Many accidents that occur on the roadways today aren’t simply a matter of bad luck, bad timing or bad weather conditions. There are actually drivers who intend to cause accidents in order to file exaggerated insurance claims for collision damage and medical expenses that are just as bogus as the accidents they made happen thru staging them. Here are some of the most popular car insurance scams that are helping to drive up everyone’s premiums in addition to costing the automobile insurance industry billions of dollars every year in lost time and compensation:
The Staged Rear-Ending
The “Swoop and Squat” maneuver is one of the most popular scams being practiced today, either by an individual driver or two drivers working in tandem. One driver speeds ahead of the intended victim’s vehicle and swoops into place in front, then quickly slams on his brakes while another vehicle boxes in the victim on the side, leaving him no alternative but to read-end the car in front. The con artist then makes a collision claim for alleged damages to his vehicle in addition to complaining about injuries much more severe than could be sustained in such a low-impact crash. Drivers should be wary of following vehicles ahead too closely and should always be paying attention to the need to stop suddenly.
The Phony Samaritan
This scam occurs after the accident happens and a supposedly concerned individual approaches the victimized driver posing as a professional insurance consultant strictly for the purpose of gaining information from the driver in order to file a fraudulent claim. Drivers should never give their insurance information to anyone other than the other driver involved as required by law and then immediately contact their insurance claims office to report the incident.
Cases of whiplash have often been the subject of comedy television shows but this scam occurs all too often in real life accidents when the other driver who may have staged the accident claims to have suffered neck or back pain that requires hospitalization or therapy just to be able to file a medical injury claim. Even worse, these scam artists are often in league with phony doctors or other health professionals who sign off on these phony injury reports, making them seem legitimate. Drivers should always file a police report at the scene of any accident so that other drivers or passengers cannot later claim injuries that were never acknowledged the day of the accident.
A scam known as the “phantom victim” occurs when individuals who were not even passengers in the other vehicle involved in an accident begin to file personal injury claims with your insurance carrier. Drivers involved in any type of accident should remember to count the number of passengers in the other vehicle and take photos if possible. Report this information to your insurance company so they can note any discrepencies that occur once phantom victims begin filing their fraudulent claims.
The Drive Down
That friendly driver who waves and motions you to move into traffic from a merging lane just may be a scam artist who will hit your vehicle and then claim to have done nothing to encourage you to enter his lane. This also happens at intersections having a double left turn lane. The con artist crosses over into the other lane and sideswipes the victim’s vehicle and then claims it was the other driver who drifted over into his lane.