Auto theft claim denial cases appear much more complex than they are.
This is by design.
My general interpretation of an auto theft claim denial letter:
The insurance denial letter creates the understanding to the reader that due diligence was performed in the investigation of the claim.
In spite of how much we wanted to pay the claim, the facts would just not let us.
Policy holder was consistent with making late payments on vehicle.
Fact#2 The vehicle was recovered totally burned. Vehicles do not self-combust.
Fact#3 On inspection, the engine was found to have serious pre-exisisting problems with anti freeze found in the found in the engine oil.
Fact#4 This vehicle is equipped from the factory with a highly sophisticated anti-theft system requiring a specially electronic encrypted key to start the engine.
Fact#5 The policy holder had all keys in their possession.
Forensics was performed on this vehicle to confirm this vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type.
Because of these facts we cannot honor this claim because of misrepresented material fact.
Once an attorney reviews a letter like this, it is extremely common to assume that it is pretty much and open and shut case.
Attempting to defend the case would cost a lot of money because of the forensic findings of their expert. This appears to be highly technicial.
Even if you could retain a qualified consultant, it’s a crapshoot as to who the jury would believe.
Working on a contingency with all these areas that could go wrong could make the case extremely time consuming with no benefit. These are very serious considerations and should not be taken lightly.
Also keep in mind it is very common for the defense to try to transfer these cases to federal courts because the rumor is federal juries tend to favor corporations such as insurance companies.
What I have laid out here is the most common scenarios I see after being in this business for over 20 years.
You will find the case in which you are reviewing a common denial letter like I outlined.
You may feel like a fish out of water with a tremendous amount of risk of the unknown.
This is the reality. What are you going to do? Sure, you know the law well and are good a litigating, but this case is different because it is supported by forensic evidence and potential testimony. What do you do?
I would suggest contacting me, because the first problem attorneys have in these cases is assume that you are really dealing with forensics in these cases.
Forensic locksmithing has been nothing but a Con, a Scam for the last 15 years. Sure, that is my opinion, but different than the ignition forensics, it is all proven fact, not with technical jargon, but something as simple as common sense!
Forensic methodology as it applies to a reported stolen vehicle is use of the scientific method.
Theories are applied and ruled in or out in order to meet a scientific verifiabal conclusion.
This means, if another examiner examines the same evidence as the procedures applied by the insurance forensic examiner, the conclusion by the second examiner should be exactly the same.
That process is also known as peer review.
The very very first problem we run across it that these ignition/anti-theft exams are treated as secret.
Science is not secret and if the process used is secret, it’s simply not science or forensic!
Example: During the course of the investigation, the insured is commonly told they can contact an attorney anytime.
Yet, when it comes to the forensic examination of the vehicle, things take a different turn. The insured is told forensics will be performed on the vehicle. They are not given a time or date. They are not informed that they can hire their own forensic expert! No problem with an attorney, but if they are going to have strangers with a vested interest in the outcome of the claim rummaging through the vehicle with no one to watch them, that’s not OK.
I have been hired by the insured to be at the forensic examinations. Except for a few times, it hasn’t gone well.
It has been common to try to keep me far enough away in which I can’t see if they are taking and hiding evidence, adding evidence etc.
Look, I am not infering anything nefarious here, but remember, the carrier is their client and not the insured! The “independent” conclusions are going to favor their client!
Believe them because they are the forensic experts!
Microscopes are no longer used to determine the fine details of identifiable markings in the waters (tumblers) as compared to a specific key. That was simply too much time and effort to be applied. Juries don’t know any better! That reliable process got phased out around 2010-2012. Micro photos could be taken of the small lock components.
The process was replaced that missed half the detail, and now because photos of the small internal lock components could not be taken, we are left taking the experts word on what he said he observed. OK.
For the life of me, I cannot believe the courts let these guys testify to evidence they don’t have. Especially in criminal trials!
How can the examination be forensic? It can’t be replicated!
All these cases are intrinsic and there will always be different factors involved. So my services will always be needed for difference between these cases
Once the expert is taken out, the case falls apart. In my example of the denial letter, I took out 4 out of 5 so-called facts. You as the lawyer can take out their imagined motivation on the part of the insured.
Now, are you still worried about taking a denied auto theft claim supported by forensics?
Here is the root cause to these cases:
This is what stands in the way of insured’s being paid for their theft claims, and makes the difference between a clean record or conviction on auto theft claims/cases. This story has nothing to do with auto theft, but the junk science of forensics. The same junk science applied by insurance carrier vendors when determining the last key used in a reported stolen vehicle.
You may say “This sounds to complicated, stolen vehicles and forensics.” Do not fear!
I am here to tell you dealing with these claims/cases for over 25 years as an expert witness, I can assure you I have everything behind the claim/case down to a perfect science either serving as a consultant or an expert witness.
I have made these issues my mission in life, to have more knowledge than anyone on every aspect of these cases. I still do not know everything, but am constantly trying for that goal. I know in many cases what the opposing expert does not know from past performances. Unfortunately, they get free training from me when I call them out on their non-sense in these cases. The problem is they never seem to learn, or their past mistakes are brought to life.
Auto Theft Claim Denial Cases Are Very Common! The only problem from my experience nationwide over the years has been taking on a new client attorney who will say “This is the first case of this nature I have ever had.”
