Staged car accidents are a major stressor for insurance companies, innocent victims, and others who use the roads lawfully. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know you’ve been marked for one of these scams until your car’s been run off the road and you’ve been blamed. Know what staged car accidents look like, how they can harm you, and how to protect yourself.
Are you the victim of a staged car accident in Bay Minette or Chatom? The team at Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell is here to help you fight for fair compensation. Call our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483 or our Chatom office at 251-847-2237.
What Are Staged Car Accidents and Why Do They Happen?
Staged car accidents are crashes carefully set up by one or two parties. The goal is to leave a third party—in this case, you—blamed for the accident and paying for “damages.” They walk away with an easy payday, your insurance company is out of thousands of dollars, and you are out of your deductible plus any related expenses. They reap all the benefits and suffer none of the consequences. That’s why these scams are so popular and such a huge problem in every part of the country.
How a Staged Crash Can Affect You
A scam crash can impact your life in a wide variety of ways. To start, you have property damage. Your vehicle will likely suffer some type of damage, leaving you in need of a new car or repairs. This is especially harmful if you have a high deductible on your plan, as you’ll need to budget suddenly for $1,000 or more.
You could also be injured. Crashes are generally structured in such a way that involved parties only have minimal injuries, but there are lots of factors at play in a car crash. There are many situations in which an accident went wrong and left one or more people dead. In fact, that is how several staged car accident rings have been discovered.
You may also be left with mental trauma. Being in a car accident is stressful, and many people find themselves too scared to drive for days, weeks, or even months afterward.
Know the Types of Staged Accidents
One of the best ways to avoid a staged accident is to know how scammers set them up. Then, if your intuition tells you something is going on, get away from the other drivers. Common types of staged car crashes include:
- Panic stops. These scams often occur when traffic lanes merge—consider, for example, where Highway 17 and St. Stephens Avenue merge in Chatom. The driver in the traveling lane waves to the mark to merge in front of them. As the mark merges, the other driver speeds up and hits them. They claim to never have waved the other driver through.
- Sideswipe crashes. Intersections with two turning lanes are the ideal place for a sideswipe staged crash. The scammer drives in one lane, waits for another driver to drift into the lane, then speeds up to hit them. They then pin the crash on the other driver for drifting.
- Swoop and stops. One scammer drives next to the mark, blocking them from merging over. The other scammer drives in front of the car and brakes suddenly. The victim hits them because they cannot change lanes or stop in time.
Assume the Worst of Other People’s Driving Skills
Another way to protect yourself from a staged crash is to assume the worst of people. Did someone wave you in? Don’t merge until you have plenty of room to do so. Someone was you through when traffic is stopped? Assume there’s another car coming in the opposite lane and wait until it’s clear.
Someone has their turn signal on, leaving you free to make your turn onto the road they’re traveling on? Wait to make sure that they are actually turning. Don’t leave your safety in other drivers’ hands, and you’ll be much less likely to be a victim of a staged crash.
Pursue a Claim with Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell
If you are targeted by scammers and end up in a staged crash, it’s crucial to talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell have offices in Chatom and Bay Minette. You can reach our Chatom office at 251-847-2237 or our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483. You can also contact us online to have a team member reach out to you.