Staged accidents are a threat to every driver, but they are especially dangerous for companies with fleet vehicles. These scams open your company to financial dangers while also threatening the safety of your drivers. As a fleet manager, you need to have a plan for both addressing and preventing these incidents.
What are staged accidents?
Staged accidents are scams intended to garner money through insurance fraud. Drivers will use intentionally dangerous actions, such as brake checking other vehicles, to cause collisions. Since the outcomes, such as rear-ending, seem to point to the victim as the culprit, the scammers use these staged accidents to claim compensation.
These schemes are often elaborate, using planted witnesses to verify the scammers’ version of events. They may even carry multiple people in the car to increase the size of the claim. They know what they’re doing and how to find the best targets.
Unfortunately, those are often company vehicles.
Accidents involving fleet trucks and vehicles typically have a much higher payout than those involving individuals. Scammers may choose to sue the company for even more money. Companies may also be more willing to agree to a settlement. These factors leave your drivers at great risk, even when they’re doing everything right.
How fleets can prevent staged accident scams
1. Install dash cams
Video evidence is always the best way to prevent accident fraud. Capturing the events that led to the collision clearly shows what actually happened, placing the full blame on the other driver. This footage is essential when dealing with your insurance company or law enforcement. In cases with fake witnesses, in particular, your dash cam evidence is essential.
2. Get pictures or video
Leaving the vehicle in the position caused by the collision, drivers should use their phones to immediately capture the situation. Take pictures or video of the damage done to both vehicles, the position of the vehicles, and everyone in the scammer’s car. If anyone is faking an injury, you may be able to refute the claims with this evidence. Some scammers will also worsen the damage after the fact for a bigger payout, so the more you record, the better.
3. Follow proper procedures
Your training procedures should include the steps needed in these situations. The first thing every driver should do after an accident is call the police. Next, drivers need to gather the contact information for everyone involved in the crash, including witnesses. No matter how minor the crash or what the other person says, official procedures should be followed.
4. Drive carefully
The best way to prevent staged accidents is to stay vigilant while driving. Look for drivers who are acting recklessly. Avoid risky behaviors such as tailgating or rolling through stop signs. Most of all, remind drivers to stay focused on the road. The quicker you can react to a bad driver, the less likely you are to hit them.