Staged car accidents are more common than you may think in San Diego and Southern California. These crashes are a type of insurance fraud. If you are a victim of a staged crash, you need to know what to do to protect yourself from a bogus claim being filed against you. A San Diego car accident lawyer can help you protect your right to compensation for any injuries and property damages you may have suffered.
Types of Staged Auto Crashes
A staged car collision is one where one or more motorists intentionally cause the wreck in order to file a claim with the real victim’s insurance company. They make it appear that the innocent mark was the negligent driver.
It is important to understand the types of staged car accidents so you know if you are in one. The common techniques scammers use include:
In a T-bone staged accident, a driver would wait for another vehicle to pass at an intersection, and then they would accelerate and hit the side of the victim’s car. There is usually a witness involved in the scam who would claim that the innocent motorist ran a red light or stop sign.
Swoop and Stop
In this type of collision, two scammers would be involved. One would pull in front of the mark’s vehicle and would squat to allow the second criminal to pull in front of them quickly. The first driver slams on their brakes and forces the intended victim to cause a rear-end collision.
A wave-in or drive-down accident occurs when vehicles are merging. The scammer would wait for someone who is trying to merge into their lane and wave them in. Then, they would accelerate and purposely strike the victim’s car. They would claim that the mark made an unsafe lane change.
In this scenario, the scammer would be driving in front of the victim. They would have a passenger in their vehicle watching for the mark to take their eyes off the road. As soon as the innocent motorist does this, the driver in front slams on their brakes, making it look like the victim caused the rear-end collision.
Start-and-stop crashes usually occur in heavy traffic. The dishonest motorist would accelerate with the flow of traffic, which would make the victim accelerate, too. But then the scammer would suddenly slam on their brakes and cause the innocent driver to rear-end them.
What to Do to Protect Yourself in a Staged Car Crash
If you suspect you were the victim of a staged auto accident, you must take immediate steps to protect yourself from a fraudulent claim being filed with your insurance company and protect your right to damages if you were hurt or your property was damaged. Here are some of the important first actions you should take:
- Get medical care. You should seek immediate medical care if you know you were injured. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, you need to be examined by a doctor within 48 hours in case you suffer a hidden injury.
- Call the police. Contact the police right away. An officer will investigate the collision scene and write a police report that may help you prove that the scammer was the negligent driver who caused the accident.
- Obtain contact information. Obtain the contact information for any drivers and passengers and the insurance information for anybody involved in the crash.
- Identify witnesses. If any witnesses saw your accident as it occurred, get their contact information and statements. They can help corroborate that you were the victim of a staged auto crash.
- Take pictures. Use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, the crash scene, your injuries, and anything else that can help you establish how your collision occurred.
- Hire a lawyer. You should retain an experienced auto accident lawyer immediately. They can advise you on your rights and how to protect yourself against a fraudulent claim. They can also file your claim and help you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.