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.
Author's Note: 5 Things You Should Tell Your Insurance Company Immediately After a Crash
What I found most interesting during my research for this article was that there's just as much information out there on what not to tell your insurance company as there is about what to tell them -- maybe even more. I also had no idea that fraudulent accidents existed, so it was very eye-opening to read about what to watch out for. I found it particularly interesting that perpetrators of fraudulent accidents are likely to be driving either older, beat-up cars or luxury vehicles, but nothing in between. I hope HowStuffWorks readers find this article as useful as I did!
More Great Links
- AAA. "Auto Accident Tips." (March 25, 2012) http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:CPxqTW92KPoJ:www.calif.aaa.com/en-ca/driving-resources/Pages/accident-tips.aspx
- Bailey, Ronald. "Don't Be Terrorized." Reason Online. Aug. 11, 2006 (April 3, 2012) http://reason.com/archives/2006/08/11/dont-be-terrorized
- California DMV. "Vehicle Collisons!" (March 25, 2012) http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl16.htm
- FindLaw. "After a Car Accident: First Steps." (March 27, 2012) http://injury.findlaw.com/car-accident/personal-injury-first-car-accident.html
- Insure. "What to do after a car accident." (March 24, 2012) http://www.insure.com/car-insurance/after-car-crash.html
- Novak, Chrissy. "Automobile Accident Fraud." National Insurance Crime Bureau." (March 30, 2012) http://www.nicbtraining.org/Auto_Accident_Fraud.pdf
- Reed, Philip. "What to Do After a Car Accident." Edmunds.com. May 5, 2009 (March 26, 2012) http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/what-to-do-after-a-car-accident.html
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