The Louisiana State Police announced the arrest of six New Orleans residents and one resident of Hammond, Louisiana this week in connection with an accident staging and insurance fraud ring involving rented U-Haul vehicles.
In the first accident, Hayward Howard is alleged to have backed a rented U-Haul truck into a vehicle owned by Jasmine Howard and occupied by Dante Carter and Eddie Ellis. All occupants filed claims for damages and injuries. In the second crash, Hayward Howard is alleged to have purposely driven a rented U-Haul truck into a vehicle owned by Ellis and occupied by Jasmine Hayward, Carter, Jodie Davis and Neichell Raymond. All defendants have been charged with insurance fraud and other charges.
Rental car and truck companies are often the victims of such schemes. For a relatively cheap rental price, the perpetrator can gain access to vehicles that have no ownership or accident history tied to them. Often the renter will elect to take out the supplemental liability insurance offered by the rental company, which provides for much higher insurance coverage limits. This supplemental liability insurance is rarely taken out on local rentals, so election of this coverage is a possible indicator of potential fraud.
Often accident staging rings involve multiple occupants in the target vehicle, with all asserting personal injury claims. Claims that meet these criteria should be investigated carefully, including background and social media checks on all individuals involved.