As the economy tries to recover, it’s likely that there will be a spike in criminal activity. After all, these are desperate times. Staged car accidents and pedestrian accidents are only some of the many scams that you could fall victim to, but what makes them particularly devious is that it’s difficult to tell them from actual car accidents.
There are more than six million car crashes in the U.S. every year, and this makes it difficult to weed out staged car accidents on a larger scale. It is, however, completely possible to protect yourself from these scams, but we first need to understand what staged car accidents are.
What Is a Staged Car Accident?
A staged car accident is a fraud scheme wherein criminals intentionally cause a car accident in order to blame you for being negligent and fraudulently receive compensation. A typical example of a staged car accident is when one or more motorists cause an accident that appears to be the victim’s fault. There are three general types of staged car accidents:
- The False Yield – In a false yield, another driver may motion for you to merge or to take a turn, only to speed up and veer into your direction at the last moment in order to cause a collision. The driver will then deny ever having motioned for you to merge or turn.
- Staged Read-End Accidents – This is similar to brake checking, except that the criminals intend to cause a rear-end accident. This is one of the more common staged car accidents because the driver in the tailing car is almost always held liable for the accident. The criminal may also have the passengers as accomplices to watch you for any signs of distraction, at which point, the criminal slams on their brakes.
- Sideswipes – Sideswipes occur at busy intersections wherein criminals will intentionally sideswipe your vehicle even when you’ve barely even entered his turn lane. Sometimes, criminals will even cross into your lane in order to sideswipe you and allege that it was you, instead, that crossed the lane.
After an accident, criminals will almost always claim to have sustained injuries, property damage, and may even present fake witnesses as a means to increase the compensation they are owed. Fortunately, there are many ways to protect yourself from this type of fraud. Most of these things are the standard things that you should do after a car accident except that there are special details that you need to pay attention to. Here’s how you can protect yourself:
After a car accident, it’s important to call the police immediately. If you’re able to, make sure that you take photos and videos of the accident. Take note of the names and their corresponding contact information of everyone involved, especially eyewitnesses. When the police arrive, it’s very important that you report any suspicious activity to them.
It’s also during these times that dashcam footage is extremely valuable, as this is strong evidence that can help reveal what really happened in the events leading up to the accident. If you think that you’ve been a victim of a staged car accident, make sure to tell the police as well.
Even if it’s mere speculation at this point, it’s important to express your suspicions so that it gets included on the police report. The importance of this is so that this matter will later be raised during court proceedings.
Be Vigilant for Signs of a Staged Car Accident
Since car accidents happen so often, it’s very difficult to determine if an accident was authentic or if it was orchestrated by criminals. A good way to determine this is by looking out for some details of your accident.
Some things you need to be on the look out for are people who show up suddenly right after the accident who would recommend that you engage the services of a particular towing company, mechanic, or even doctor. It’s highly likely that this person, as well as the people being recommended are accomplices to the scheme.
Additionally, look out for fake witnesses who will try to contradict your recollection of the accident. These are also details that you need to share with police officers when they arrive.
Undergo a Medical Examination
A medical examination is the best piece of documentation to use if you need to secure compensation for your injuries. This is also the best way to detect any underlying injuries that might threaten your life or well-being later on. In almost every case, early detection is the key to treating many dangerous conditions and injuries.
Get In Touch With Your Insurance Company
If you suspect that you’ve been a victim of a staged car accident, you need to contact your insurance company and inform them. This information will help them determine the best way to address the situation. While this will put them on their guard, it’s far better to be safe than sorry. This will not only help keep you safe, but it will also help protect other policyholders from the same scam.
Hire a Lawyer
Finally, it’s important to hire a lawyer to help you with your claim. Not only are lawyers trained and knowledgeable, but they also have tools and connections that they can leverage to help serve your case. Economic damage experts like the ones from The Knowles Group are particularly helpful during car accident lawsuits.
Insurance fraud is a crime and it can lead to jail time. However, this only occurs if the insurer decides to turn the criminals over to law enforcement. If you’ve been a victim of a staged car accident, it’s important that you pursue legal action against the perpetrators. The last thing we need during these difficult times are people who take advantage of others. Stay vigilant and stay informed, but most importantly, stay safe.