys and doctors hand-picked to examine the group’s accident participants.”
Frequently, incidents involve vehicles that only seat four people, but there are eight individuals claiming that they were injured in the collision. Investigators look for collaboration– between the doctors, the lawyers, even sometimes the insurance companies are in on the scam.
And other city crime rings are watching each other: There is a similar Staged Accident Syndicate in the city of Las Vegas, and there’s some suspicion that they may be working with the New Orleans ring.
They certainly seem to be learning from each other, getting better at what they do– to minimize risk and maximize their profit at the expense of drivers and carriers.
Investigating officers note that the New Orleans Syndicate is savier than the Las Vegas crime ring. They note that the New Orleans squad hits trucks from the side, instead of hitting the brakes in front of a rig: A safer maneuver for the passengers.
Sometimes these hits go horribly wrong. People die. So, they’ve had to get better.
It’s the same play, the same script, the same actors. And it’s happening year after year. The real fear is that there is a new law that is going to take their Mafia hit act national. The introduction of a new bill called HR2687, and it is being introduced by Illinois Representative Chuy Garcia.
The new Insurance Act would raise truck insurance 556%
So, a truck driver would go from carrying $750,000 in insurance on average to $4.923 million.
The payout for the hit squad would get a whole lot bigger, and so the incentive to implement Staged Accidents in other parts of the country would be proportionally more appealing.
Culture plays a part in this: Louisiana is a notoriously sue-happy state. But if we incentivize Staged Accidents at a national level with this kind of payout what kind of impact would this bill have on our legal culture across the country?
Nationwide drivers could soon be facing their own lawyer-led troop of accident-pretenders.
The HR2687 Insurance Law has the potential to have some terrible unintended consequences. And if it passes truckers, and national legal culture would pay the price.
CDLLife connected with Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), for comment about the new law. OOIDA’s representative also believes that this legislation makes staging accidents a tantalizing payout.
When contacted, Rep. Garcia did not respond to either phone calls made to his office or attempts to reach him by email by the time of this article’s publication.
For context, the American Trucking Association already found that insurance rates are the fifth biggest concern for Carriers.
And Staged Accident Crimes aside, the insurance rates that would follow the passing of this law would imperil the stability of most Owner-Operators.
The OOIDA representative asserts that with rates that high most insurance companies would refuse to cover trucking companies’ liability, narrowing the pool of competition among insurers.
Possibly driving rates even higher than projected.
To combat this law and fight insurance rate escalation that leads to fraud, reach your representative from this list. Directory of U.S. Representatives.
NYU Professor Stephen Holmes once said, “There is no rule of law, until the Mafia needs lawyers.” But when the lawyers lead the Mafia, the rule of law is certainly no more.