Posted in Blog on July 10, 2019
Vehicle crashes are not uncommon in Georgia. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there are over 400,000 reported traffic crashes each year in this state. They cause serious injuries and over 1,000 annual fatalities. However, not all vehicle accidents are actual “accidents.” Some vehicle accidents are staged.
Staged car accidents are those set up by those looking to commit insurance fraud or file a fraudulent personal injury lawsuit. In these incidents, a driver (or motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian) intentionally causes a crash that makes it look like the fault of an unsuspecting driver.
A staged car accident can take on various forms, but will almost always involve one of the following elements:
Staged accidents can take on varying levels of sophistication. Sometimes, these incidents are done by one person. Other times, they are part of a larger criminal enterprise taking advantage of Georgia drivers.
There are different ways in which a person can stage a car accident. Most of them involved a driver maneuvering their vehicles in a way that causes a crash with an unsuspecting driver. The whole goal is to make it look like the unsuspecting driver is at fault so the perpetrator can secure compensation for damages or injuries.
These incidents can happen in various ways. In some cases, there will be multiple perpetrator vehicles involved. One vehicle can maneuver in front of you, and then their partner in another vehicle can get in front of them. The lead vehicle can hit their brakes, causing the other perpetrating vehicle to slam their brakes in the hopes that you will rear-end them. The lead vehicle then leaves the scene, making it look like you were negligent.
This can also be done using one vehicle that “panic stops” in front of you. Sometimes, one passenger in the perpetrator vehicle will be on the lookout for the moment you take your eyes off the road and instruct the driver to stop quickly so you rear-end them.
Be wary of anyone who waves you through an intersection or other area. They could be doing so to deliberately strike you and claim you did not stop or yield when you should have. This wave-in can also be used in areas where cars are merging or in parking lots. The other driver can simply deny having waved your forward and blame you for careless driving.
Be on the lookout for a few things at the scene of a crash, particularly anyone who shows up suddenly suggesting a tow company, mechanic, or certain doctor. This person and the company they recommend could be in on the fraud.
You also want to watch out for fake witnesses. For some staged crash perpetrators, having a fake witness to back up their account of the crash is the icing on the cake to place the blame on you.
When a crash occurs, call the police. Seek medical treatment if necessary. If you are able to do so, start taking photos or video of all aspects of the scene. Report any suspicious activity to the police when they arrive and let them complete an investigation. If you think you have been the victim of a staged crash, tell the police so it is documented in the report in case this goes to court.