Auto accidents can be stressful and confusing experiences. Unfortunately, scammers count on this and know how to prey on a victim’s state of mind after a crash. Deceptive drivers may try to intentionally cause an accident so they can file fraudulent claims against another driver’s liability insurance.
Staged auto accidents are more common than you may realize. It puts innocent drivers at risk and contributes to higher insurance premiums. The Insurance Bureau of Canada reports insurance fraud costs Ontario drivers almost $1.6 billion per year.
Greg Monforton and Partners discuss how to recognize the signs of a staged auto accident and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of insurance fraud. An initial consultation with a Windsor vehicle crash lawyer is free so there is no risk to you. We do not get paid unless our clients get paid.
Call (866) 320-4770 for Legal Help Today.
Who Are Victims of Staged Auto Accidents?
A staged car crash is no accident. It is a huge source of fraudulent claims. Scammers have clever ways to cause accidents for big insurance payouts. They tend to target certain groups of individuals, such as:
- Women and the elderly (may seem easier to intimidate)
- Drivers of new or expensive vehicles (tend to have higher insurance limits)
- Drivers of semi-trucks and other work vehicles (claims are more lucrative)
Scammers understand how to make a victim appear negligent and responsible for a car crash. Victims of staged auto accidents may be stuck paying for damages they did not cause. This can also result in increased premiums. The consequences may not just be financial, but also physical and emotional.
A stage car crash can go terribly wrong and cause serious injuries and death – even if it was not the intent of the scammer to hurt anyone. Victims may also experience recurring trauma getting into a vehicle. They may fear that they cannot avoid an accident regardless of how careful they are.
Staged Car Crash Scenarios in Ontario
There are two types of staged car crashes. The first involves parties where everyone is in on the fraud. Scammers may recruit friends, family members or colleagues to participate as a way of making money.
The second involves innocent drivers unaware of what is happening to them. They are made to appear at fault for the car crash. Other times, the entire auto accident is staged and no one is an actual victim.
There are also different ways scammers will stage an auto accident so they can submit insurance claims for fake injuries and vehicle damage. It is important to be aware of these scenarios to try and stay safe.
The Swoop and Squat
One or more drivers may try to get you to rear-end their vehicle by suddenly slamming on the brakes. The “squat” vehicle gets in front of the victim’s vehicle. The “swoop” vehicle then gets in front of the “squat” vehicle and hits the brakes. The victim has no time to react to prevent a car crash.
The scammer may say the rear-end accident was your fault because you were driving too closely. This is why it is important to keep a safe following distance.
The Drive Down or Wave
This occurs when a victim is pulling out of a parking spot. A driver traveling by waves for the victim to go ahead and back up. As the victim starts to reverse, the waving driver accelerates and hits the vehicle.
The scammer may deny waving and claim that you caused the accident because you failed to make sure traffic was clear. This can also happen when a driver waves you to merge ahead of them into traffic.
The Bullet Left Turn
In this scenario, a driver gives the go-ahead to the victim with the wave of the hand or some other gesture to make a left turn. It is a scam that is often done at intersections. As the unsuspecting victim makes his or her turn, the driver makes a sudden move forward and hits the victim’s vehicle.
The scammer may deny giving you the go-ahead. He or she may say you were at fault for the accident because you violated the right of way.
Warning Signs of a Staged Auto Accident
Most staged auto accidents happen so quickly that there are not usually any avoidable signs to look out for. However, a driver’s behavior after the car crash may signal to you that things are not quite right.
For instance, there are suddenly several witnesses to the accident scene and all of them support the other driver’s version of events. There may also be multiple passengers in the other vehicle. These passengers may initially say they are fine, but then complain they are injured when the police get there.
Another warning sign is the other driver asking you not to call the authorities. They may try to offer you cash at the accident scene. If you accept the offer, it can make it harder to file a claim for compensation.
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario also recommends being suspicious of any referrals given at the accident scene. The driver may recommend a particular repair shop or health care provider to go to.
Do not go against your better judgment. If anything seems off, you may be right.
Handling a Car Crash That Was Likely Staged
If you believe you have been the victim of a staged auto accident, be sure to:
- Take photos of the accident scene without any confrontation
- Write down and exchange information with the driver(s) involved
- Record information about passengers in the other vehicles
- Let the police and your insurer know if you think the accident was staged
- Reach out to an experienced lawyer who can advocate for your rights
Call Our Legal Team for Help After a Car Crash
Our firm has a proven track record of recovering just compensation for car crash victims. We have obtained $300 million on our clients’ behalf over four decades.
Call our Windsor office to schedule a free initial consultation to learn how we could assist you. There are zero upfront fees for our services.
Available 24/7 to take Your Call: (866) 320-4770