“As consumers take the road, it is important to practice defensive driving and to educate themselves about staged accidents,” said Masto. “Drivers may already be distracted with inclement weather, busy streets, and holiday stress but it is equally important to be aware of other drivers who purposefully plan a collision. Staged automobile accidents are one of the fastest-growing types of fraud in the insurance industry.”
NICB reports that in Nevada “bodily injury” was the top loss type overall in 2013. In a staged automobile accident, waiting drivers carefully position themselves in order to create automobile accidents with unsuspecting drivers. Because staged accidents are difficult to prove, criminals often include passengers in their automobiles who also claim to have sustained injuries.
Known types of staged automobile accidents include:
- Swoop and Squat - A driver causes an intentional and unavoidable rear-end collision by abruptly entering the lane in front of the victim, or cutting the victim off, pulling in front of the victim, and forcing the victim to break suddenly.
- Drive Down - While an unsuspecting victim attempts to merge onto a freeway, a driver in the adjacent lane directs forward with a hand motion, then deliberately crashes into their automobile and blames the victim for the collision.
- Sideswipe - The victims is in a dual-turn left lane and unintentionally veers the vehicle into the adjacent lane for a few seconds. The driver in the adjacent lane then sideswipes the victim, and subsequently accuses the victim of driving recklessly.
- T-Bone - The victim begins to drive through an intersection, when a suspecting driver intentionally slams into their automobile. The driver then accuses the victim of running the stop sign. This is also called a right-angle or broadside collision.
- The Wave - While driving in heavy traffic, a victim will attempt to merge into an adjacent lane. The driver in the adjacent lane waves at the victim indicating that he or she will make room for the victim to switch lanes directly in front. Just as the victim begins to switch lanes the driver accelerates and crashes into the rear of the victim’s car making it appear to be the victims fault.
Drivers are encouraged to be wary of how many occupants are in and around the vehicle at the time of the accident and thereafter. Drivers should also be aware of their surroundings, and note whether additional people show up to the scene who claim to have been involved in the accident.To view a video, released by the NICB, demonstrating the five types of known staged accidents, click HERE.
Victims of an accident should immediately report to their respective insurance companies if they suspect it is staged.