If you’ve ever been involved in a car accident, you know it is among the most traumatic and dangerous events that can happen to you. On top of that, car accidents are expensive, often causing personal injury and property damage.
When you’ve been involved in a car crash, you need to spend your time focused on recovery and getting your life back to normal not wondering if the auto accident you are involved in was a complete and total scam, a set up to trap you and take advantage of you.
Automobile Insurance Fraud
It is important for you to protect your family to be aware of automobile insurance fraud. If you become a victim of an accident and subsequent fraud, you may not only find yourself recovering from an accident and the damages caused by it, but also paying the higher insurance premiums which come from a costly insurance claim. Learning more about automobile insurance fraud can give you an extra measure of protection when you are involved in an accident.
Ever since the advent of insurance, there has been insurance fraud. The practice of insurance scam can be traced to Ancient Greece where ship scuttling was a common scam. Next, insurance fraud made its way to England and then on to the Americas. After the invention of automobiles, insurance fraud in relation to car accidents became prevalent.
Today auto accident scams come in many forms, often perpetrated by criminal organizations as well as individuals who use the latest technology to avoid detection. The more you know about auto accident scams and insurance fraud, the easier it is for you to become a victim of the practice.
Types of Auto Accident Insurance Scams
Limited only by the imagination of the criminals committing the insurance scams, set-up car accidents come in a variety of forms. These car accident set-ups range from vehicles stopping deliberately in front of an oncoming driver to cause a rear-end collision.
In other instances, drivers may appear to be helpful, such as waving you into traffic only to T-bone you as you pull out. The scammer then proceeds to blame and frame you for fault, despite you being the innocent victim. Other scams involve a group of individuals (shady doctors and lawyers) who you would normally be able to trust to perpetrate the claims of the scammer of terrible injuries and excessive damage.
Let’s explore the types of automobile accident scams in detail:
- The Staged Rear-End Collision aka The Swoop and Squat Scam – The scheming driver running this scam will quickly move ahead of an unsuspecting driver and proceed to put on the brakes unexpectedly. The innocent driver, then rear-ends the scam driver. The scammer, in turn, fakes medical injuries, collecting money not only for the damages to his or her vehicle but also for phony medical injuries.
- The Additional Damages Scam – This scam scenario may involve staging or may not. Here the scam driver will leave the scene of the accident, go to a new location and cause further damage to his or her vehicle, later claiming it was all part of the original accident in order to collect a larger settlement.
- The Sideswipe Accident Scam – Nearly always staged, this scam occurs if you accidentally stray into the other driver’s lane, at which point the scam driver sideswipes you, blaming the incident on you. It is most often carried out at an intersection where multiple turn lanes cause you, the innocent driver, to overcompensate and go wide. The scammer hits your car and you are at fault because your vehicle veered slightly out of your lane.
- The Wave aka The Drive Down – This scam features a driver who has the right-of-way but “waves” you ahead. You accept the kind gesture, proceed into traffic or a prime parking spot, only to have the scammer accelerate and slam into your car. When the authorities come on the scene, the scammer denies every having waved you ahead, and points the finger at you being at fault.
- The Shady Helpers Scam – In this scam scenario, which is often used in conjunction with one of the other auto accident scams, involves “helpers or actors” who offer to help the innocent driver to find the best repair shop, attorney, or physician, after stopping to “help” at the scene of the accident. Everyone, including the scam driver, is in on the con, and all collect, from the insurance company or from the exorbitant rates they charge for repairs, medical care, or legal advice. Another scenario in which the “shady helpers” profit is by filing fraudulent insurance claims without your knowledge.
- The Towing Scam – If a tow truck suddenly appears at the scene of your accident offering assistance before you’ve had time to call for help, you may be about to become the victim of the towing scam. Often the rates offered for the tow are enormous. Always request proper documentation before accepting a tow you didn’t call.
Avoiding Auto Accident Scams
Scams can be hard to detect, but if you remain alert and aware, you can stay better prepared. Always be on the lookout for drivers who may be following you and always leave plenty of room between yourself and other drivers. Many scams can be avoided by always following the road right-of-way rules, even in the event of a “wave.” A dash cam can also help in the event of an auto accident scam.
If an accident does occur, take pictures of the incident as evidence, recording the damages to all involved vehicles. Take notes on what happened prior to the crash, as well as after, and get the necessary contact information from the other driver. Always, only discuss the details of the accident with the police on the scene, your insurance company, and your attorney. You can avoid becoming the victim of a scam by staying aware and alert of other drivers while on the road.
Call on the San Luis Obispo Auto Accident Attorneys to Help
At James McKiernan Lawyers, you’ll find the experienced, caring professional team of San Luis Obispo automobile accident attorneys ready to help you when you have been involved in a car accident or believe you have been the victim of an auto accident scam. James McKiernan Lawyers have help numerous individuals along the Central Coast, protecting the rights of the injures and helping recover the compensation they deserve following an accident. With James McKiernan Lawyers, you can count on personalized services and legal expertise, including investigative services into your accident to identify all parties responsible as well as potential scammers.