Beware of Staged Auto-Car Accidents

Beware of Staged autocar Accidents

Set-up car accidents can range from vehicles deliberately stopping in front of a driver to cause a rear-end car accident to drivers who pretend they are being helpful but intend to cause a car accident that will look like the innocent drivers fault. Scams can also involve people one would generally trust such as doctors and lawyers.

First, it is important to know what types of insurance scams are used. There are many types of car insurance scams.

  • If you’ve been hit from the rear – it’s the other person’s fault: A scam driver will quickly get in front of an innocent car and then slam on their brakes. This causes the innocent driver to rear-end the scam driver. Often the suspect car has passengers who pretend to have painful back or neck injuries, even though the collision was at low speed.
  • Adding Damage: After an accident, either staged or not, the scam driver will go to another location and cause extensive damage to their vehicle and claim that the damage happened during the original accident.
Staged car Accidents
  • The Pitfall: You’re trying to merge into traffic, and a dishonest driver slows down and waves you forward. He then crashes into your car, but denies waving you into traffic and blames the accident on you. Malevolent drivers may also wave you out of a parking space with the same way and lure you into the pit.
  • Mr. Nice of the street: Fake helpers try to scam people is by offering to help an innocent driver find a auto repair shop, doctor, or lawyer. In this case, everyone is in on the scam. The body shop charges you enormous rates; the doctor and lawyer also lie to collect more from your insurance.

Some ways to stay safe from Accident Fraud:

  • Just don’t tailgate. Allow plenty of space between your car and the car ahead of you. This will give you ample time to stop if the lead car suddenly jams on its brakes.
  • Keep an eye. Many people may file claims that were not even in the car! Or present at the time of the accident. So, count how many passengers were in the other car if you’re in a collision. Get their names, phone numbers and driver’s license and the car’s license plate number, in order to know where the car belongs to.
  • Prima donas. Many people tend to give away if they are genuinely injured or are faking an accident by the way they behave infront of you and in comparison in front of the police. So, keep an eye on how the passengers of the other car behave.
  • Always keep medical records. Certificates and other careful records of your medical treatments, dates, treatments given, and diagnoses should be present. Compare your records against the statements you receive to make sure the bill wasn’t padded or treatments absolute fictitious.
  • Take pictures of the other car. the damage it received, and the passengers. It is a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment, and even if that’s not available, there’s always your cellphone.
  • Call the police. If the police report notes just a small dent or scratch, it’ll be harder for crooks to later claim serious injuries or car damage. So, call the police to the scene. Get a police report with the officer’s name, even for minor accidents.
  • No fake helpers. Only see medical and legal providers you know and trust, or at least ones that are recommended by people you trust. Contact your state insurance fraud bureau if a stranger tries to steer you to an unknown body shop, doctor, chiropractor or lawyer. They very well may be luring you into the scam.

What is a ‘Staged’ car Accident?

It’s not as rare as you may think: another driver purposefully causes an accident involving your vehicle, in an attempt to bilk the insurance company (or you).

Some car accidents aren’t actually accidents at all, but premeditated incidents that are used as the basis for fake car accident injuries and fraudulent car insurance claims. But what exactly is a “staged” car accident, and how can you protect yourself?

What Is a “Staged” car Accident?

Staged accidents are usually considered a type of car insurance fraud. In the typical staged accident scenario, one or more drivers (or even pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists) intentionally cause a crash that would initially appear to be the fault of an unsuspecting driver (the one person who is not “in on” the scam).

Next, the people who staged the accident make claims based on their (usually bogus) injuries and their vehicle damage.

Staged accidents will usually involve at least one of the following:

  • a faked crash
  • faked injuries
  • fake accident reports
  • fake witnesses, or
  • fake victims.

Whatever the details, perpetrators of staged car accidents try to use them as a basis for filing car insurance claims (either through their own insurer or with the insurer of the unsuspecting victim) or even a personal injury lawsuit in an effort to make money.

Types of Staged car Accidents

Most staged car accidents involve the perpetrating driver maneuvering in a way that causes an accident with an unsuspecting driver. Importantly (and unfairly), at first glance, the circumstances of the crash will be such that the unsuspecting driver appears to be at fault for the car accident.

Let’s look at some of the most common types of staged car accidents.

The Swoop and Squat

This type of three-vehicle staged accident usually involves perpetrating driver #1 quickly pulling in front of you and “squatting” just before perpetrating driver #2 “swoops” in front of perpetrating driver #1 and slams on his/her brakes, causing the “squatting” vehicle (perpetrating driver #1) to stop so suddenly that you rear-end it. The front-most vehicle (perpetrating driver #2) then leaves the scene, making the incident look like a simple rear-end accident caused by you, the unsuspecting driver.

The Brake Slam/Panic Stop

This type of staged accident is very similar to the “swoop and squat.” In the “brake slam,” a vehicle traveling in front of you has at least one passenger who is keeping his/her eyes on you, waiting for you to take your eyes off the road. As soon as you do, the vehicle in front of you slams on the brakes, and you rear-end it.

The Start-and-Stop

The “start and stop” is usually staged in heavy traffic. The vehicle in front you starts to accelerate with the flow of traffic, so you start to accelerate too. But then the vehicle in front of you suddenly slams on its brakes, causing a rear-end collision.

The Wave-In

This type of staged accident is particularly underhanded, as the dishonest driver actually waves you forward and then deliberately impacts your car. This tactic is most is often employed where cars are merging, or in a parking lot. The other driver will simply deny ever having waved you forward, and will place blame for the accident on your apparent carelessness.

Beware the “Shady Helper”

One of the strongest indicators of a staged car accident is the appearance of a so-called “shady helper.”

A shady helper is someone who approaches you at the scene of a car accident– often before you’ve even been able to call for assistance — and refers you to a specific tow company, repair shop, medical professional, or lawyer.

These shady helpers try to take advantage of your vulnerable situation and convince you to use services that are overpriced and that are complicit in the scam. The towing and repair services may inflate their prices, while the referred physicians or lawyers may push for you to file a personal injury lawsuit despite a lack of genuine injury. You should always be cautious of strangers who approach you at the scene of an accident and offer unsolicited “help.”

Staged car Accidents: Protecting Yourself

After a car accident, be sure to have a pen, paper and phone-camera handy so you can take notes and photos at the scene. Take down as much information as you can, including the names, addresses and driver’s license numbers of the other driver and any passengers, all vehicle and insurance information, physical descriptions of the driver and passengers and the names and contact information of any witnesses. Also take note of anything the other driver and passengers, say and how they behave after the accident. Take photos of the scene and of both vehicles from every angle.

You should also call the police to the scene of the accident, so that a police report can be generated, especially if you suspect your accident was staged. And when you report the accident to your car insurance company, make sure you convey your suspicions and provide your agent with all relevant details related to the accident. Finally, as with any car accident, be careful what you say to the other driver’s car insurance company.