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Staged car accidents: How not to become a victim

Imagine if you could go for a leisurely drive and do one small thing to have an extra $10,000 or $20,000 in your pocket. Some unscrupulous individuals do this by "staging" car accidents. Unfortunately, the victims of staged car accidents can sometimes get hurt and even face inappropriate blame for collisions.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), during one two-year period, suspected staged car accidents rose by 46.3 percent. When these accidents happen, the "stager" will try to collect money to repair his or her vehicular damage and pay for any related medical care. This money is usually kept by the "victim" and not used to pay for such damages.

5 ways to prevent a staged accident

Here are five things you can do prevent becoming the victim of a staged car accident:

Don't tailgate: The swoop and squat staged crash is one that involves someone who swoops in front of you, cuts you off and slams on his or her brakes. This will cause you to hit the person from behind, often causing you to be at fault for the crash. The accident stager might even have extensive damage to the back of the car before your collision, and try to blame that damage on you. To avoid this kind of incident, never tailgate and be alert to provide plenty of space between you and the vehicles in front of you.

Always call the police: Even if the damage appears to be small, always call the police to prevent the stager from damaging his or her vehicle more at a later time.

Film and photograph everything: Use the camera on your phone to film, photograph and document everything after a collision. Pay attention to any damage to the vehicles and any injuries suffered by drivers and passengers.

Be wary of witnesses: Sometimes witnesses are there to support the stager who will not be truthful with police.

Watch out for unknown tow-truck drivers: Only use a tow truck driver from the company that you called. An unknown tow-truck driver might be helping the scam artist.

When someone tries to make it look like you're at fault

The biggest problem with staged car accidents is the fact that the stagers make it look like the victims were at fault for the collision, when in fact they were not. This is problematic because victims may have a hard time holding the true at-fault party responsible for the costs of medical care and other damages.

If you've suffered injuries in an accident, and the other party is trying to make it look like it was your fault, make sure you take swift action to protect your legal rights.

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