There is nothing worse than getting into a bad car accident. These crashes can hurt you and the drivers and passengers in all the cars involved. Because car crashes can be such a traumatic experience, we never imagine that other people would deliberately cause an accident or stage a car crash. Unfortunately, immoral and dishonest scammers stage car crashes on a regular basis in order to try to bilk you and your insurance out of money. In recent years, these scams have grown in popularity, because they can be so difficult to expose.
Often these crooks will cause a relatively small car accident or even a fender bender, but then claim huge injuries and over-the-top damages. Sometimes they even will corroborate their false story with several convenient witnesses that come out of the woodwork and other shady helpers who work to pin the blame on you. Even worse, they may later claim injuries for passengers originally not in the car at all.
There are four common types of staged accidents:
- The T-Bone Accident – At a four way stop or another intersection, the scammer will wait until you take your legal turn to go through the intersection and then quickly pull forward to t-bone your car. They then will get planted witnesses to claim that you ran the light or stop sign when the police arrive.
- The Swoop and Squat – A car merges in front of you or suddenly pulls ahead of you and then slams on the brakes to cause a rear-end collision. They then claim huge injuries despite a usually low speed crash.
- The Drive Down – When you are trying to merge in traffic or change lanes, another driver waves you into their lane. Once you start to change lanes, they deliberately speed up and cause a car accident. They then blame you for merging in an unsafe manner and ignoring right-of-way.
- The Sideswipe – When you are in the inner lane of a dual left-turn lane at a busy intersection, the other driver will intentionally sideswipe you when you slightly drift into the other turning path.
How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Staged Car Accident Scam
All of these accidents could be manipulated into seeming like your fault, but they are actually scams. On top of that, they can leave you with severe injuries. While it can be challenging to fight back against these types of scams, there are steps you can take to try and avoid these situations entirely or at least expose any scams perpetrated. The following tips will help you avoid becoming a victim of a staged accident.
- Never tailgate. While it may be impossible to avoid some of these scammers, you have a much better chance of avoiding a car crash when there is plenty of space between you and other drivers.
- Stay aware of your surroundings. If you are multitasking while driving, you are opening yourself up to missing any warning signs that a staged accident is about to happen. Focus on the road.
- Don’t only look at the car ahead of you; also pay attention to drivers several cars ahead. It will give you better perspective on any shady dealings of the cars around you.
- Don’t always take other drivers at their friendly gestures. If a driver seems over-eager to help you out and let you in their lane, it’s ok to be suspicious. Trust your instincts and avoid situations that could get you in trouble.
- Always call police to the scene of a car accident. If you are the victim of a scam, police may be able to help expose the other driver. Make sure to get a police report with the officer’s name, even for minor damages. A police report will make it much harder for the other driver to later claim huge damages when only a small scratch was visible at the scene of the accident.
- Take notes, video, and pictures of everything at the scene of the accident. You will have a much better chance of exposing any trickery if you can back up your claims with evidence. Voice any concerns about or inconsistencies with the other person’s side of the story. Especially note how many passengers were in the car and how they acted before the arrival of police.
- Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns about a scam. If you have evidence that the other driver is a criminal staging an accident, tell law enforcement and your insurance company. Even if they don’t believe you off the bat, it is easier to tell your side of the story early on rather than much later.
- Never settle an accident with cash on the scene. This is a common scammer trick. Either they disappear with your money and leave you stuck footing the bill, or even worse, they use your cash payment of evidence of your guilt and claim even bigger damages later.
- Never let a stranger pressure you into seeing a medical professional, body shop, tow service, or lawyer that you do not know and trust. Often these scammers join up with phony professionals to get even more money out of you.
- Keep thorough records of any treatments or damages you receive. That way you have a chance to recover your real damages once the scam is exposed.
While you cannot totally avoid a scammer’s tricks, you can do all of these things to limit your exposure. If you feel that you have been the victim of a staged car accident, speak up. An experienced Chicago accident attorney will be able to help you prove your side of the case. Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. Call the Chicago accident lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 today to see how we can help you get the justice you deserve.