Staged accidents are one of many ways fraudsters try to scam fleets and their insurance companies. These individuals manipulate vehicles to ensure an accident happens and then file fraudulent insurance claims or lawsuits. Commercial vehicles are prime targets as they can produce a lucrative payout. Fraudsters running this kind of scam use a variety of tactics to engineer an accident, including the following scenarios:
- The swoop and squat. Two individuals team up to pull off this scheme. One driver maneuvers in front of the truck and abruptly hits the brakes. The accomplice car positions itself beside the truck to stop it from swerving to avoid a collision. Sometimes, the assisting car has multiple accomplices to corroborate the fraudster’s version of events.
- The wave. Truck drivers trying to change lanes are the primary victims of this scam. The offending driver will wave over the truck driver, signaling them that they can change lanes in front of them. Once the truck begins to change lanes, the scammer accelerates into the truck to cause an accident. The criminal then lies to the police and says the wave never occurred.
- The sideswipe. Criminals use dual-turn lanes and wait for commercial trucks to drift slightly into their lane. Once this happens, they accelerate into the commercial truck and blame the trucker for crossing into their lane.
- The T–Bone. Like the swoop and squat, fraudsters work in tandem to cause this kind of accident. They wait for a truck to enter an intersection and then accelerate to ram into the commercial vehicle. The driver will claim the truck ran a stop sign or red light. Nearby accomplices posing as witnesses will support the criminal’s story.
- Fake injuries. Following a staged accident, the scammer visits the doctor with claims of soft tissue injuries like whiplash. Unlike broken bones, these kinds of injuries are difficult to identify with medical equipment. They then submit personal injury claims for injuries they don’t have.
Avoiding staged accidents isn’t always easy. However, truck drivers can take steps to mitigate some of these scams, such as maintaining the appropriate stopping distance. Dash cameras can be a very helpful method to disprove fraudulent claims. If an accident feels staged, truck drivers should photograph any damage to the vehicles involved, any injuries, and the other vehicle’s license plate. Having photographic evidence can refute the criminal’s embellishments when they submit their claims.
Contact the experts at Interstate Motor Carriers to learn more about reducing your fleet’s risk and protecting your drivers from fraudulent claims.