While insurance fraud as a whole is nothing new in the world of crime, one specific type of insurance fraud has become an increasingly common way for thieves to line their pockets at the expense of law-abiding motorists: Staged Accidents. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), if you have your Dodge insured in the state of Florida, you have a much higher chance of falling victim to a staged accident than a driver in any other state. Since over 25% of all questionable bodily and personal injury claims occur in Florida, it is important for all Dodge owners in the state to understand the most common types of staged accidents and how to recognize and avoid them.
- The Swoop and Squat: Usually involving two vehicles (besides the victim), this method involves one car acting as the “Squat” by pulling in front of the victim in traffic. A second car then “Swoops” in and cuts off the squatting vehicle who is forced to brake suddenly – causing the victim to rear-end the squatting car. After the swoop car flees the scene, the victim is left having to pay for the squat car’s damages.
- Side Swipe: Just as the name implies, this type of staged accident occurs when a victim drifts slightly out of their lane and is side-swiped by another vehicle in the adjacent lane. This occurs most commonly at intersections with dual left turns, making it hard for the victim to tell where each lane begins and ends.
- The Panic Stop: After pulling in front of the victim, the offending driver will then choose a moment when the victim is distracted to brake quickly, causing the victim to rear end the car in front. The braking car will often have passengers in the back seat in order to watch the victim in order to tell when they become distracted.
- Drive Down: The drive down occurs when the offending driver motions for the victim to merge into their lane and then speeds up instead in order to cause a collision. The driver of the vehicle then denies ever making the merging gesture and then sues for damages.
The only sure-fire way of protecting yourself (and your wallet) from staged accidents and car insurance fraud is to always be alert and cautious when driving. If you think that you’ve been the victim of a staged accident (or see one occur), make sure to document the accident as much as possible, call the police immediately, and then call the National Crime Bureau at 1-800-835-6422 for further investigation.
Staged accidents and car insurance fraud cost responsible drivers millions of dollars a year in bogus claims and increased car insurance premiums. If you own a Dodge and carry insurance in Florida, it is especially important for you to be on the lookout for these types of incidents in order to prevent these criminals from profiting off of you and your insurance company.