Tips for Avoiding a Staged Florida Car Accident

by Carmen Dellutri on October 25, 2011

Fort Myers personal injury attorneyStaged car accidents continue to plague innocent Florida drivers, causing needless injuries and rising insurance premiums. Alarmingly, questionable claims from staged accidents increased 46.3 percent from 2007 through 2009, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB, a nonprofit agency dedicated to fighting car insurance fraud and vehicle theft.

As Florida personal injury attorneys, we are concerned that Florida had the most staged accidents for the period according to the NICB. The NICB report, which is available here, shows Tampa with 487 questionable claims related to staged/caused accidents in 2009, a 290 percent increase over the previous year. Miami had 258, an 11 percent increase, and Orlando had 240, a 24 percent increase.

Staged accidents are more common in "no-fault" states like Florida because the insured stagers can collect for bodily injury from their own car insurance company through their personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage.

To protect yourself from being scammed (or worse, injured), below are several tips for avoiding a staged car accident:

  • Avoid tailgating. Recognize the "swoop and squat" scenario in which a driver suddenly swoops in front of you then slams on his or her brakes, and leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you just in case the driver slams on his brakes.
  • Call the police even if damage is minimal. A police report makes it harder for a stager to intentionally damage his or her car later in order to collect a larger claim against your car insurance company.
  • Grab a camera or use your cell phone to photograph everything and everyone at the scene. Pay special attention to the number of people in the other car and the damage to both cars.
  • Be wary of passers-by who just happen to arrive on the scene, especially if they offer to direct you to a doctor, lawyer or tow-truck company. They may be part of the scam.
  • Steer clear of tow-truck drivers that you did not summon. They are often part of this car insurance scam.

Source: Fox Business

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys for a free consultation. 

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