Not all traffic collisions turn out to be accidents, and fleet drivers need to be aware of criminals who are targeting their vehicles in an attempt to make big money by committing insurance fraud.
These staged vehicles crashes are premeditated criminal plots that cost the insurance industry an estimated $20 billion per year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
This is why drivers need to immediately recognize the signs of a staged vehicle crash and notify their fleet managers of any suspicions they may have. Keep drivers on the lookout for these common types of staged vehicle crashes that State Farm has routinely encountered:
Swoop and Squat
In traffic, a vehicle suddenly pulls up in front of you and then slams on the brakes, causing an intentional rear-end collision.
You’re making a left turn from a dual-turn lane and your vehicle accidently drifts into the other lane for just a moment. The driver in the other left-turn lane sideswipes you, then accuses you of reckless driving.
While you're attempting to merge into freeway traffic, a driver waves you forward, giving you the right-of-way. But instead of letting you in, that driver deliberately crashes into your vehicle and blames you for the accident.
While you’re attempting to change lanes in heavy traffic, another driver gestures you over. Just as you complete the maneuver, that driver rams into your vehicle.
You’re cautiously driving through an intersection when a waiting driver deliberately slams into your vehicle. That driver then tells the police that you intentionally ran the stop sign.
Once the staged vehicle crash has been completed, some criminals will push the issue by staging another accident and claim the damage was from the collision with the fleet driver. Experienced criminals will also have other members assisting in the scam, such as vehicle passengers, auto shop mechanics, tow-truck drivers, doctors, rehabilitation physicians and even lawyers.
State Farm offers some “behavior giveaways” that are common in a potential staged crash:
- The driver and passengers all complain of back and neck pain, even though the vehicle damage is minimal.
- Their descriptions of their injuries become more extreme and dramatic when they talk to a police officer or insurance company representative.
- Additional witnesses suddenly appear at the accident scene immediately following the crash.
- The driver of the other vehicle offers to find you a leading auto repair shop, doctor or lawyer.