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How to Protect Yourself After a Staged Car Crash

After being involved in a traffic accident, victims already have a lot to handle. However, what if that incident turns out to be a staged car crash? How do you protect your ability to recover your losses if the driver tries to shift the blame to you? Unfortunately, car crash scams are a real thing. In fact, they happen often enough to cost insurance companies billions of dollars each year. Learn more about staged car crashes, including how to protect your rights and potential ability to file an injury claim. If you suspect you are the victim of a staged car crash, our experienced Las Vegas auto accident lawyers are ready to help. Contact High Stakes Injury Law 24/7 to schedule your free case review and discuss your situation.

What is a Staged Car Crash?

A staged car crash typically involves one or more vehicles. The drivers of these vehicles work together to set up and purposely cause a crash involving another victim. These scammers support each other's account of the crash in order to make the targeted victim look like the at-fault party. The real purpose is, of course, to get compensation from the victim’s insurance company by filing a fraudulent claim.

Staged Car Crashes - How Do They Play Out?

In the immediate moments after a crash, victims are often still in shock. Criminals count on this. Your mind may be racing due to the adrenaline, and this can make it hard to think clearly. However, as you calm down and rethink how the incident happened, the event may seem unusual in certain ways. Here are some of the most common ways a staged car crash may play out:

Left-Turn Drive Down – Did an Oncoming Driver Wave You To Take Your Left Turn?

This traffic event begins smoothly enough. An approaching driver with the right-of-way waves at you to make your left turn. However, while making the turn, that same driver suddenly pulls in front of you, blocking your path. At the same time, another vehicle appears, ramming into the side of your car. The first driver, who waved for you to take your turn, drives off. The driver of the vehicle that hit you says you failed to yield and blames you for the crash. Subsequently, that individual files a claim against your insurance company for the damages.

Swoop and Squat – Did a Driver in Front of You Suddenly Slams on the Brakes?

This staged car crash often involves three vehicles. Two of the vehicles, called the squat and swoop vehicles, are in on the set up. The third vehicle is the targeted victim. The squat vehicle begins the scam by pulling in front of the victim’s vehicle. Then the swoop vehicle gets in front of the squat vehicle and slams on the brakes. The driver of the squat vehicle, who knows the scam, slams on the brakes in time to avoid a crash. The victim driving behind the squat vehicle, however, will likely be unable to avoid crashing into the squat vehicle. Meanwhile, the driver of the swoop vehicle quickly flees the scene of the crash. Sometimes, there is a fourth vehicle involved in the set up that will move into the lane next to you. This move leaves you boxed in, further preventing you from being able to avoid a collision. Naturally, the drivers in on the scam will all say you caused the rear-end crash.

Curb Drive Down – Did Another Car Appear Out of the Blue?

This con takes advantage of a victim parked by the curb. The con occurs once the targeted victim confirms the road is clear of traffic and begins to pull out. Another car suddenly appears out of the blue and slams into the side of the victim’s car. Of course, since no other traffic is about, it becomes a “he said, she said” situation.

T-Bone Crash – Are There Suddenly Multiple Witnesses Saying You Ran the Red Light?

One driver involved in this scam runs a red light and T-bones an oncoming vehicle in the intersection. Despite the fact that you had the green light, and therefore the right-of-way, you get blamed for the crash. Conveniently, one or more witnesses suddenly appear saying they saw you run the red light.

What Warning Signs Point to a Car Crash Scam?

After making sure you and your passengers are okay, look for warning signs of a staged car crash, including if:
  • The other driver's behavior seems off in some way: This could be your gut telling you that something is wrong. People often give non-verbal signs when they are lying or hiding something. Trust your gut, but do not confront this driver with your suspicions as it could put you in danger.
  • The driver tries to coax you not to call the police: There could be many reasons for this - none of them good. For instance, the driver could have a history of prior convictions or perhaps he or she simply does not want an official record of the crash. A police report may support your suspicion of a staged crash. In Nevada, the law requires drivers to call police when damages are more than $750, or when there are any injuries or fatalities.
  • Several witnesses suddenly appear: There may often be witnesses to a crash. However, if they suddenly appear out of nowhere, that is unusual. If they all also have the same account, which also supports the other driver's fake story, that is not just convenient, it is highly unlikely.
  • The other party's car is full of passengers: Multiple passengers in the other party’s vehicle is not always evidence of a set-up. However, if all of the passengers support the drivers fake account of the crash, it is a possibility. Having multiple passengers or witnesses, on the heels of one of the described crashes could be a sign that the crash was staged.

Which Drivers Are Most Likely To Be Targeted for a Staged Car Crash?

As with the victims of most crimes, the most vulnerable are targeted first. Criminals always look for the path of least resistance. The scammers behind these staged crashes are criminals looking for a big insurance payout. The victims they target often include:
  • Drivers in high-end vehicles – These drivers are more likely to have higher insurance limits
  • Female and elderly drivers – They are considered easier to frighten or intimidate into not fighting back
  • Drivers in commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks – Higher insurance limits means more lucrative claims
Staged car crashes are also likely to happen at night or in areas where there are no traffic cameras in sight.

How Can I Avoid Being a Victim of a Staged Car Crash?

Staged car crashes happen so quickly that it may not always be possible to prevent them from happening to you. However, you can take some steps to reduce your risk of becoming a victim by doing the following:
  • Follow traffic laws, such as waiting for traffic to clear and not turning on another driver's wave.
  • Do not tailgate - This is illegal in Nevada and also increases the risk of a crash.
  • Take extra care - Look and look again anytime you exit the curb, a parking space or change lanes.
  • Consider installing a dash cam - If properly installed, any camera footage captured may help to prove a crash was staged.
  • Only use a tow service you call – Other people or services may be in on the scam.
  • Never risk your claim by accepting any cashThis can make it harder to get compensation.

What Should You Do if You Suspect a Staged Car Crash?

There are some steps you can take after a staged car crash to protect yourself and any potential claim. Many of these steps are the same as for any crash. However, they are important and can help to support your claim of how a crash occurred
  • Call police to the crash scene and report the incident to the Nevada DMV.
  • Use your phone to capture images of the crash scene and vehicle damage.
  • Photograph and/or document passengers in the other vehicle.
  • Look for witnesses who seem credible and saw what happened.
  • Seek emergency medical care to diagnose and document any injuries.
  • Contact a qualified attorney to discuss your situation and get legal help.

Call Our Trusted Law Firm for Legal Help After a Car Crash

Have you been injured in a crash you did not cause? Is the other party trying to shift blame for the crash onto you? Contact our trusted law firm today to find out what you can do to protect your rights and ability to claim compensation. At High Stakes Injury Law, we work tirelessly every day to protect injured victims. We have years of extensive experience, and we know how to build a solid claim for our clients. We will not waste your time or money if we feel you do not have a case. However, if you do have a case, and you choose our firm to represent you, we will fight for maximum compensation. Call our firm to get started today. We are available to take your call 24/7, and your first consultation is completely on us. There are no upfront costs if you hire our firm. We only collect our fees if we win your case.

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I Was Injured In An Accident. What Do I Do Now?

By Scott L. Poisson

  • Do I Have A Case?
  • Dealing With The Insurance Company
  • When a Lawsuit Is Filed
  • Overcoming Common Defense Themes
  • Special Considerations in Specific Types of Cases