Scammers of all sorts exist, including those who stage auto accidents. These individuals file fraudulent claims against an unsuspecting driver’s liability insurance. The real victim is left with medical bills, vehicle repairs and higher insurance premiums as a result.
If you suspect a scammer staged your accident, you may need professional legal advice to protect your rights and help you recover the compensation you need.
Our licensed auto accident attorneys in Fort Worth are prepared to help with your claim. With over 50 years of combined experience, our lawyers know what steps to take to protect your claim.
What is a Staged Car Accident?
A staged car accident is one that is intentionally caused by a driver who makes it look like the collision is someone else’s fault. All the details of the accident, from the supposed victim’s injuries to the witnesses, are false.
People who stage auto accidents do so to scam insurance companies out of money by filing a fraudulent claim. These scammers hope the actual victim of the collision does not put up a fight.
Staged auto accidents are illegal. Anyone caught committing insurance fraud in Texas could face serious legal consequences, including felony charges and up to $300,000 in fines.
What Are the Different Types of Staged Accidents?
There are several types of staged auto accidents. Each one more elaborate than the next, but all are equally damaging. The most common types of staged accidents include:
- T-bone collision – A scammer waits until an unsuspecting driver crosses into an intersection and then accelerates to deliberately crash his or her vehicle into the side of the victim’s. The result is a side-impact collision. Scammers usually have fake witnesses who will all claim the “at-fault driver” ran a red light, stop sign or violated the scammer’s right-of-way.
- Swoop and squat – One or more vehicles move to box in the targeted victim. Then the driver of a third vehicle swoops in front of the boxed-in car and slams on the brakes, causing a rear-end collision. The vehicles that boxed in the actual victim will then drive away, making it look like a legitimate crash.
- Wave-in – The scammer waves an unsuspecting driver into a lane or intersection and then purposely slams his or her vehicle into it. The scammer then denies ever waving to the driver of the victim’s vehicle. Instead, the scammer will claim he or she was cut off by the victim, making the crash unavoidable.
- Start-and-stop – These staged accidents are more common in heavier traffic. They occur when one vehicle accelerates, encouraging the targeted vehicle behind them to do the same. If the victim accelerates, the scammer abruptly slams on the brakes, causing the victim to rear-end the scammer.
There are many more ways a staged accident could play out. Scammers are constantly looking for a way to game the system at the expense of unsuspecting victims.
What Are the Signs of a Staged Accident?
Knowing what to look for if you think an accident was staged is important. Here are some telltale signs indicating an accident may have been orchestrated by a scammer:
- The “victim” asks you for cash
- The “victim” does not want to get the police involved
- “Witnesses” immediately rush to the scene to backup the other driver’s story
Although carpooling is common, if there are several people in the vehicle you suspect of staging the accident, it could be a red flag.
What Steps Should I Take If I Believe I Am the Victim of a Staged Accident?
If you believe you are the victim of a staged accident, the first thing to remember is to stay calm. There is no need to get into an altercation with the other driver as it could risk escalating the situation.
It is also crucial that you call the police. No matter how much the other party tries to convince you otherwise, or how much it may appear that you caused the collision, call 9-1-1. Once the police arrive you can calmly explain to the responding officer your suspicions to ensure it is noted for the record.
Try and gather as much evidence at the scene as possible as well. Take photos with your phone and try to talk to any witnesses you believe may be able to back up your version of events. Also, get the contact and insurance information of the other driver.
Most importantly, talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
Call Us Today
Our knowledgeable attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience and are prepared to discuss your claim during a free consultation.
At Anderson & Cummings, we do not charge you anything up front and there are no fees unless we win.
Call (817) 920-9000 to schedule a free consultation today.