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What to do if You are a Victim of a Staged Auto Accident

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Oct 06, 2021 in Auto Accidents

drivers looking at wrecked carsEver hear of the swoop and squat?

It may sound like some sort of wrestling move, but it is a type of staged car accident. Scammers stage accidents so they can file fraudulent claims against another driver’s liability insurance.

The problem is accidents can be stressful, confusing experiences and scammers know how to make it look like the victim was careless and caused the crash. Even if you think you can prove the other driver or drivers are partially at fault, any compensation you may receive would be reduced by your percentage of fault.

That is why it is so important to learn more about staged auto accidents so you may be better able to know if one may be happening to you. You also need to know what steps to take to protect your potential claim and try to hold the scammers accountable.

Common Examples of Staged Car Crashes

These are some of the most common types of staged auto accidents scammers create so they can file fraudulent insurance claims:

Swoop and Squat

The “squat” vehicle is the one that pulls in front of the victim’s car. The “swoop” vehicle pulls in front of the “squat” vehicle and slams on the brakes. This causes the driver of the squat vehicle to hit the brakes, and the victim does not have enough time to stop or swerve to avoid a crash. There may even be a third vehicle that pulls to the left or right of the victim to prevent him or her from swerving out of the way.

The driver of the swoop vehicle usually drives away. The squat car often has several passengers inside who claim injuries when the police or other first responders arrive.

Swoop and squat scams also happen on freeways, and they typically involve four vehicles.

Left Turn Drive Down

This happens when the victim starts to make a left turn. As you stop, a driver heading the opposite way waves you ahead and you start to go. However, the driver who waved you forward then pulls up, blocking your path. You hit the brakes, but as you do so, another car hits the side of your car. Then the car blocking your path drives off. This makes it look like the crash was your fault because you violated the right of way.

Curb Drive Down

This occurs when drivers are attempting to merge into traffic after being parked by a curb. The victim sees traffic is clear so he or she starts to pull out. However, another car suddenly pulls into your lane and hits your car. The driver of this vehicle will insist you pulled out when traffic was not clear. 

T-bone crash

This occurs when another driver runs a red light on purpose and T-bones a vehicle traveling through the intersection. Even though you had a green light and the right of way, a witness may come to say they saw you run a red light.

Signs of a Staged Crash

Sometimes there are witnesses to car crashes. However, if several witnesses come to the scene and they all back up the other driver’s account of the accident, something may be going on.

Another sign an accident may have been staged is there are several passengers in the vehicle you hit. They may seem fine at first, but they may start complaining about injuries as soon as the police arrive.

You should always be suspicious of another driver telling you that you do not need to call the police. Do not accept cash offers at the scene. Doing so may make it more difficult to file an insurance claim.

Try to use your best judgment. If something does not seem right, you could be onto something.

What to do After an Accident That May Have Been Staged

First, there is no need to get into a confrontation with the other driver, passengers or witnesses. In fact, you can simply exchange information with them and wait for the police to arrive. Once the police get there, explain what happened and your suspicions about a staged accident.

If you are able, take pictures at the scene. Make sure to get pictures of the damage to both vehicles, your injuries, landmarks to help identify the location of the crash, and anything else you think may be helpful.

You should strongly consider contacting a licensed Phoenix car crash lawyer to find out how he or she may be able to help you pursue compensation. Insurance companies typically offer more compensation when a lawyer is involved in the case. This is particularly true if the lawyer the victim hires is known to take cases to court. Insurance companies would rather avoid the expense of a trial.

Make sure to get to a hospital as soon as you can to treat your injuries. This helps create a strong connection between the accident and your injuries.

Reducing Your Risk of Being in a Staged Crash

While there is no foolproof way to avoid being the victim of a staged crash, there are some steps you can take that may reduce your risk. For example, avoid tailgating other cars, as this could make you a target for scammers looking to stage an accident.

You may also want to be cautious when someone waves at you to let you make a left turn. Do they have a stop light or a stop sign? Even though the other driver is being courteous, it is probably best that drivers do not stop in the middle of the road. You can simply wave them off and wait for more space to make your turn. The driver waving at you may not be a scammer, but it is a little odd to stop in the middle of the road.

You should watch for large, older vehicles. Scammers are often in these kinds of vehicles, and they make sure to have multiple passengers who can serve as witnesses.

You may also consider getting a dashboard camera. It can record what happens in front of you, which could help fight back against scammers looking to assign fault to you.

Injured in a Crash Caused by Someone Else? Call Phillips Law Group

Insurance companies are always looking for a way to avoid paying fair compensation to crash victims. Even if you get a settlement offer, it is likely going to be far below the true value of your claim.

That is why you need an experienced, aggressive advocate for your rights. Even though you may think you have a strong case, insurance companies often do not get serious about negotiating for compensation until the victim gets an attorney.

Phillips Law Group has a proven record of recovering favorable compensation for crash victims. We have obtained millions on their behalf over nearly three decades.

Call Phillips Law Group for legal help. Phone: 1-800-706-3000

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