Staged accidents are becoming an increasingly popular way for thieves and criminals to make money off of unsuspecting drivers and to bilk car insurance companies for millions of dollars in fraudulent claims a year. National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) stats that were released recently suggest that if you own a Mercedes and live in Florida, you have a greater chance of falling victim to a staged accident than drivers in any other state. According to the NICB, a whopping 25% of all fraudulent car insurance claims occur in Florida. Because of this, it extremely important for all Mercedes Benz owners in the state to be aware of the most common types of staged accidents so that they can recognize them in they occur. Here are the four most common types of stage accidents:
The Panic Stop
This is usually done with accomplices in the car who are tasked with watching the victim through the rear view mirror to tell when they get distracted. After pulling in front of the car, the offending driver will then wait to hear from their back seat passengers to tell them when the driver is distracted. They then brake quickly, causing the victim to rear end the car in front of them.
The Side Swipe
We’ve all seen drivers who accidently veer out of their lane for a moment (whether it is from not paying attention or just bad driving). This type of staged accident takes advantage of that and occurs when a victim drifts slightly out of their lane. The victim is then side-swiped by the offending vehicle in the adjacent lane. Some intersections are particularly prone to this type of staged accident, such as intersections with dual left turns that make it hard for the victim to tell where each lane begins and ends.
This little bit of trickery occurs when the victim mistakenly believes that the perpetrator is actually being polite. This occurs when the offending driver gives the victim a signal that it is ok merge into their lane and then, instead of waiting back for them to merge, they speed up and cause a collision. After denying that they ever made the gesture, they can then sue for damages.
The Swoop and Squat
This one usually occurs with two cars and involves a “Squat” car that pulls in front of the victim in traffic. The second car then “Swoops” in and cuts off the squatter. They are then forced to brake suddenly and without warning – giving the victim little time to avoid rear-ending the squatter. The swoop car then flees the scene of the accident and the victim (and their insurance company) are left to foot the bill.
If you drive a Mercedes in Florida and think that you’ve been involved in a staged accident (or see one happen), call the National Crime Bureau at 1-800-835-6422 for further investigation.