Car accidents in Michigan and Detroit are often incredibly expensive and can lead to serious or fatal injuries. Although most wrecks occur by accident, some individuals purposefully wreck into others in order to make money. This fraudulent behavior heavily impacts the cost of car insurance because fraudulent accidents cost the insurance industry $20 billion each year.
If you experience a car accident that you suspect was staged, you need to take certain actions to avoid being scammed. Additionally, you need to know the types of staged wrecks and the warning signs indicating that your wreck was staged.
What is a Staged Wreck?
Staged wrecks are vehicle collisions planned by an individual or group of people to scam other drivers and their insurance companies. There are five different types of staged wrecks:
- The Brake Slam: The brake slam occurs when a scammer slams on their brake for no reason in order to have a driver wreck into them.
- The Swoop and Squat: This scam is similar to the brake slam, but it involves two culprits. One driver will pull out in front of an unsuspecting driver on the road while the other person involved in the crime drives parallel with the victim. The first driver will then suddenly stop their car. The victim is unable to swerve out of the way because of the person driving parallel to them in the adjacent lane.
- The Wave: The wave occurs when a scammer waves a driver into their lane. They then speed up so the merging driver wrecks into them.
- The Dual Turn Sideswipe: The dual turn sideswipe occurs while an unsuspecting victim drives in the inner lane of a dual turn. The scammer drives in the outer lane and looks for an opportunity to wreck into the inner-lane driver. The scammer waits for the inner-lane driver to slightly drift outside of their lane during the turn, and the scammer then purposefully wrecks into them. If the inner-lane driver stays in their lane, the culprit may drift into the inner lane to cause the accident. The fraudster will usually have fake eyewitnesses to corroborate that the inner-lane driver was at fault.
- The T-Bone: The T-bone also involves multiple accomplices. The scammer waits for a driver to go through an intersection or stop sign, and they then speed up to T-bone the vehicle. Next, so-called “eyewitnesses” will show up and say that the wreck was the victim’s fault. In reality, these witnesses are working with the scammer.
Signs of a Staged Wreck
There are different warning signs you need to be on the lookout for if you’re involved in a wreck in Detroit. A few signs that your wreck was actually staged include:
- The driver tries to settle the matter without calling the police. They’ll request that you pay them off without getting the authorities or insurance involved.
- The driver has passengers who serve as eyewitnesses against you. They may act calmly at first but then start complaining about injuries once the police arrive.
- Many so-called “witnesses” appear after the wreck suddenly and corroborate the other driver.
- A random person approaches after the accident and encourages you to visit a particular doctor or mechanic.
What Should I Do If I Suspect a Wreck Was Staged?
Although the idea of becoming a victim of a fraudulent wreck sounds terrifying, there are ways to protect yourself if you suspect that your wreck was staged. After the wreck, you should call the police as well as medical professionals if someone is injured. Fraudsters may try to convince you to settle the case without getting the police and insurance involved. Don’t let them deceive you—they’re just looking for a payment from you. After the police create an accident report, you need to retrieve a copy.
You should also make sure to collect evidence at the scene. Make sure to take pictures of the wreck, write down what happened from your point of view, and write a description of the other driver who was involved. You should also collect eyewitness testimonies.
Make sure to report the accident to your insurance company. Again, the fraudster will likely try to receive payment from you on the spot. They often don’t want you to report it to your insurance company because they may investigate the accident.
If you suspect that the wreck was staged, you should also report the suspicious activity to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
Finally, you need to hire a car accident lawyer who can help you prove that you weren’t at fault for the staged accident.
Contact a Detroit Staged Wreck Lawyer
Scammers are looking for an opportunity to take advantage of drivers like you. If you suspect that your car accident was staged, you need expert legal support to help you with your case.
For car accident lawyers in Detroit and Michigan, contact Lee Steinberg Law Firm. We’ve helped numerous Detroit and Michigan residents prove that they were not at fault for their wreck. Contact our office at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or request a free case evaluation here.