Archive for August, 2012
Let’s look into a case of individual injustice. In June 2010, Kaitlynn Fisher went through stop lights on green. Halfway across the junction, an SUV came through the red light and smashed into her car. She was killed. The driver of the SUV was underinsured. Kaitlynn was insured by Progressive and one of the terms was a duty to pay up to $100,000 if an uninsured or underinsured driver caused injury or death. Except the law of Maryland is a nightmare. The insurance company is not obliged to pay out if its insured was in any way to blame for the accident. Hence, if a court was to find one driver 99% to blame, the 1% fault attached to the other driver would defeat her claim. This is an amazing law. To make it worse, there’s no right to sue the insurance company directly. The relatives of the deceased has to sue the other driver and get a ruling the deceased was not even 1% to blame for the accident. So that’s just what they did.
What makes this story remarkable is that Progressive sent a lawyer to the trial who addressed the judge and jury, and sat beside the defendant, offering advice. According to Progressive, this lawyer was protecting its interests and not representing the defendant. The fact the lawyer was protecting Progressive’s interests by arguing Progressive’s policyholder was to blame is irrelevant.
Not surprisingly given the adverse publicity, Progressive has now reached a settlement with the family of the deceased. However, consider the potential effects of this publicity. Progressive was able to provide cheap auto insurance as it used every possible trick in the book to avoid paying out. If it now feels the glare of the public’s attention, it may well change that business model. This would mean more generous settlements to avoid going to court and, if court action cannot be avoided, always arguing in favor of its policyholders. This means paying out a lot more money to all those insured and represents the end of cheap auto insurance rates . A mildly ironic outcome for those fighting an injustice.
In some states, the level of car insurance fraud is reaching epidemic proportions and this is forcing up the auto insurance quotes for all. Nationally, it’s estimated several billion dollars is being stolen from insurance companies by staged accidents supported by paid witnesses, and corrupt attorneys and medical advisors. No matter how much taxpayers money is diverted from budgets in deficit to law enforcement, it all comes down to the insurance companies to report every suspected case of fraud to the police for investigation, and for all innocent drivers to take a few simple steps whenever they are caught in an accident.
We need to begin with a general word of reassurance. The vast majority of collisions are genuine accidents but some criminal gangs are now using staged crashes as a way of extracting money from the insurance industry. In the safe version, vehicles driven by gang members will collide with each other at a high visibility location where there are many independent witnesses. But some involve innocent motorists who are put in situations where rear-end collisions are likely to occur, e.g. a spotter in a gang vehicle watches for the driver behind to look away from the road and tells his driver to make a panic stop.
There’s an assumption you’re the driver at fault if you hit the vehicle in front of you. Don’t tailgate. Always drive sufficiently far behind the vehicle in front you can always stop in an emergency. More importantly, if you’re caught in an accident, call the local law enforcement to the scene and immediately begin documenting the damage to the vehicles and who is in the other vehicle. If anyone tries to direct you to an attorney or doctor, this is suspicious. Should a tow truck appear on the scene without anyone apparently calling it for you, do not allow it to take your vehicle. If an attorney or doctor suggests you make a claim even though you are not injured, this is a crime and should be reported to the police. Indeed notifying the police and your own insurers is the sure way to expose fraud and keep everyone’s auto insurance quotes low.
Volunteer Abroad Victims Of Crime
An individual will never be a hundred percent safe from crime or targets for a crime. Some places are safer than others but crime is present everywhere. The perpetrators of the crimes could be the local people or fellow volunteers and sometimes the victims themselves. Crime against people is equal to both men and women in that they are both attacked. Unfortunately in some places women are found to be easier and sympathetic targets, as such they are targeted more. Travelling abroad has its risks and one of them is crime. Sooner or later international volunteers become victims of crime. There will be a point in time that some volunteers will fall victim and this article is to help you handle with certain situations and to avoid being victim of a crime. There are basic tips to avoid being a victim like avoid being too trusting, the volunteers putting them self at risk; over consumption of alcohol, avoid high risk areas and countries; and provoking other people. Here is how to avoid being a victim and what to do if it has already happened:
Robbery is one of the most common crimes that international volunteers could face. Most international volunteers are robbed in airports, trains busses and crowded areas. The volunteers are robbed of their luggage, purses, passports, jewelry, cameras, wallets and watches. The thieves rob the volunteers through snatching, at gun point, knife point, distract the volunteers, cut a hole on the purses or jackets, and steal while the volunteers are asleep. To avoid being robbed the volunteers who are abroad, could take better care of their belonging, get a money bag or purse and put it in their clothes, stitch a pocket on to their clothes to hide their valuables, make copies of their valuables and to leave their valuables in a safe place. After the international volunteer has been robbed, there are various way of handling the issue: inform the authorities, inform the banks and credit companies, inform relatives and loved ones to send help, and go to their embassies to report the matter.
This is whereby the volunteer is lied to about the price of an object or a service. It also occurs when the volunteer is cheated in to believing to invest in a business transaction. The most common scam are taxi scams whereby the driver overcharges the volunteer; drives the volunteer in circles to get a better deal, threatens the volunteer. To avoid this, the volunteers should call the official taxi service numbers to get help; they should have a common driver with whom they have used before, get a local person to travel with them. To handle this, the volunteer should report the driver to his superiors and before paying s/he should inquire about the price of the service. Business scams are whereby the volunteers are duped into investing into a business idea or proposal. This is common especially if the idea involves investing in local jewelry, gems, and mined resources (gold, diamond, etc). As the truth cant be determined even if the volunteer has seen the gems or mined resources they should avoid such transactions. The deal could be too good to be true and should be avoid. Its hard to handle such crimes as this will end up in court and it could drag on for months.
This is rare most parts of the world, but it is common in certain parts of the world. For examples US citizens are targeted by some Muslim organizations like AL Qaeda. Some countries in South America like Chile are not fond of Americans. In countries like Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand dont like foreigners because some of them have bad habits that conflict with their cultures for example drinking, sleeping with prostitutes and smoking. In such places, the volunteers should be extra cautious about their behavior and habits in front of the locals. The best way to handle this problem is by going to the volunteers National embassy to solve the issue.
In some rare occasions the volunteers are the perpetrators of the crimes. The volunteers could be the ones who break the laws by for example taking photos of security related institutions, purchasing some antiques (some of the locals may seem them as national relics or treasures, possessions of fire arms, and drug violations( the volunteers are caught in possession of illegal drugs). To avoid such scenarios the international volunteers should acquaint themselves with the rules and regulations. Also they should ask for permission to do certain things.