Beware of Staged Auto Accidents in New York

Author: Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP

In May of this year, the state of New York indicted eight people for staged auto accident conspiracy.  According to the indictment, the defendants staged auto accidents and later falsely claimed physical injuries as a result of the accidents.

According to the charges, from March 2009 through July 2011, the defendants rented U-Haul trucks and drove with one or more co-conspirators posing as passengers.  They drove to locations in Kings and Nassau Counties where they either intentionally hit or were hit intentionally by vehicles driven and occupied by other co-conspirators.

After the accidents, the defendants then sought medical treatment for injuries they claimed to have suffered during the staged accidents.  The defendants later filed fraudulent insurance claims of over two million dollars, and allegedly collected on over a million dollars in payment for their claimed injuries and medical treatment.

Staged auto accidents put NY drivers at risk

Staged auto accidents can be tantamount to being forced into a game of bumper cars by fraudsters seeking to enrich themselves at your expense.  The most common types of staged auto accidents include:

•  Sideswipe.  While making a left turn from a dual-turn lane, your vehicle drifts slightly into the other lane for a moment.  The driver in the other left-turn lane intentionally sideswipes you, then accuses you of reckless driving.
•  Drive down.  While attempting to merge into freeway traffic, a driver waves you forward, but instead of letting you in, the driver deliberately crashes into your vehicle and blames you for the accident.
•  The wave.  While attempting to change lanes, another driver gestures you over.  Just as you complete the lane change, the driver hits your vehicle.
•  Swoop and squat.  A car suddenly pulls up in front of you, then slams on the brakes, causing an intentional rear-end crash.
•  T-Bone.  You cautiously drive through an intersection when a waiting driver intentionally slams into your vehicle.  The driver then tells the police  you ran the stop sign.

The best way to avoid a staged accident is to drive defensively and observe the following tips:

•  Do not tailgate.  Leave plenty of distance between your car and the vehicle directly in front of you.  By doing so you have more time to slow down if something unexpected happens.
•  Look ahead.  Traffic patterns often change quickly.  Look down the road for signs of sudden shifts in traffic flow and respond accordingly.
•  Do not multitask.  The time for multitasking is not when you are behind the wheel.  Refrain from talking or texting on your cell phone or any other activity that takes your eyes and attention from the road.
•  Use common sense.  If another driver signals you for no apparent reason, you have no obligation to respond.  Or if you notice erratic or odd behavior from another driver, pull over or drop back to avoid engaging with that driver.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has been a victim of a staged auto accident in New York, you should talk to a personal injury attorney immediately.  Arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck to discuss the details of your accident.