Rogers car accident lawyerWhile being involved in a car accident is bad enough when the at-fault driver leaves the scene of the accident it only becomes more complicated. Many clients become concerned that their auto insurance coverage does not apply to a hit and run, or “phantom vehicle,” claim.  What makes the situation more difficult is when a careless driver runs you off the road but never actually collides with your vehicle.  These kinds of personal injury claims can be problematic to prove.  You can still successfully bring these types of claims with help from a Rogers car accident lawyer.

What does the term phantom vehicle mean?

The term “phantom vehicle” is used by many insurance companies to refer to the situation where neither the driver nor the vehicle involved in an accident can be identified. This situation usually arises in hit and run accidents, where the other car drives away from the accident scene before the vehicle could be identified.  The term phantom vehicle can also refer to a situation where a motorist claims to have been run off the road by another car, which could not be identified. If you are involved in this type of situation, you should seek the advice of a Rogers car accident lawyer.

Insurance companies are particularly wary of phantom vehicle claims

In theory, a hit and run accident should be covered by uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, applies to situations where someone is involved in an automobile accident and the person who is at fault, either does not have insurance or does not have sufficient insurance, to fully compensate the injured party.  In a hit and run, since the other driver cannot be identified, there is no insurance coverage available to cover the claim.
In most states, uninsured motorist laws assume that, when an unidentified motorist causes an accident and flees the scene, that vehicle was uninsured. This is great for consumers because the accident should be covered under an uninsured motorist insurance policy. However, many insurance companies insist that, when the vehicle is unidentified, there must at least be some minimum physical contact with your vehicle in order to be covered.  Their argument is that, without proof of a collision, a driver could simply lose control of their vehicle and make a claim for uninsured motorist coverage.  These tricky claims are best handled by a Rogers car accident lawyer.

How to prove a phantom vehicle claim?

It is pretty clear why these types of claims are usually difficult to prove. In most cases, you have a 50-50 chance of being compensated for your injuries and other losses if you cannot identify the other driver involved in your car accident. That does not necessarily mean that the chances are that much better when you can identify the other driver.  In those cases, the other driver will most likely allege that you were at fault and responsible for his or her damages.  Either way, there is a lot to prove.
So, how do you prove your case if the at-fault driver leaves the accident scene without stopping? In that situation, finding witnesses to corroborate your version of the events can be crucial to making your case.  If anyone stops to help you after the accident, make sure you obtain that person’s contact information.  You will likely need to get their testimony to prove your claim. Talk to your Rogers car accident lawyer for more information.

The basic duties of a driver involved in a car accident

Not only are there duties for drivers when traveling on the roadway, there are also certain duties when a driver is involved in an automobile accident.  If the accident resulted in an injury, the uninjured driver is normally required to, at the very least, call 911 to report the accident.  It is also necessary for the parties involved in the accident to exchange contact and auto insurance information.  Obviously, in order to fulfill these duties, the drivers involved in the accident must stay at the accident scene.

Possible legal consequences of leaving the scene of an accident

There can be more serious legal consequences for leaving the scene of an accident, than merely a personal injury lawsuit.  In many states, there are also possible criminal consequences.  Being familiar with the hit and run laws in your state will make it easier to understand how to pursue your claims.  Also, in some states, a hit and run accident is considered morally reprehensible, because of the understanding we should all have regarding our legal responsibilities at the scene of an accident.  In those cases, punitive damages may also be available for the victim, even if the accident itself was unintentional.  If you find yourself in these situations, contact a car accident lawyer for assistance.
If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury issues in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation, either online or by calling toll-free at (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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