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What Is a Phantom Driver?

By stladmin on November 13, 2020

Driving along the rural roads and highways of Wyoming puts you at risk for any number of collisions, from dangerous rollovers with oil trucks to being sideswiped by a driver who is texting. In the majority of car crashes, cars will physically hit each other. But what about when a driver swerves and drives you off the road? Are you still eligible to file an insurance claim?

The Problem With Miss-and-Run Accidents

Miss-and-run accidents, also known as phantom driver accidents, are incidents where one driver nearly hits another driver and causes a crash. This can occur when a driver doesn’t check his blind spot while changing lanes on the highway, or when someone tries to overtake you and nearly hits the back of your car. You may slam on your brakes and skid off the road, driving into a ditch, hitting a tree, or colliding with a guardrail.

Sadly, many of these drivers do not realize that someone else was hurt and drive off without stopping to provide assistance, especially if they are on the phone or texting while driving. Miss and runs are very similar to hit and runs, as victims may suffer extensive trauma before someone calls the police or an ambulance. Victims also may have a difficult time discovering who caused their injuries, especially if the accident occurred on an empty road, making it almost impossible to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

While the police will do what they can to investigate your accident and figure out who drove you off the road, there is some information you can provide that may help, including:

  • The other driver’s license plate number (even a partial is useful)
  • The make and model of the car
  • The color of the car
  • If it was a commercial vehicle, such as a maintenance van, semi-truck, or rideshare vehicle
  • A description of the driver
  • The contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident
  • Nearby surveillance cameras

One of the major issues with phantom drivers is that they are rarely ever caught, which may severely impact your ability to file a claim.

Does Insurance Cover Miss-and-Run Accidents?

When you are involved in a car accident, you can typically file an auto accident claim with the other driver’s insurance company. To do that, you will first need to get their insurance information and show how the driver injured you. Typically, you can prove this through an accident report from the police, your medical records, and photos of your damaged vehicle.

If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, however, the process can be far more complicated. Unless the police catch the driver who hit you, you have to file a claim with your own insurance company. Wyoming state law requires all drivers to have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, which is designed to cover your injuries when you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance. These policies also apply to hit and runs.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for miss and runs. One of the requirements for filing a UM claim is that the other driver actually hit your vehicle. If the driver ran you off the road without touching your car, then you would be unable to file a claim.

Miss-and-run accidents are one of the most complicated scenarios that you can be involved in. Being run off the road is incredibly scary and can result in catastrophic injuries. However, if the police can find the driver who hit you, then you can still file a claim against their insurance company. Given that their actions put you at risk and caused the accident, they would still be liable for driving negligently, even though they did not hit you.

If you or someone you love were injured by a negligent driver, you should immediately reach out to Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. Our Gillette car accident attorneys have years of experience representing clients throughout Campbell County and can thoroughly explain all of your options. To discuss your case with a compassionate and dedicated team of attorneys, call our office at (307) 257-7800.

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Posted in: Car Accidents

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