Insurance claims from crashes that appear to be staged rose46 percent between 2007 and 2009, according to recentlyreleased statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. California had the third highest number of staged accidentsin the U.S.between 2007 and 2009, with a total of 1,619. Only Floridaand New Yorkhad more.
Ordinarily, these accidents are set up by criminals who workin groups. They sometimes involve several drivers and passengers who claiminjuries, paid witnesses, and even medical providers who claim to have providedtreatment for the false injuries. According to a recentarticle, some of the most common types of crashes include luring innocentdrivers into crashes, scammers crashing into each other, and completelyfabricating non-existent accidents.
According to an expert with the NICB, a non-profitorganization that is funded by the insurance industry, a staged accident thatresults in a payout to victims, including medical and legal expenses, canaverage between $80,000 and $100,000. Not coincidentally, insurance premiumsnationwide have risen an average of 24 percent over the past three years.
Experts recommend that in order to avoid getting scammed, besure to maintain sufficient distance between your car and the car in front ofyou. If you are in an accident, take notes on the names and number ofpassengers in the other car or cars, and pay careful attention to how they areacting. Use your cell phone’s camera to carefully document damages to your carand the other car or cars. Get a police report, even for minor accidents. Ifsomeone tries to steer you to an unknown body shop, doctor, lawyer orchiropractor, take notes, and contact the CaliforniaDepartment of Insurance’s Fraud Division if you have suspicions.