When a crash gets us hot under the collar, it's helpful to remember that it's called an accident for a reason -- well, except if it's not. Fraudulent accidents aren't really accidents; instead, they can be caused or staged by perpetrators in order to receive payment from insurance companies or the individuals involved [source: Novak].
Ninety percent of accidents are honest-to-goodness accidents, but you should be aware of a few warning signs that could indicate otherwise. Watch out for older or luxury vehicles, damaged vehicles and vehicles driving slowly; frequent lane changing can also be a red flag. Driver behavior is also a good indicator: Perpetrators of fraudulent accidents often try to intimidate the victim into admitting fault and may behave in an aggressive or threatening manner [source: AAA].
If you suspect that you've been targeted in a fraudulent accident, you should notify your insurance company -- and the police -- immediately. The more concrete details you can provide about the car and the driver, the better chance you have of your claim being resolved quickly and fairly.
Take a look at the next page for lots more information on car accidents, insurance and how to handle them both.