What if My Crash Was a Staged Insurance Fraud Scam?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on August 23, 2022 in Car Accidents

victim of staged car crash scamAfter being involved in a car crash, victims may be unsure what steps to take next. However, what if the crash turns out not to be an accident at all, but a purposely staged scam?

Staged car crashes are a common type of insurance fraud that targets unsuspecting drivers. These incidents put people in harm’s way and may also cost victims thousands of dollars or more in damages.

Below, PKSD explains more about car crashes staged for insurance fraud, including what you can do to protect yourself and your injury claim.

If you suspect you are the victim of a staged car crash, we encourage you to contact our firm without delay. We offer a zero-cost, no-risk case review to determine if you may have case.

Ask for your FREE case review today. 877-877-2228

What is a Staged Car Crash?

A staged car crash is one that is purposely engineered to happen and involves one or more parties. The objective is to make it look like the target caused the accident, allowing the criminal to collect from the victim’s insurance company.

After a car crash, victims may often be too traumatized to notice if something seems out of the ordinary or not quite right. Staged car crashes take advantage of others, preying on the vulnerable, including those who may be in shock after an accident happens.

What Are Some Common Staged Car Crash Scams To Watch For?

When a car crash is staged, the criminals count on the victims being too upset to notice anything that may seem off. Knowing about these scams in advance could help you to protect yourself and your potential claim. There are several types of car crash scams that criminals like to use, including:

Swoop and Squat

This scam is a criminal favorite. It involves, as the name suggests, a vehicle that suddenly swoops in front of yours and slams on the brakes. The goal, of course, is to cause a rear-end collision that gets blamed on you. In addition to the driver, there may be several passengers, all of whom may report neck and back pain, along with other injury symptoms. Drivers who make a habit of following other vehicles too closely are extremely vulnerable to this con.

Drive Down

There are a couple of ways this one could play out:

  • Left turn drive down: In one scenario, you could be waiting to make a turn and get a wave from an oncoming driver to go ahead. However, as soon as you proceed, the waving driver suddenly blocks you, causing you to stop mid-turn. While blocked, another vehicle involved in the scam rams into the side of your car. The driver who waved you to turn then drives away. The vehicle who rammed your car reports that you failed to yield to oncoming traffic and caused the crash.
  • Pull out drive down: In this version of the drive down, the targeted victim may be pulling out into traffic. Whether backing out of a driveway, curb or parking area, the con begins when the victim gets a wave-on from another driver. However, when the victim accepts the wave and proceeds, the waving vehicle smashes the victim’s car. Naturally, when the police arrive, the waving driver completely denies doing so, and the crash gets blamed on the victim.


This con is simple, but effective. As you are legally proceeding through an intersection, the criminal T-bone’s or sideswipes your vehicle. However, that driver claims to be the victim and says you caused the crash by running a red light or stop sign. He or she may also have planted witnesses to support that claim.

Who Are the Most Likely Targets of a Staged Car Crash Scam?

When looking for a victim to target, the criminal will look for very specific types of people. This type of focus helps to ensure the success of the con and a bigger insurance payout. Individuals most likely to be targeted include:

  • Elderly drivers who may be frightened enough to ignore any suspicious they may have
  • Women who may be more easily intimidated
  • Drivers operating newer, more expensive vehicles as their insurance limits may be higher
  • Big-rig, semi-truck and other commercial vehicles that may lead to a bigger insurance payout

It is important to recognize that these con artists are not only comfortable pulling off a scam, they are good at it. These criminals also know how to turn an innocent victim into an at-fault driver following a crash they planned and caused.

Unfortunately for the victims, if a con is successful, it could cause their insurance premiums to go up and cost them thousands in damages.

What Are Some Signs of a Staged Car Crash?

After a crash, you may be in shock and not fully yourself. That said, there are some important warning signs to look for and pay attention to, such as if:

  • The other involved driver tries to talk you into not calling the police
  • After the crash, you notice that something about the crash or the other driver seems off
  • There are multiple witnesses who suddenly appear to support the other driver’s version of the crash
  • The other involved driver’s car has multiple passengers who support a fake account of what happened

Should I Accept Help if I Suspect a Staged Car Crash?

It is probably safe to accept help from police and other first responders. However, if you have suspicions that your car crash was staged, you should also remain cautious. Some scams are more elaborate and involve multiple people.

For instance:

  • A tow service you did not call offers to take your car to the repair shop but overcharges you
  • Witnesses may come out of nowhere and say they saw you cause the crash.
  • Someone at the scene may refer you to an attorney or medical clinic that is also in on the scam.

How Can I Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Staged Car Crash?

Anyone can get caught off guard, especially if they are not fully focused on the road. Here are some steps that will make you a less attractive target to a criminal looking to stage a crash:

  • Consider installing a dash cam, which could help to prove some types of scams.
  • Be an alert driver, constantly on the watch for hazards or anything that looks suspicious.
  • Do not accept a wave from another driver.
  • Drive defensively, follow traffic laws and avoid unsafe driving behavior, such as tailgating.
  • Do not drive while distracted by conversations, your cellphone or anything else.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately after a crash to get police to the scene.
  • Avoid engaging with the other driver until police arrive at the scene.
  • If safe to do so, take pictures of the crash scene and all vehicle damage from multiple angles.
  • Contact a qualified and experienced attorney as soon as your injuries are stabilized.
  • Report the crash to your insurance company.
  • Never accept a cash offer from the other driver or drivers involved in your crash.

Injured in a Crash That Was Staged? Our Trusted Law Firm is Ready to Help

If you get injured in a crash you did not cause and the other driver is blaming you, we recommend seeking legal help right away. You can have the support of a knowledgeable attorney managing your case.

At PKSD, our vehicle accident lawyers in Milwaukee are prepared to dispute any false claims made against you. We know what is needed to build a strong claim, and we are ready to seek maximum compensation on your behalf.

Your initial consultation is completely free, with no obligation to hire our services. If we represent you, there is nothing for you to pay up front. We do not get paid unless or until you do.

Proven Results. Millions Recovered. 877-877-2228

Back to top