Have you ever wondered if the car accident you had was legitimate? Did the car in front of you stop short seemingly for no reason, or did someone's explanation for cutting you off not ring true? If so, you are not alone. There are called staged car accidents and are gaining in popularity in Philadelphia with those intending to defraud insurance companies these days. These scams harm everyone – they are dangerous for the innocent parties and drive up insurance costs all around. Here are some examples of car accident scams to look out for:
The Start and Stop
Traffic is heavy and the normal stop and go happens as a matter of course. But then the car in front of you starts and accelerates, giving you reason to think traffic is lightening up and you can move. As you start to pick up the pace behind them, they suddenly jam on the brakes causing you to hit them from behind. This is a classic way to make you the one at fault. It is hard to defend against what appears like a lack of attention or driver negligence.
This works best where there are two left turn lanes at an intersection. While it is not proper car operation, many people drift into the lane next to them when making a turn. If someone is trying to run a scam, they will sideswipe your car as you drift into that lane. Arguing the point may feel right, but the police are faced with a driver against driver situation.
Swoop and Squat
This double teaming scam is very common. A car pulls in front of yours and drives at a moderate to slow pace – this car is the squatter. A short period of time later a car enters your same lane in front of the squatter and stops short =- this car is the swooper. The squatter must then brake suddenly and you do too. More often than not, the innocent party doesn't stop in time. This activity causes you to hit the squatter while the swooper drives away.
The Sudden Stopper
Have you ever seen people who ride their brake, always taping it in situations that don't really call for slowing? In this scenario you have the person who seemingly brakes for no reason. To make it more difficult for you to anticipate their actions, they may have altered their brake lights so they don't come on when the brake pedal is pressed. You hit them and you are at fault.
Situations like these occur more than you might think. In all of these instances it is either your word against theirs or crafted in such a way that you appear to be the one at fault. You can't rely on eyewitnesses either. Just because someone saw it happen doesn't mean they are a credible witness. They might be in cahoots with the driver. It is not uncommon that false witnesses mill in the area to help the scammer prove their case.
So, what can you do?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from staged car accidents:
- Stay alert – being aware of your surroundings might help you spot a scam about to happen. If you see something suspicious, get yourself out of harms way.
- Follow driving safety rules – it is difficult to corral someone who is following driving rules to the letter.
- Report it – let the authorities know about car scams so they can investigate
- If, after the accident occurs, someone that you don't know starts suggesting medical and garage services to you. They may be in on the scam. The same is true if a tow truck just happens to come to your aid even though no one called them. This is a telltale sign of a scam in progress. They are probably planning to charge exorbitant prices for standard services.
Stay vigilant and keep your eye on the road. There's more to look out for than stop signs and traffic lights. Contact the Lassen Law Firm if you need a car accident lawyer in Philadelphia.
The Lassen Law Firm only deducts a low 29% contingency fee, not the standard 40-45% like other firms. We serve ALL of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We can sign you up over the phone and start working on your case today.
The Lassen Law Firm
1515 Market St #1510
Philadelphia, PA 19102