What Is A Staged Car Accident?

Most vehicle accidents are caused by the negligent actions of one or more drivers on the roadway. However, there are times when individuals “stage” a car accident in an effort to defraud insurance carriers or crash victims. Here, we want to more thoroughly describe what a staged vehicle accident is and examine what you can do if this happens to you.

Understanding the Purpose of a Staged Accident

Staged vehicle accidents are often referred to as “cash for crash” scams, and they occur more often than most people realize. These types of vehicle accidents are purposely set up by one or more individuals intending to make money from insurance carrier payouts.

The goal here is simple – to make as much money as possible through the insurance settlement by causing injuries (injuries that may be exaggerated) or property damage. There are various ways that perpetrators of these incidents can commit “cash for crash” scams, including:

  • Faking a vehicle collision
  • Faking injuries after the collision
  • Using staged eyewitnesses
  • Using staged victims
  • Falsely claiming an accident to get a report

There are times when there is only one perpetrator of a staged vehicle accident scam, but that is not always the case. It is not uncommon for these scams to be carried out by two or three individuals, and they may even use multiple vehicles to ensure that the collision occurs as planned. 

Examples of How These Incidents Could Occur

Staged vehicle accidents can occur in a wide variety of ways throughout Washington state. Some of the most common examples of how these incidents occur include the following:

  • A lead driver intentionally slamming on their brakes in front of others in an attempt to get rear-ended on purpose.
  • Two or three vehicles boxing in an unsuspecting driver in order to force a collision with one or more of the vehicles involved.
  • A bicyclist or pedestrian intentionally running in front of or into a vehicle with the purpose of saying the driver struck them and claiming injuries.

This is most certainly not a complete list of the different ways that stage vehicle accidents can occur. Perpetrators of these incidents have time on their hands, and they can come up with any number of scenarios in an effort to make the incident look real and not staged. 

If you have been involved in any type of vehicle accident and you suspect that the incident has been staged, you need to make sure the police come to the scene and that you tell them your suspicions. There may be times when the perpetrators of a staged collision try to convince you just to exchange insurance information and not call the police, but do not do this. Always call the police after a collision occurs in Washington.

If you feel unsafe at all after a suspected staged vehicle accident, remain in your vehicle, lock the door, and call the police to tell them what is happening. We always suggest that individuals use their phones to take pictures of everything they see at a vehicle accident, but only do this if you feel safe at the scene. If the police arrive and you feel safe, you can take pictures of vehicle damage, injuries, debris, and the overall crash scene. If you sustain injuries in the crash, be sure to contact a Seattle car accident lawyer in addition to the police.