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My car was recently stolen and set on fire and now the insurance company and law enforcement are asking for my personal info.

Jacksonville, FL |

They want access to my phone records, credit history and banking history. Is this the usual procedure in this type of incident ? What rights do I have ?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Yes, it is quite common. Your best bet is to hire an attorney who is familiar with both police and insurance company investigations. I handled such cases as a police officer and insurance claims adjuster, and there is a very nasty machine that suspicious claims set in motion. You could be exposed to severe civil and criminal penalties even if you are innocent.

You certainly need not cooperate with the police. My advice is to not do so. The insurance company may deny your claim for non-cooperation if your contract allows them that right.

The insurance company and police will also seek your cellular "ping data" to attempt to determine if you were anywhere near your car when it was stolen and later burned. In order to get that data, your cellular telephone company will have to cooperate, and that many telecoms keep that data long. The insurance company, if they suspect fraud, will almost certainly turn the results of its investigation over to the Department of Financial Services Insurance Fraud Division. In fact, they have a statutory duty to do so.

The State can use anything you say to your insurance carrier against you. You may have already given the insurance carrier a statement about the loss, but if you haven't, you should only do so through an attorney. You should never speak to law enforcement without an attorney. I taught interrogation techniques to law enforcement officer throughout Florida when I was a police detective, and no matter how they come across, their only goal is to put you in jail.

Finally, call an attorney with police and insurance experience today. Many attorneys do not know anything about insurance fraud or how the insurance companies and police try to prove it. You can almost certain bet that the insurance company, who does not want to pay claim, and the police, who love insurance fraud arrests, are looking at this event very closely. Please do not discuss this issue with anyone but an attorney.

I only practice in the areas of personal injury, federal civil rights, and criminal law. I will not answer inquiries about legal representation in other areas of law, so please do not call me about matters outside my areas of practice. Furthermore, my answers on Avvo do not create an attorney-client relationship. Avvo is not designed for the type of legal analysis I personally require to accept a case. You should always seek a consultation with a licensed attorney who practices in the specific area of law who can fully review the facts of your case..

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Posted

It sounds as though they may be investigating a possible fraudulent insurance claim, which would be a criminal charge. Therefore, you have the rights anyone possibly being accused of a crime has - namely, the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, for starters.

That means you can put in your claim, answer any claim related issues, but decline to speak, or allow access to, private information that doesn't seem to be related to the claim itself. In such circumstances, the police often try to trick you into providing information, that is why it can be extremely helpful to have a lawyer. Once you have a lawyer, you will not be approached by police, and your lawyer will know what should be and shouldn't be released under your circumstances. Believe me, if they had enough to arrest and charge you, they would have. They likely need you to supply the evidence they will want to use against you, and you don't have to assist in that, and are encouraged by the constitution not to. They will say that if you have nothing to hide, then you should help clear all this up, but they likely won't tell you what it is they are trying to clear up in the first place.

You have the right to remain silent - so speak with police carefully or consult with an attorney. Good luck.

The above is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice nor makes you a client of the Mosca Law Firm, PA. Please consult with a lawyer in order to obtain confidential legal advice that is tailored to your specific situation and facts.

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Posted

I just don't see how any category of data besides the phone records could be relevant. You should know that Florida is a two party consent state, which means that unless you consent, or the police have a warrant, nobody is allowed to record your calls. However, "Ping data" and call logs are readily available from phone companies with our without your cooperation. You should definitely have a good lawyer help you anytime you are dealing with (1) an intransigent insurance company or (2) the police. In this case a good lawyer is absolutely essential.

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1 comment

Christopher Robert Dillingham II

Christopher Robert Dillingham II

Posted

What the insurance companies are seeking is evidence of financial difficulties such as bankruptcies, divorces, and mechanical failure of the vehicle, so they will commonly ask for an extensive amount of financial information and obtain engine oil samples. Additionally, the police, under Florida's wiretaping statute, have an exception to the two-party rule that allows them to record conversations if one party consents to the law enforcement activity, so they will often use ex-girlfriends and ex-spouses, as well as other people involved in the matter to elicit incriminating statements that are admissible in court. If a client has any culpability in the matter, I would never advise him to cooperate with his insurance company since the insurer has a statutory duty to report the suspected fraud to the Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud. Plus, how much cooperation an insured party must provide is debatable if it is not delineated in the policy contract, and most policies do not go into such detail.