Unfortunately staged accidents do happen on Northern Irish roads. According to the Association of British Insurers, insurers uncovered 130,000 fraudulent claims worth £1.32 billion across all insurance products in 2015. This represents an increase of 6% from 2014.
The Belfast Telegraph reported (which was highlighted by the Association of British Insurers), a man was convicted of staging fake road accidents in his ice cream van. Had he been successful he would have pocketed around £100,000, the ABI said.
Part of the problem with staged accidents is that they’re difficult to prove and quite often it can be a case of the perpetrator’s word against the victim’s. Being aware of staged accidents however, can help you take the necessary precautions and minimise the risk of being involved in one.
What is a Staged Accident?
A staged accident, also known as a ‘Cash for Crash’ scam, is where a person/s causes a collision with the intention of fraudulently claiming off the victims insurance.
There are multiple types of staged accidents. The most common of these are:
Deliberately Braking Suddenly for No Reason
Perhaps the most basic of scams is when the perpetrator intentionally brakes suddenly, causing the victim to crash into them.
The Flash for Cash
This is when the perpetrator waves or flashes the victim to indicate they are letting them go. It could be when the victim’s vehicle is changing lane or turning corner. They then intentionally crash into the victim, claiming that it was the victim who caused the accident.
The T-Bone Accident
This is when the perpetrator sees another vehicle waiting at an intersection and intentionally accelerates causing the victim to crash into them. They’ll later claim that the victim did not stop at the stop sign and that they are the ones who are responsible for the accident.
The Swoop and Stop
This is a more sophisticated scam involving 2 vehicles. One vehicle brakes in front of the victim while the other pulls up alongside the victim’s vehicle, preventing them from taking evasive action.
How to Avoid a Staged Accident
Although sometimes it is impossible to avoid accidents like this, there are a number of precautions you can take:
Keep Your Distance
Keeping a safe distance behind the car in front of you at all times should ensure you have adequate time to brake, even if they stop suddenly.
Be Careful if People Flash You to Go
Even if somebody is flashing you to go, you should always exercise caution and pull away slowly. Be particularly careful if there’s an obstruction on your side of the road, or if you’re pulling out of a side road.
Don’t Get Distracted
It goes without saying that maintaining concentration at all times is essential for safe driving and should help you to avoid all manner of accidents.
This guidance is for general information purposes only and does not purport to provide legal advice or other professional advice. Allianz accepts no responsibility or liability for any losses that may arise from any reliance upon the information contained in this guidance.
Information correct as of the 03/05/17