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Staged accidents are just that — “accidents” that are staged. Often orchestrated by sophisticated crime rings, these intentional collisions are planned to make it look like an insured driver is at fault when, in reality, the insured driver was “set up” by the seemingly victimized party/parties.
1. Will a party receive penalties for staging an accident?
Yes. Staged accidents are extremely dangerous and subject the individual or group who organized the collision to various penalties.
The most common charge filed with these accidents is Penal Code 548 PC, California’s auto insurance fraud law. If convicted of auto insurance fraud under PC 548, the defendant faces a state prison sentence of up to five years plus an additional and consecutive three to six-year sentence if anyone other than the defendant or an accomplice suffers a serious injury.1
Another charge related to staged accidents is assault with a deadly weapon, per Penal Code 245a1. Under this law, a car qualifies as a deadly weapon and subjects the defendant to four years in the state prison, with the same possible sentencing enhancement if anyone suffers a serious injury.2
2. What happens if someone is killed in a staged accident?
If anyone is killed due to the “accident,” the defendant(s) will face prosecution for vehicular manslaughter, per Penal Code 192c. Vehicular manslaughter carries a possible ten-year prison sentence when committed during a staged accident.3
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.