Be Informed; Don’t Get “Staged”

To our readers: We read this story online and thought we would pass it along. It’s good information for any driver to know and be aware of.

By Barbara Marquand | Insure.com

Accidents happen, but some car crashes are by design. Orchestrated by sophisticated criminal networks, staged “accidents” bilk car insurance companies out of billions of dollars, with consumers paying the ultimate price in higher premiums.

They work like this: You’re driving along innocently when a car comes out of nowhere, and wham! Before you know what hit you, passengers pile out of other cars complaining of injuries. Strangers urge you to visit a certain clinic or lawyer. Witnesses conveniently appear. And finally the other driver and passengers file large damage and/or injury insurance claims against you for thousands of dollars.

“The money in fake injury claims can be so lucrative, it’s hard for organized crime to pass up,” says James Quiggle, spokesperson for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud in Washington, D.C. Auto insurance fraud is big business.

Crooks tend to single out elderly people, women who are alone and drivers of nice cars. So how can you tell if you’ve been in a staged crash?

Here are five red flags:

1. Sudden stops. The “swoop and squat” is the most common staged crash tactic, according to the California Department of Insurance. Traffic flows along smoothly. A car pulls up beside you, so you can’t change lanes. Then the driver in front of you slams on the brakes, causing a rear-end collision.

2. A car comes out of nowhere at an intersection. Swindlers use a couple of different tactics to take advantage of you at intersections. A driver might motion you forward and then slam into you, claiming he never gave you the signal. Or a driver motions you forward to make a left turn in front of his car. But then as soon as you enter the intersection, he pulls forward, blocking your way, and another car crashes into you. The “right-turn drive down” tactic happens when you try to make a right turn from a stop sign. A car parked at the curb accelerates forward and hits the rear corner of your car. The driver says you ran the stop sign or pulled in front of him.

3. Pressure to go to certain clinics or attorneys. “Runners” and “cappers” show up at the accident scene and urge you to go to clinics or attorneys that are actually fraudulent. Some criminal rings also send people to real accidents to persuade victims to go to their crooked medical and legal professionals.

4. Suddenly, lots of passengers. “Jump-ins” happen when people suddenly appear and jump into other cars, claiming they were passengers. You should also be suspicious if the other driver and passengers say they’re injured, despite minor damage to the vehicles.

5. Phony witnesses. You should be suspicious when a witness conveniently appears and backs up everything the other driver says.

Editor’s Note: If you ever find yourself to be a victim of a car accident that looks to be staged, call the experienced lawyers at Vassar Law Firm. Our battle-tested attorneys will fight for you.

Call us today at (800) 522-9443 for your free consultation.

 

 

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