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What Is a Phantom Driver?
Everything You Need to Know

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Filing an insurance claim can be challenging if you're the victim of a hit-and-run or another type of accident where you have limited information about who caused it.

As an experienced personal injury lawyer, I have worked on cases that involved phantom drivers' car accidents and gathered all the necessary information so that you will know how to handle this type of situation.

Quick Summary

  • Getting compensation without the proper evidence can be difficult if the phantom driver doesn't have insurance.
  • Even if you have someone who saw what happened and evidence of the damage, the insurance company does not match up with what you said.
  • Accidents caused by drivers who leave the scene are treated the same as accidents caused by drivers who stay at the scene.

What Is a Phantom Driver?

An image of a man inside a car who is driving fastA phantom driver is a driver who causes an actual collision without being physically involved with any other vehicles; they come and go much like a ghost [1].

Some phantom drivers aren't aware that they caused the accident and keep driving.

If the phantom driver leaves the scene, then they are usually unidentifiable. Any car accident that phantom drivers cause is treated the same as hit-and-run accidents--also known as a miss-and-run.

Is the Phantom Driver Liable for Damages?

Yes, the phantom driver is liable for damages. If the phantom driver does not stop, and their actions are directly responsible for the car accident, they are the legally at-fault driver. 

That means they would be responsible for any injuries or other accident damages. The problem is that you need identifying information to file an insurance claim with the phantom driver's insurance provider.

Can You Seek Compensation After a Phantom Car Accident?

An image of a man who is complaining to the police over a phone callYes, you can seek compensation after a phantom car accident. Even though phantom driver accidents are more complicated, you can still recover compensation after being in an accident caused by a phantom driver.

If a phantom driver caused you to lose control of your vehicle in a hit-and-run accident and suffered injuries, you might be able to claim damages.

A car accident lawyer can help you find the phantom driver by evidence left at the crime scene.

4 Things To Do If a Phantom Driver Hits You

Things you can to take after a phantom driver accident

If you find yourself in a no-contact crash caused by a phantom driver, call 911 and file a police report. If you've experienced any serious injuries, get medical attention immediately. While waiting for the police to arrive at the accident scene, here are some things you can do.

1. Write Down All Information

Make sure to write down as many details as you can remember about the crash and the other car, including but not limited to: 

  • The driver's appearance
  • The make of their car 
  • The vehicle's license plate number 
  • Anything else that stands out. Also, be prepared to explain in detail how exactly they caused your accident.

2. Take Photos

If you can, take pictures of the car before they leave the scene. It can be beneficial to have visual documentation. Make sure to get shots of all the damage done to the vehicle and any personal injuries resulting from the collision.

3. Seek for and Talk to Witnesses

If there are witnesses, speak with them and ask about what they saw. They might have observed extra information about the at-fault driver you didn't notice.

4. Communicate Your Crash to Your Insurance

Generally, you have to speak with your car insurance provider about the phantom car accident within 24 hours. This will help make sure that your insurance claim is approved without any issues by your own insurance company.

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Other Things to Keep in Mind

An image of a witness telling her testimony to a cop

If the other driver who hit you is never found, don't worry. You may still be able to get compensated, but you need to know what your options are and what to expect.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage for a Phantom Driver Accident

Your own auto insurance company usually covers phantom car accidents caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. You are most likely protected if you have not explicitly opted out of this coverage.

The downside is that your own insurance provider might not cover your damages entirely, and you will need evidence to support your claim. Your insurer may also try to find ways to deny your claim or drag out the processing time.

Proving Your Accident Happened

To show that a phantom driver was the cause of your miss-and-run accident, you will need evidence in the form of the following:

  • Testimonies from those who saw the accident happen.
  • Any physical damage that your car has suffered from due to the accident.

Your insurance company and other insurers will do all they can to avoid paying an accident claim. If you seek UIM coverage through your insurer, aim to provide the most substantial evidence possible.

"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. "
- Mark Breyer, Attorney

FAQs

How Do I Defend Myself If I Am Involved in a Phantom Vehicle Accident?

If you are involved in a phantom vehicle accident, you will need to defend yourself with the help of a personal injury attorney. This will ensure that your auto insurance carrier approves your claim.

How Do I File a Phantom Vehicle Claim?

To file a phantom vehicle claim, try to get a description of the other vehicle. This includes the color, make, model, and tag number. Stay at the scene until the police arrive. You will need an accident report filled out. 

How Do I File A Phantom Vehicle Claim?

To file a phantom vehicle claim, try to get a description of the other vehicle. This includes the color, make, model, and tag number. Stay at the scene until the police arrive. You will need an accident report filled out. 

Do You Need Help Following a Phantom Driver Accident?  

If you're in a no-contact accident involving a hit-and-run driver or if the other driver is uninsured, you may feel like you're facing an uphill battle. 

Fortunately, the experienced car accident lawyers at Schmidt & Clark can help guide you through this challenging time and get you on the path to full financial recovery in a free consultation.

Our personal injury lawyers your case and work tirelessly to help you get the best possible outcome so that you can focus on what's important: healing from your severe injuries.


References:

  1.  https://definitions.uslegal.com/p/phantom-vehicle/

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