How Can I Ensure That I Won’t Get Scammed After a Car Accident?
Car accidents are a common situation in which scammers, con artists, and other unscrupulous people will prey on victims’ vulnerabilities. People are often upset in the aftermath of a collision, and they will be more easily persuaded by tactics that rely on emotions like guilt, fear, or a desire to make a bad situation go away quickly.
The good news is that by using a few simple techniques, you can dramatically reduce your chances of falling victim to a car accident-related scam. You can also always rely upon an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer who can represent you and advise you in the aftermath of a car crash, especially one that results in a personal injury.
Always Report Your Car Accident, No Matter What
The first thing you should do during a car accident is to call 911 to report the collision and any injuries sustained in the crash. Request an ambulance for anyone who seems to be seriously hurt, and remain at the location unless otherwise advised or unless you feel you are in imminent danger.
A common trick scammers will use is to discourage their victims from reporting an accident. They may try to persuade the individual by saying that police won’t be able to help them, or they may guilt the victim by claiming they have outstanding warrants or some other reason to avoid police.
Regardless of what another individual may say, it is always in your best interests to report an accident. This is especially true if the accident happened on a highway or public road or if you feel any sort of pain after the collision.
Never Make an under-the-table Payout
Another common tactic con artists will use is to convince you that paying them cash out-of-pocket at the accident scene is the best way to handle the accident’s damages. They may tempt you with a sum that’s far lower than the likely cost of repairs. They may also pressure you by talking about the time delays and other difficulties associated with a claim, not to mention the fact that your premiums will go up.
There are several great reasons never to give in and offer cash at the scene of a collision. The biggest is that the person can simply pocket the money with no record of the transaction, which opens you up to an insurance claim on top of your generous payout. Second, even if you are concerned about whether you are at fault, the truth is an investigation can come to another conclusion, meaning you made a payout before you weren’t legally compelled to.
Do Provide Necessary Aid, But Don’t Get Overinvolved
Everyone is expected to render some amount of aid to others at an accident scene. That largely refers to a duty to check on others’ injuries and call an ambulance for them if they are not able. If you have any medical training, you can render some form of first aid. You may also be called upon to help someone who’s trapped, but avoid moving anyone with possibly serious head, neck, or spinal injuries.
Rendering aid at the accident scene is one thing, but be wary of providing a stranger with other assistance. That includes giving them a ride or following them to another location. Do not provide them with your cell phone, which could be used to obtain your sensitive data, including banking information. Offer to call someone for them instead.
Generally, keep your wits about yourself, and try not to put yourself in a situation where you are too vulnerable to someone who may not be what they seem.
Don’t Get Over-Emotional, Focus on the Facts and What’s Needed Next
You have your own things to take care of in the wake of an accident, so don’t let someone who is being emotional bait you into getting sidetracked. Scammers can often act more hurt than they are, or they can act in a threatening manner to scare you into complying. In any event, focus on what you need to do: report the accident, seek medical attention, and start talking with insurers about a possible claim.
Never admit fault at the accident scene or openly accuse someone else of fault. Do relay the most important facts about the accident, especially if you observed the other driver committing some sort of dangerous or suspicious behavior.
Keeping focused and in control of your emotions can reduce the chances that you are manipulated into saying or doing something that’s against your best interests.
Never Accept Professional Services From Passers-By
Another common scheme involves approaching individuals who have just been in an accident and offering “convenient” professional services — or a referral to a services provider. People posing as lawyers, insurers, or even legitimate tow truck providers could all be interested in stealing your private information or your vehicle. They may also be interested in signing you up for phony services that do little other than charge you high amounts for nothing.
Always politely decline these services or recommendations. Seek out your own professional service provider, as needed, or as suggested by your insurer. You should also always consider hiring your own Tampa car accident attorney to provide you with advice and representation during any injury claims.
Talk to a Tampa Car Accident Attorney to Make the Right Moves
It can be difficult to “get your head on straight” after you have been banged up in a collision. You may also be feeling frazzled by an individual who may be trying to manipulate you. In these situations, hiring your own attorney can give you clear, objective guidance based on decades of experience.
We at Darrigo & Diaz have seen many scams in connection with car accident claims, and we also know what tactics help our clients seek out any needed compensation. When you are injured and worried that you may have been taken for a proverbial ride, reach out to attorneys who can help you make the best of your situation.
Call (813) 774-3341 or contact us online today to schedule a free case review over the phone or in person.