If you're involved in a car accident, it's important to take certain steps to make sure you're not a victim of fraud and scams. There are many different ways people can pull a fast one on you, but if you follow these measures, you will most certainly save a lot of money and stress. Here are 5 tips to avoid scams after a wreck.
Count the People in the Car - One of the most popular auto insurance scams is known as "The Phantom Victim". Sometimes a person will file a personal injury claim with your insurance company, the only problem is, they weren't even in the car. It's important to count the number of people who were actually in the other car so that scammers are unable to falsify an additional injured passenger. Be sure to also gather each of their names and contact information, so that you can help thwart this scam if it comes into play.
Take Pictures of All Vehicles - While you're waiting for the police and tow truck to arrive, use your time wisely to photo document the damage inflicted on both vehicles. This will help you out later on if the other party claims that you caused damage to a section of the car that was already there. Having photographic proof and an accurate record of the wreckage will make the process a lot smoother and will prevent you from possibly paying more damage costs than you should.
Be Aware of Tow Trucks - Believe it or not, the drivers on the other end of the accident aren't the only ones who can scam you. Be sure to watch out for suspicious tow truck drivers that arrive at the scene without having been called. They will most likely try to convince you to use a recommended clinic for your injuries as well as a particular lawyer or body shop. However, this is all a scam to try and get your information in order to file false insurance claims on your behalf. To avoid this, make sure you call a trusted tow truck service so that you know where they're taking your vehicle.
Get a Written Estimate - When it comes time to repair your vehicle, get a written estimate for the damages and make sure the body shop calls you for authorization before conducting any repairs. Some shops may charge you for other repairs that don't exist as well as put counterfeit parts in your car to save money on their end. Be sure that you research or get recommendations from friends and family to avoid dealing with these shady body shops.
Avoid Aggressive Attorneys - After your accident, you may get a lot of phone calls from shady attorneys who wish to represent you so they can suck every dollar out of you that they can. If you do work with an attorney, be sure to once again get a family or friend's recommendation for someone who is trustworthy and have all of the claim checks made out directly to you.
Before putting these helpful tips to good use, make sure that you're covered. Give us a call to make sure that your auto insurance policy is up to date and you've got the best rate and coverage possible!