Determining fault in a miss-and-run accident comes with more challenges than a hit-and-run accident. The people behind these potential no-contact accidents are known as “phantom drivers,” who cause others to get involved in an accident and flee the scene without actually hitting other vehicles, pedestrians, or property.
When It’s Possible to Recover Damages After a Miss-and-Run Accident
While victims of miss-and-run car accidents may be able to seek compensation after a crash, the process is more complicated than that of a hit-and-run accident with clearer liability. Attorneys may be able to assist with locating the phantom driver depending on the level of evidence available at the scene of the accident. Experts such as accident deconstructionists may also be able to help piece the scene together to support a claim.
Liability normally falls on at-fault drivers who cause a car accident. Oftentimes, it’s easier to determine who’s liable when the driver hits another driver or pedestrian, resulting in the accident. However, if a phantom driver causes the accident and leaves the scene without colliding with anything, identifying fault can be more difficult.
Proving Fault in No-Contact Accidents
In some states, accident victims may be able to receive uninsured motorist coverage for accidents when a phantom driver is at fault. On the other hand, even if accident victims have this coverage, it may not cover all damages, and they’ll still need to prove that the phantom driver was at fault. Insurance companies will also typically try to find reasons to deny a claim or minimize the settlement, making it important to be able to prove liability.
When proving that an accident was responsible for any damages such as injuries to passengers, drivers, or pedestrians, claimants will need to provide sufficient evidence. This evidence could include physical damage to the vehicle, injuries resulting from the accident, and eyewitness testimony covering the events of the accident.
While victims may have all of this evidence available to them, they will need to properly organize and maintain it to support their claim. Otherwise, insurers will work to avoid covering the damages, potentially by claiming that victim testimony is inadequate or conflicts with other details about the accident.
The Importance of Identifying the Phantom Driver
One of the main reasons it’s important to track down the phantom driver and prove liability is because of potential issues with other drivers. If a victim of a miss-and-run accident winds up hitting another driver while swerving to avoid the phantom driver, that other driver may wish to file a claim against the other victim. Identifying the phantom driver is crucial for victims to prove their lack of liability and avoid getting sued by others.
To help determine liability in a miss-and-run accident when a phantom driver is involved, it’s best to begin discussing the driver as soon as possible after the accident. For example, victims can mention the driver to police when filing a police report, including any details they recall about the vehicle and driver. They can also discuss the driver with medical professionals and witnesses.
If individuals can prove that a phantom driver caused an accident, they’ll have a much stronger case when seeking compensation.