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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Staged Auto Accidents: Recognizing and Dealing With Them

It’s sad to say, but there actually are con artists out there who make a career out of preparing for, practicing and involving unsuspecting drivers in staged accidents. These folks often know a thing or two about what they’re doing, and they make sure that the driver of the other vehicle looks guilty. Fortunately, there are tell-tell signs that conscientious drivers can look for to protect themselves from this type of act.

Staged Auto Accident #1: The Wave

Typically, ‘the wave’ will take place in heavily trafficked areas. The scammer will ‘wave’ a fellow driver in front of them. That unsuspecting driver then maneuvers their vehicle in front of the waver. As soon as the unassuming driver is moving forward, the con artist will immediately blast into them. Once the police are called, the con artist will conveniently claim that they never gave the go ahead, and blame the accident on the faultless driver.

Staged Auto Accident #2: The T-Bone

The T-bone accident involves an innocent driver going through an intersection and a scheming driver gunning their car into the innocent driver’s side. False witnesses will then claim to police that the t-boned vehicle was speeding through the intersection, either running a red light or stop sign, and place them wrongfully in fault.

Staged Auto Accident #3: Endorsing Falsely

In this particular incident, the scam artist will provide a reference to a specific doctor, lawyer or mechanic shop claiming that they are the best of the best. In reality, the scammer and the professional party will be in cahoots together. The doctor may provide unneeded treatments. The mechanic may overcharge for services rendered, or the lawyer may push for a law suit.

Staged Auto Accident #4: The Swoop and Stop

An unsuspecting driver will have a con artist pull in front of his vehicle and then suddenly have them slam on their brakes. At the same instance, a second scammer’s vehicle will pull alongside the targeted car, which will effectively keep the driver from maneuvering into the other lane to avoid a collision.

Once this part of the scam is complete, the cons usually go to a chiropractor or physician who is in on the whole ordeal claiming soft tissue injuries such as whip lash. These sorts of injuries are notoriously difficult to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Meeting Auto Accident Scammers Head-On

It’s impossible to know who could be the next target of any of these staged auto accidents. However, there are ways to help protect oneself after the accident has happened.

  • Call the police, no matter how large or small the accident is.
  • Take photographs and in depth notes. Keep a camera, notepad and pen inside the console for just such instances.
  • Gather in depth information about the other driver and their passengers. Always obtain:

a. insurance information
b. driver’s license number
c. vehicle registration
d. name
e. address
f. phone numbers

  • Never offer cash upfront at the site of the crash. Go through the proper channels to settle matters of this magnitude.

There are lengths that some people will go to in order to make an extra buck that are shocking to the world at large. That’s why it’s important to not only be aware of staged auto accidents, but to know how to protect oneself should one be targeted by just such a scammer.

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