Not all car accidents are accidental. Some are collisions criminals orchestrate to commit insurance fraud. Car accident schemes aim to extort money from insurance companies and/or crash victims. Las Vegas city prosecutors charged 24 people for involvement in insurance fraud rings in 2017. Finding yourself at the center of a car accident scheme can require you to take legal action. A lawyer can help protect your rights.
What Is a Car Accident Scheme?
A car accident scheme is a form of insurance fraud. It is a staged auto accident that typically involves innocent motorists. A car accident scheme sets up the targeted victim to “cause” an accident. The criminals behind the wreck then blame the victim for causing the crash, and either convince the victim to pay out of pocket to avoid calling insurance companies or recover compensation through an insurance claim. Several types of car accident schemes are prevalent in Las Vegas.
- Swoop and squat. The criminal abruptly cuts off the target and then slams on the brakes. This causes a rear-end collision.
- Sideswipe. The criminal sideswipes your vehicle while you are both turning, then blames it on you for drifting into his or her lane.
- Drive down. The criminal motions for you to go in an intersection or to merge, then speeds up and causes an accident. The criminal then denies ever waving for you to proceed.
Some car accident schemes involve more than one criminal. Two vehicles may block you in and force you to cause a rear-end collision, for example, or the crime ring may plant convenient eyewitnesses to side with the other driver. If a stranger approaches you after a crash and tries to recommend certain physicians or lawyers, this is a red flag for a car accident scheme. Be wary of any non-authorities who try to direct your next steps after a collision. As soon as you suspect your role as the victim of insurance fraud, contact 911 for assistance.
What to Do After an Encounter With a Criminal
Getting into a car accident is confusing enough without the added issue of suspected insurance fraud. Knowing what to do after your accident can protect you from unfair liability. First, call the police. Do not listen to the other driver if he or she tries to convince you to leave the authorities out of it. You legally must call 911 to report your accident in Nevada if it caused any injuries, deaths, or property damage that disables the vehicle. Calling the police can give you an official report of your crash for future reference.
Then, call the Nevada Insurance Fraud Unit to report your suspicions. The government wants to know about the people behind car accident schemes. The city of Las Vegas wants to protect residents and save thousands in unnecessary economic costs by preventing orchestrated accidents. If you believe someone intentionally caused your accident as part of an insurance fraud scheme, call and report the incident. The Insurance Fraud Unit will investigate the case for signs of a car accident scheme, and the city may make arrests relating to your case.
Next, take care of yourself. Seek medical assistance for any injuries from a trusted provider. A Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can help you connect with a reliable doctor in the Las Vegas area. Keep copies of your medical records. Take your damaged vehicle to a known mechanic. Keep all repair estimates and related documents. Finally, contact an attorney to discuss what to do next. A Las Vegas accident lawyer can help you collect evidence of an insurance scam and protect yourself from liability for the wreck. They may also be able to help you obtain compensation for your accident-related damages from the criminals behind your crash.