In many states, particularly those with no-fault insurance laws, staged vehicle accidents are on the rise. These accidents are staged by criminals looking to get money out of insurance companies. Some schemes involve innocent victims, while others include large groups of fraudsters. Insurance fraud can be a serious issue that raises rates for everyone — and some states are aiming to battle the bulge.
How staged vehicle accidents work
A staged vehicle accident is an accident that insurance fraudsters set up to make money. There are multiple types of staged accident schemes. Some include two or three cars that have been filled with people that have a minor accident. All the passengers claim injuries that cost the insurance company thousands of dollars. Others set up innocent drivers for an accident that they could not avoid, and then must pay for. No matter what the scheme, a staged vehicle accident is usually difficult to avoid and even more difficult to prove.
The cost of staged car accidents
The cost of staged vehicular accidents can quickly get very high. Passengers can claim hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of injuries. Damage to vehicles can add another 15 to 30 thousand dollars per vehicle. These staged car accidents also increase the cost of insurance for the driver found at-fault. In no-fault insurance states, the cost of insurance in general can spike. This is just the financial cost — there is also a very real danger of personal injury and increased vehicular-related death.
The rise in staged accidents
The number of staged accidents can be very difficult to pin down. Because many of these accidents look “normal,” pegging them as fraud is tough. According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, thus far this year, Florida has seen over 3,000 staged accidents, New York has had 1,680 and California has seen 1,619. Illinois and Texas round out the top five for staged accidents.