Legal Question in Insurance Law in Florida

Hi I live in Australia, and was involved in a motor accident involving one vehicle colliding into a tree.... The insurer investigated the circumstances surrounding the claim... They rejected the claim and cancelled the policy alleging it was fraudulent. The policy holder was my girlfriend, and I was the driver, in their letter they stated that the insured lied to them when making the claim, about her address, however the insured when lodging the claim gave them the address on the policy... 2 hours later she was informed that the claim was under investigation so she called them and said that she has just moved to a new address 3-4 weeks ago... They say she lied and thats why they are canceling the policy... As for the damage the driver collided into the tree, the insurer got a forensic engineer to assess the damage and in his report he said that the accident could not have happened at that location because the underside of the vehicle had to have hit a low lying tree stump and since there was no stump the driver is also lying and therefore we made a false statement and denied the claim... and cancelled the policy .. My augment is can they rely on the forensic evidence to hold greater force against the driver who was there? Can they cancel an insureds policy because she gave them her address on the policy then called back 2 hours later to update to her new address. If anyone can give me a little bit of advise I would appreciate it.. I have written a 10 page letter outlining the areas they are in breach of the insurance contracts act, but I have not sent it yet. I don’t mind paying for it......

The following is a list of reasons why they denied the claim and cancelled the policy.

Comment Point ( 1) The front of the Mazda could not have impacted a tree which was vertical as damage was identified below the front passenger headlight. The passenger headlight and bonnet were relatively undamaged. If the front passenger side had impacted a standing tree, the headlight and bonnet would be expected to be damaged.

Comment Point ( 2 ) The damage to the front passenger side of the vehicle, without damaging the passenger side headlight and bonnet is consistent with an impact to a low narrow object, for example a tree stump which was not identified at the collision scene. Broken glass was identified at the scene but there was no low, narrow object in the vicinity of the area

Comment Point ( 3 ) Green Paint transfer marks and what appeared to be black plastic or rubber marks were found on the b-pillar on the passenger side of the Mazda. The paint transfer marks do not appear to be consistent with the collision scene.

Comment Point ( 4 ) Mr Rizk advised RACT Insurance, that he does not think he has previously driven on Summerleas Road ever in his in his life. Rizkallah also advised that he used to live at either No: 4 or 6 Carissa Court, Kingston which is only accessible off Summerleas Road.

Comment Point ( 5 ) Mr Rizk advised RACT Insurance that he did not contact anyone when he had the accident. Rizkallah’s phone records show that he made a call to Anwar Chakti. When Questioned Mr Chakti advised RACT Insurance that Rizkallah did contact him when he had the accident.

Comment Point ( 6 ) Mr Rizk advised RACT Insurance that he lived at lower longley, but was unsure of the address. Mr Rizk then called back to advise this was not correct and that he was living with a friend at 14 Terrina Street, Lauderdale. Mr Rizk called back to advise that in fact he was living with you on the Gold Coast. You also contacted RACT Insurance to advise you had not been truthful in relation to your address.

Comment Point ( 7 ) Unfortunately we are unable to accept your claim as you and the driver covered by this policy have not been truthful accurate and frank in relation to statements you have made in connection with the claim. This exclusion is outlined on page 64 of the vehicle insurance product discloser statement and appears as follows.

We may refuse a claim and cancel your policy if:

(a) you are not truthful, accurate and frank in any statement you make in connection with a claim.

The damage to your property falls under this exclusion and your claim is therefore declined.

Comment Point ( 8 )“We believe that you have not been truthful when lodging your insurance claim to obtain a financial advantage from RACT Insurance. Accordingly, we advise that as this claim has been made fraudulently we are exercising our rights under section 60:1 of the Insurance Contract act 1984 to cancel your contract of insurance with effect from 01/03/2013 at 4.00 pm.”

I also had a previous claim around 5 years ago... I collided into the rear end of Mr Anwar Chakti who was my friend and made a claim.. our vehicle was a total loss, and they paid him to fix his car and some damage to his boat... We were fishing together. and on our way home he applied the brakes, I could not stop in time.. My girlfriend lodged a claim, and they accepted it .. The girlfriend was never asked if the driver ( third party was known to us ( if they did she would have answered yes he was a friend... I believe they are assuming that because of Rizkallah relationship to Mr Chakti we are deliberately staging accidents and this is why they are aggressive in the assessment of the claim. I want to fight them all the way. I just need an idea if I have a legal right to do so.

Asked on 8/01/13, 5:33 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

J. P. Gonzalez-Sirgo J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.
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If your case is in South Florida, we may be able to help. Call my office at (305) 461-1095.

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8/01/13, 3:26 pm

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