What is a Staged Car Accident?

February 26, 2021

Vehicle accidents are not uncommon throughout the state of West Virginia. Each year, thousands of people are injured, and many lose their lives as a result of vehicle collisions in this state. In general, most vehicle collisions are the result of the careless or negligent actions of one or more drivers. However, there are also situations when a vehicle accident may not be an actual “accident.” There are times when vehicle accidents are staged, and this can have major implications for motorists in West Virginia. 

A Staged Accident – Cash for Crash

The term “cash for crash” is another way of saying “staged accident.” Much like the name implies, a staged accident is one that is purposely set up by one or more parties. Perpetrators of stage accidents typically have one goal in mind – to secure as much compensation as possible in an insurance settlement for fake or exaggerated injuries or property damage. Stage accidents in West Virginia can take many forms, including the following:

  • A faked vehicle collision 
  • Fake injuries after a crash
  • Fake accident reports
  • Fake eyewitnesses
  • Fake victims

In some cases, a staged accident involves only one perpetrator. However, there are times when perpetrators of these incidents involve other people who carefully plan out and perfect the ability to make a staged accident look real. 

There are various ways that accidents can be staged. This can include:

  • Drivers intentionally slamming their brakes in front of another vehicle
  • Multiple vehicles boxing a driver in to force a collision 
  • Pedestrians or bicyclists purposely running into a vehicle and then claiming the vehicle struck them

What to Do if You Suspect a Staged Car Accident

There are countless scenarios that perpetrators can use to stage vehicle accidents. If you have been involved in a crash that you suspect was staged, you need to call 911 as soon as possible to ensure police come to the scene. Let the police officer know that you suspect something is wrong with the situation. If you are able to do so, get your phone out and take as many photographs as possible. This includes photos of any damages or injuries, as well as the overall vehicle accident scene. 

  • Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the incident
  • Obtain the name and driver’s license number of any other driver involved 
  • Write down a physical description of the other drivers and passengers
  • Write down all vehicle and insurance information 

Contact a Car Accident Attorney Immediately

If you or somebody you care about has been involved in a vehicle collision and you believe that the incident was staged by another party, you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. A Martinsburg car accident lawyer will be able to get involved early and help you through this entire process. An attorney can use their resources to thoroughly investigate the case and help determine liability. This can include gathering evidence, such as:

  • Video or photo surveillance of the incident
  • Statements from actual eyewitnesses
  • Police reports

Additionally, an attorney can hire an accident reconstruction expert to help piece together the entire crash and provide testimony to insurance carriers or a personal injury jury about what actually happened. Just because an accident may be staged does not mean that it is not real. These incidents can lead to real injuries and significant property damage, and it is crucial that every step of the process is handled appropriately. 


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