The “Personal Finances” section of MSN.com published an article about the recent rise in car-crash scams in North Carolina and around the country. The article included the story of a North Carolina man who had been involved in 42 accidents in 9 years. The man was filmed ramming his truck into a car in a parking lot–after which he accused the car’s driver of running into him.
The article also cites statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which show that questionable claims related to crashes that may have been staged have risen by 46% between 2007 and 2009.
Innocent drivers are apparently getting caught up in crashes in which the other people involved either make inflated claims about injuries afterward, or try to steer the innocent accident victim to particular doctors, chiropractors, or attorneys who would make inflated claims of their behalf. Such staged crashes can obviously be very dangerous to the drivers who are caught up in them unaware, and who may suffer very real and unrehearsed injuries.
The MSN.com article includes a list of tips designed to help drivers avoid being victimized by a staged crash (though they would probably be beneficial in avoiding any type of crash and/or limiting the possible post-crash repercussions). Among them are advice not to tailgate, so that you’ll have time to stop if the car in front of you stops abruptly; and, in case you do get involved in an accident, to count how many people were in the other vehicle, and ask for their names, phone numbers, and drivers’ license numbers. You should also be wary of anyone who tries to approach you at a crash site and suggest a particular doctor, chiropractor, or lawyer for you to consult.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud warns that innocent people are injured, terrified, sometimes even killed by staged crashes that didn’t go according to the scammers’ plan.