Of course these cases need you to perform your lawyerly skills, but they are different.
What makes them different? Unlike many cases out there they are built on a house of cards with a sand foundation in a wind storm!
The mechanics of these cases: These cases are built on the third party forensics the carrier contracted to examine the ignition, the keys and anti-theft system of a reported stolen vehicle. The purpose is for forensics to determine how the reported stolen vehicle was last driven before the theft. Commonly, it is asserted that the insured’s keys were used last implicating the insured with the theft. There by making it a fraudulent claim.
The carrier has great confidence in their forensic experts in this area, because uncontested, the insured or defendant loses.
After all, the courts are in awe of a Certified Forensic Locksmith or engineer title, which causes their credibility to soar! The main reason: Ignorance of everyone in the court on auto theft methodology and how forensics is supposed to interact! There is no comparison, so the expert’s methodology can’t be questioned as well as he conclusions.
Let’s throw a monkey wrench into this finely tuned process the carrier uses to control its costs by not paying the claim, or convicting the insured as well if the claim goes criminal.
I guide the client through every aspect of the claims investigation. These investigations for a manufactured motive can’t go forward without the forensic expert inferring the insured had the last key used. Without the report and conclusions, the investigation has no way to go forward.
Depending on the strategy of the attorney, we can take the expert out in deposition, or damage his credibility to the attorney’s specifications.
Personal attacks are not applied, however any previous reports by the expert can be compared to the case at hand for standardized examination methodology. Many of these experts nationwide, I have past depo and trial transcripts and reports.
Forensic locksmithing the way it has been applied over the last decade has not progressed, but digressed. These guys have gotten lazy. The only forensics applied is in the title they so willing us to impress the courts!
There is no one that has the training, background experience I do in auto theft and forensics!
Just a little about me:
I had a business that repaired theft recovered vehicles for 20 years. This means that while these experts were locksmithing, I was putting major puzzles together in the case of a full strip! Not only did I make keys and service locks, but serviced factory and after market security systems. In fact, I defeated the impossible to bypass transponder systems. Los Angeles “Greines v Ford.” In another LA case serving as an expert witness, I decimated the opposing expert in “McCoy v Progressive.”
In Fresno it was “Sidhu v Farmers.” Over 25 years serving as a consultant/expert witness, there are a large amount of cases our side prevailed on, not including all the cases we forced settlement without court intervention. I have about 20 published cases through Westlaw and other legal resources.
I authored the first 1,350 power point slide training course on auto theft and forensic examinations in 2001. The testing methodology was vetted by the FBI tool mark and firearms supervisor as well as the US Army Crime Lab in Georgia.
My first book I authored was in 1998 “Auto Theft-Let The Truth Be Known!” Even though it has been out of print for some time, sill listed on Amazon.
In essence, there is not a vehicle out there that I have not been able to illustrate to a jury as to how to steal without the insured’s keys! Better yet, in many cases forensics can not be ruled in or ruled out!
It gets worse for the opposition–Who have I recently worked for? A repossession company, where from the time the tow truck wheel lift touches a vehicle’s wheels, it can be as little as 30 seconds before the vehicle is mine!
Here is the part that can be approached in many ways:
Is your client looking for a quick settlement? That is entirely possible! I review the file and the forensic report on the vehicle and generate a report that you as the attorney can submit to the carrier and ask them if they really want to proceed forward? We never bluff!
Or, the case goes to deposition for the insurance personnel involved including their forensic expert. I supply the questions for the client attorney, and we eviscerate them!
Last but not least, I can be retained as a consultant/expert witness and make a fool out of the forensic expert illustrating to a jury, not only can the vehicle be stolen without the insured’s keys, but all the so-called forensics applied to the case was a scam. These ae not my opinions, but fact!
Low Cost Benefit: If I am serving as a consultant assisting the attorney, travel may not even be necessary! This is truly possible in cases for quick settlement without having to go through the court system.
I have had prosecutors very confident in their dealer expert call me and talk to me for a half hour and dismiss the case!
These auto theft insurance claim denials are based on the forensic expert they have. Take out the expert and there goes the case!
If you do not currently have an auto theft claim denial case, you may want to be proactive and attempt acquiring one or two. You may find these cases to be simple, but fun to do in which you as the plaintiff attorney control the outcome of the case with your consultant! Let your consultant do the work for you.
I am an expert on every level required on auto theft claim denial cases. I am also an expert on the experts. I know what they can and cannot prove. For years, their conclusions inferring the insured was involved have not been a fact, but a pure deception in my opinion by the use of semantics. These experts are not lying. They are just telling half truths. It works because no one in the court knows better, yet I have proved it time and time again for the past 25 years!
I also do failure analysis and crash analysis. Vehicle recalls like the GM ignition recall.
I had a fatality Chevrolet crash in which the air bags did not deploy. They did not deploy because of the GM ignition switch recall. Was the vehicle listed in the recall? No! I had to cross references the ignition lock and key design to find that it was in fact involved in the recall. I supplied a very extensive report including weather conditions, as well as using a like kind vehicle to test my theories. Everything matched what the on site crash investigator surmised over a year prior.
Insurance defense attorneys and prosecutors may feel left out here. Please don’t. I can assist you by reviewing your claim/case in order to head off any future liability issues by your forensic lock expert.
I work for anyone looking for the truth!
Copyright 2019. Rob Painter.