Staging a car accident could soon become a serious crime in Louisiana. In 2021, the Louisiana House passed a bill that would penalize staging an accident with five years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both. The vote on the bill was 100-0.
Victims of these accidents may feel like this has been a long time coming. Staged accidents are a widespread problem and victims may struggle to recover compensation for their damages. The goal of a staged accident is to make it look like the victim is at fault, which could make it harder for the victim to prove the other driver is to blame.
While any car crash is stressful for the victim, a staged crash could be even more stressful. The victim may have suspicions about what happened but may not know how to prove it.
That is why it is so important to call an experienced attorney for assistance. He or she can review the situation to determine your legal options and explain how to protect your claim.
Below, we discuss some of the common types of staged accidents, and what to do afterward. There are no upfront fees for our services, so there is no risk in contacting us to find out how we may be able to help.
Defining a Staged Accident
A staged accident is one that would not have occurred unless it was planned by one or more people. Under HR 15, the bill that passed the Louisiana House last year, individuals could be convicted of staging an accident if they did any of the following three things:
- Intentionally causing a motor vehicle crash for the purpose of obtaining something of value
- Staging a crash with the intent to defraud
- Providing false information about a motor vehicle crash that did not happen with the intent to obtain something of value
Types of Staged Accidents
If you were involved in any of the following types of crashes and you have reason to believe the crash was staged, you should let the police know when they arrive at the scene. You should also talk to an experienced attorney about what happened. You do not want to rely on an insurance company’s assessment of the situation because they are only committed to their profits.
Swoop and Squat
This type of staged accident may involve multiple vehicles. Usually, one vehicle swoops in front of the victim’s vehicle while another is behind it and a third vehicle will get in front of the swoop vehicle . The vehicle in front of the swoop vehicle slams on the brakes, forcing the swoop vehicle to slam on the brakes, and making the victim’s vehicle rear end the swoop vehicle.
Sometimes there is a another vehicle that helps box the victim’s vehicle in. The third vehicle may be in the lane to the left or right of the victim’s vehicle. The presence of the third vehicle, called the squat vehicle, makes it impossible for the victim to swerve out of the way of the swoop vehicle.
One of the common features of this scam is several people being in the squat vehicle. That way there are several witnesses to back up the driver’s version of events. This may make it harder to prove the crash was staged.
This is a T-bone accident caused by a driver who intentionally runs a red light or blows through a stop sign and crashes into a vehicle traveling through the intersection.
If a witness agrees with your side of the story, the accident probably was not staged. However, if it seems clear the other driver did not have the right of way, but a passenger in that driver’s vehicle or a witness agrees with him or her, the situation may have been planned.
Curb Drive Down
It is important to be cautious when pulling away from a curb where your car was parked. Keep an eye out for vehicles two lanes over to make sure they are not switching lanes as you pull out.
Unfortunately, some crashes that happen in these situations are staged. The perpetrator watches for vehicles that are about to pull out into traffic and at the last second, the perpetrator moves into the same lane of traffic. At that point, a crash becomes unavoidable.
The other driver may get angry with you, insisting you did not have the right of way and you should have waited for traffic to clear.
Wave or Drive Down
This type of staged crash occurs when another driver waves at you to signal it is OK for you to merge into their lane. However, the driver then speeds up and hits your car.
When both drivers talk about the crash, the driver who staged the crash will claim he or she did not waive you over. He or she will say you hit him or her.
Left-Turn Drive Down
Left turns are always dangerous, but sometimes crashes that happen during left turns are staged. For example, a driver heading in the opposite direction may wave at you, indicating you can make your turn in front of them. However, as you start to pull out into the intersection, this driver pulls out and blocks your path. As you hit the brakes, another car comes up and hits you. Meanwhile, the driver of the first vehicle pulls away.
Without the other vehicle there, it looks like you violated the right of way and caused the crash.
Possible Signs of a Staged Crash
One common sign of a staged crash is the presence of one or more witnesses who completely back up the other driver’s story. Sometimes witnesses can help a victim’s case and sometimes they may not, but multiple witnesses backing up the other driver often seems suspicious.
There are accidents involving vehicles with a driver and multiple passengers. However, when multiple passengers in the other driver’s vehicle immediately complain of injuries, it could be a sign of a staged crash.
Sometimes those who stage crashes do so for a quick payday. They may ask you for money at the scene and say they do not want to deal with insurance companies.
What Should I do After a Staged Accident?
Getting angry about a staged accident is understandable. Someone else may be trying to scam you and make it very difficult for you to obtain compensation for your damages.
However, getting angry at the other driver may not be a good idea. It is better to call the police, exchange information with the other driver, and gather evidence. Talk to the police about what happened and tell the officer if you suspect the crash was staged.
The next step is to get medical treatment. You need to make sure your injuries are diagnosed and documented, which helps connect them to the crash.
After that, contact an experienced attorney for assistance.
Give Us a Call Today. We are Here to Help
Proving a car crash was staged can be challenging. You will need to thoroughly investigate the crash and gather strong evidence. Law enforcement may have their own case against those involved in staging the crash and they might not share information with your Lafayette car crash lawyer.
At Galloway Jefcoat, we have been securing compensation for car crash victims for decades. We have obtained millions on behalf of our clients.
There are no upfront fees or legal obligations, and the initial consultation is free of charge.
Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call (337) 984-8020.