How to Spot a Staged Car Accident

Getting into a collision can be a traumatizing experience, especially if someone gets injured. As serious as these situations are, scam artists around the country aren’t above staging car accidents in order to cheat insurance companies out of money. According to a National Insurance Crime Bureau report released in January 2013 they found that of the 13,000 insurance claims they investigated 34% were actually due to “staged/caused accidents”.


The Costs of Staged Car Accidents

Why would someone purposely cause an accident? Money. Scam artists can reap financial rewards by:

·      Making inflated car damage claims against your insurance company

·      Making inflated car damage claims against their insurance company

·      Faking injuries to receive money from insurance companies

·      Filing lawsuits against the actual victims

In the end the not only does it cost the insurance companies it also costs to guiltless driver. You can kiss your clean driving record good-bye, which will likely lead to higher Texas auto insurance premiums. You’ll also have to deal with handling car repairs, insurance claims and possible legal fees if a lawsuit occurs.

These scams aren’t just fraudulent they are dangerous and sometimes organized by sophisticated crime rings that tempt fate by repeatedly causing accidents. There have been numerous instances where people have been hurt or killed because of a staged car accident. A famous case occurred just a few years ago in Los Angeles when a family of three, including a 2-year old, was killed.

Signs That a Car Accident May Have Been Staged

Scam artists have an arsenal of tricks to cause fender benders that will do significant damage but not put themselves in more risk than what’s necessary. Here are some of the most common types of staged car accidents.

Quick Lane Change and Brake – This is when the scammer quickly changes lanes then once they’re in front of you the slam on the brakes causing a rear end collision. Sometimes scammers will work in unison using two cars, one to swoop in front while another car pulls up beside you making it impossible to change lanes.

Friendly Wave In Then Wreck – The wave in commonly occurs when there are traffic lane merges. They’ll wave you in then as soon as you get close they’ll purposely crashes into you. Of course, they’ll deny that they ever gave you the okay to merge in.

Dual Turn Swideswipe – When there is a dual turn and you are in the inner lane even the slightest drift into the outer lane is reason enough for a scammer to ram into you, blaming you for hitting them.

Intersection T-bone – These staged car accidents typically happen at low traffic intersections. The scammer waits for you to pull through the intersection then floors it, t-boning you in the process. Often “witnesses” show up stating that they saw you run the stop sign or light.

The Classic Brake Slam – The scammer will get in front of you then wait until they see that you’re distracted. Once you are they will slam on their brakes causing a rear end collision.


Are You a Prime Target for a Staged Car Accident?

Scam artists don’t usually pick their victims at random. These criminals look for people that are more likely to have insurance and good insurance at that. People who drive luxury vehicles, new cars, big rigs or work vehicles are prime targets.

Who you are can also make a difference. Scam artists will prey on drivers that they think they are less likely to get in a confrontation with or that they can intimidate. Women and the elderly are often the victim of choice say some investigators.

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