Written by: Reginald C. Hair
As car wreck attorneys, we are passionate about assisting clients that have been injured through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, we realize that some of our clients may find themselves victims of staged collisions. South Carolina ranks number seven (7) nationally for staged vehicle collisions. Alan Wilson, state attorney general, received 1,915 insurance fraud complaints in 2016, according to The Post and Courier.
The purpose of this blog is to give our potential clients an overview of exactly what a staged collision is and how to avoid becoming a victim of a staged collision. A staged collision is not an accident. It is a form of insurance fraud that criminals engage in to recover money from insurance companies. Staged collisions harm innocent drivers and contribute to higher insurance premiums.
Most staged collisions occur in cities or areas where there is a higher volume of vehicles and traffic. Below, we will cover a few different tactics and maneuvers that people use to cause staged collisions.
This collision involves two criminal drivers and one innocent driver. The first criminal driver is in the “squat vehicle” and is in front of the victim’s car. The second criminal driver pulls in front of the “squat vehicle” (or swoops) and causes the driver of the “squat vehicle” to slam on brakes. The innocent driver usually reacts too late and rear-ends the “squat vehicle.” After the collision occurs, the “swoop vehicle” leaves the scene, and the innocent driver is listed at fault for causing the rear-end collision.
This type of collision occurs when the criminal driver motions for the innocent driver to merge in front of him. When the innocent driver begins to the merge, the criminal driver speeds up to cause the collision. Another example of this tactic is when a criminal driver, that does not have a duty to yield, motions for an innocent driver to complete a left turn in front of him into a parking lot, mall, etc. The criminal driver then speeds up to cause the collision.
A side swipe collision is self-explanatory. Usually the criminal party will approach a busy intersection with dual left-turn lanes. He gets in the outer lane, and side swipes the vehicle in the inner left-turn lane. The criminal party will argue that the innocent driver in the inner lane caused the collision. Liability will be in dispute after this collision occurs.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau has offered these tips to help drivers avoid becoming victims of staged collisions:
- Do not tailgate.
- Immediately call the police to scene of the collision.
- Document the number of occupants in all vehicles.
- Take photos.
- Be wary of tow truck drivers that show up to the scene before you have requested one, as they may be involved in the fraudulent scheme.
- Avoid people who suddenly appear at the collision scene and are adamant about you visiting a doctor when you are not injured. These people are usually members of the criminal scheme.
Do You Need Legal Help?
You should not have to deal with the insurance companies alone. At Solomon Law Group, we will represent you and fight for you. We want you to be able to focus all of your attention on your recovery and well-being. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car collision, call us today at (803) 391-3120. You can speak with a South Carolina car accident attorney about your options for free.