Induced accidents are often referred to as “crash for cash”, slam ons” or even (incorrectly) “staged accidents”.
Fraud including induced accidents costs the Insurance industry millions of pounds each year and this cost is passed on to law-abiding policyholders.
Drivers can also be the victim of an induced accident, which makes it look as if the perpetrator of the induced accident is the innocent party in a vehicle collision.
The policyholder who is the true innocent victim, is likely to suffer the inconvenience of needing to repair their vehicle and managing without the vehicle whilst it is undergoing repair, a loss of no claims bonus and a fault claim on their insurance record.
Policyholders need to be mindful of the fraudster.
The following advice minimizes the chances of being involved in a fraudulent accident.
Keep your distance.
Keeping a safe distance will reduce your risk of running into the back of somebody, by allowing a greater stopping distance. Make sure you can see the tarmac below the tyres of the vehicle in front.
Beware of Tailgaters.
By forcing you to concentrate on the car behind, the criminals will attempt to take your eyes of the car in front of you. The car in front is “in on the act” and will likely brake suddenly, forcing you to hit the back of them, because your concentration was on the vehicle behind.
Always look for brake lights.
Non- functioning lights can be a ploy to trap unsuspecting motorists. Take extra care in traffic until you are certain that the vehicle in front has fully operational brake lights. If a car looks to be slowing quickly and the brake lights are not illuminated, give that particular vehicle plenty of room.
Take extra care at roundabouts or areas where there is stop-start congestion.
Hectic roundabouts, especially at rush hour, can be an ideal opportunity for induced accidents. A typical example is where there is a gap and you are keen to follow, the car in front suddenly brakes and you follow – into the back of their car. Try not to rush at roundabouts and be wary of what the car in front is doing.
Beware of cars rapidly pulling out of junctions and then braking in front of you.
Be extra aware if you are a commercial vehicle owner.
Commercial vehicle owners are targeted as there is a high probability of the vehicle being fully insured and a company may be less likely to contest a claim. One scam involves two cars and a larger commercial vehicle. A car will drive in front of the commercial vehicle, and the second car will intentionally sway into the path of the car, forcing it to brake and the commercial vehicle to go into the back of the car in front.
Take extra care when in lanes.
Motorways and dual carriageways always require drivers to be extra diligent, but it is always worth being conscious of the middle lane. A car can deliberately pull from the outside lane (fast lane) and cause you to swerve into another car.
If you have been involved in an accident and hit the back of another vehicle, then do not panic.
If you are remotely suspicious then be as vigilant as possible. Report the incident in detail to the police as soon as possible, think about taking photographs of vehicle damage (as damage may be done to the vehicle after the event to make it look like the impact was much higher, thus allowing for a greater compensation claim as more damage was caused) and take the full details of the other party. Let your insurer know that you believe the accident was caused deliberately, and tell them why you think so.
For further details, we attach links to the City of London Police and the Insurance Fraud Bureau websites.
City of London Police
Insurance Fraud Bureau