Phantom Drivers: More Than Just Make Believe
While the term “phantom driver” sounds like it’s straight out of a movie, these dangerous drivers are all too real and all too dangerous. The problem is that a phantom driver leaves behind very little evidence, leaving you in a position where you have to prove someone else was at fault for your accident. Never fear, however, as a skilled attorney can help you get the compensation you need.
What Is a Phantom Driver?
Phantom driver accidents, which are also known as miss-and-runs, happen when one car causes another to crash without actually colliding with the other car. For example, you may be driving home one night when a car in the other lane suddenly swerves towards you. You veer out of the way in order to avoid a collision, and, in the process, slam into the guardrail. The force of the hit with the guardrails results in some serious injuries, but before you get the other driver’s information, they speed away, leaving you alone and injured.
The term phantom driver was coined to help describe the phenomenon of one driver causing an accident without actually being physically being involved in the accident themselves. While a responsible or attentive driver would realize their mistake and double back in order to help the driver and passengers they potentially injured, many choose to speed away instead, leaving their victims alone.
When Phantom Drivers Cause Accidents
A phantom driver is just as dangerous as a hit-and-run driver. While the phantom driver may not have physically hit any other vehicles, they were likely still behaving negligently when they caused the accident. And they were certainly behaving negligently when they fled the scene, as leaving the scene of the accident is illegal, whether the driver was physically involved or not. If your accident was caused by a phantom driver, then you should report the incident to the police when you are able to. They will want to catch the perpetrator, as they committed a serious offense.
You can help the police further their investigation by providing certain pieces of evidence. For example, it would help the officer to know:
- The make and model of the car
- The color of the car
- Any distinguishing features of the car (such as dents, scratches, or modifications)
- What the driver looked like
- When and where the accident took place
- The license plate (even just a partial)
- What direction the driver was going, including cross streets
Providing this information, however, does not guarantee that the perpetrator will be caught. Sadly, there is little you can do beyond filing a report to catch the phantom driver. Thankfully, there may still be a way for you to recover compensation.
How to Recover Damages After a Miss and Run
Similar to how a hit-and-run can be covered by your own insurance, if you have an uninsured motorist (UM) policy, you can still recover damages from a phantom driver accident through your own insurance provider. However, this can be difficult, as you will have the burden of proof to contend with.
Insurance companies will want to pay you as little as possible for your settlement. If they can get away with giving you nothing, they will. This means that they are likely to try and blame you for the accident, as a phantom driver will behind less evidence than a hit-and-run, such as impact point, scratched paint, and dents in your car.
However, that doesn’t mean that there is absolutely no evidence that can be collected. When you are involved in a phantom driver accident, you should be sure to:
- Take photos of the accident scene, including tire tracks
- Speak with any eyewitnesses
- Seek out security footage
Be sure to also take photos of any objects that the phantom driver may have collided with, such guardrails, trees, or garbage cans. This kind of evidence can prove to be crucial to your claim. If you have clear evidence, especially eyewitness testimony, it is far more difficult for the insurance company to deny your claim or offer you too low of a settlement.
That being said, you are unlikely to get very far in your claim without the proper representation. Insurance companies, even when presented with evidence, will still fight tooth and nail to make sure that they don’t have to pay you what you deserve. However, with a skilled Phoenix car accident attorney by your side, you are far more likely to get the compensation you need. For compassionate and expert legal help, call Breyer Law Offices, P.C. at (602) 457-6222 today to schedule a free consultation.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer