If you have ever been involved in a car accident you know how traumatic this experience can be. However, an accident isn't always what it seems. Believe it or not, there are those who will put themselves and others in mortal danger purely for financial gain. Staged vehicle collisions happen more frequently than you would think, and these criminal conspiracies are one of the most dangerous forms of fraud you can encounter.
What Is A Staged Vehicle Collision?
The purpose of a staged vehicle collision is usually to make the motorist that isn't in on the conspiracy look like the party that is at fault. In addition to the persons staging the crash, there may be another person involved whose role is to be a witness meant to back up this claim. These examples of fraud include a few distinct methods that you should look out for:
- "Swoop and Squat" where the criminal maneuvers their vehicle in front of another motorist to be hit in a rear-end collision, usually by slamming on the brakes and bracing for the collision.
- "Drive Down" also known as the "Wave on" because it involves the criminal waving to or otherwise inducing another motorist at an intersection to believe that they are yielding to them even though they have the right of way. They then intentionally accelerate to collide with the vehicle that takes this turn at the intersection. This can also be used in situations where lanes are merging or you are otherwise trying to change lanes in stop-and-go traffic.
- "The Sideswipe" is less popular because it is potentially more dangerous to the perpetrator of the fraud as there is a significant risk of a multi-car accident that does not suit their purposes. It commonly happens at intersections with multiple turn lanes where the criminal either drifts into your lane or takes advantage of your own drifting to create a side-to-side collision. As it is more difficult to determine fault in these cases this is the most common form of fraud to utilize false witnesses.
How To Protect Yourself From Staged Car Crashes
The LAPD Financial Crimes Division (FCD) has published a guide on how to protect yourself from these forms of fraud as well as steps you should take if this happens to you. Some of the easy steps that you can take include:
- Take all precautions you would take in a real accident, including removing your vehicle and person from traffic and staying at the scene of the accident. Try to find your own witnesses as the perpetrator of the fraud may have their own in the area.
- Make no accusations, but rather exchange personal insurance information as you would at any other accident.
- Take pictures of the collision and the persons involved with your phone as this will be valuable evidence.
- If the accident seems staged, report this to the police officers that respond to the incident so that they can investigate the claim.
Download a copy of our accident form to print and keep in your glove compartment.
If you have been involved in an accident, staged or otherwise, the problems it can cause your vehicle isn't always solved by the bodywork. Hillside Auto Repair of Torrance, CA can take a look under the hood for you and check for underlying issues that may be affecting your car's performance. Contact us today for all of your auto repair needs.
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