Getting run off the road by another vehicle, and getting into an accident, as a result, can be very dangerous. No matter how you crash afterward, you may face serious injuries and vehicle damage. What’s worse, the motorist might be a “phantom driver” who doesn’t stop or even realize they caused your crash.
If you crashed after someone ran you off the road, there are important details applying to this situation you need to know. Compared to two-car collisions where the at-fault driver is known and present, the way you make a claim for damages in a single-car collision can be much more complicated.
Identifying the At-Fault Driver
Knowing who ran you off the road in the first place is a huge help. If that driver stopped or was identified, and especially if they admit fault, it can be extremely helpful to your case. In a personal injury accident like this, you need to know the at-fault party so you can file a claim against their insurance company for your costs.
Unfortunately, a lot of single-car collisions (also known as no-contact car accidents) are caused by a driver who didn’t stop. Although it’s illegal to leave an accident scene, many times the driver was distracted and didn’t even notice they made you run off the road and crash. The damage was done, and they were gone quickly. When this happens, there is no person to assign fault to—and it can be very frustrating.
Talking to Witnesses
When the driver is not fully known, having eyewitness testimony can be vital to your case. Someone else could have noticed identifying details about the driver or their vehicle that you didn’t—or they can provide an account of what happens that mirrors your own.
Basically, a witness’s story can help prove what happened—because the proof is very important in an accident claim.
After your crash, if you can, look for any witnesses you can talk to. Get their full name, phone number, and email address. Ask if they would be willing to tell police what they saw and help you with your claim. Your car accident lawyer can also reach out to them for more information later.
How the Insurance Company Handles Single-Car Crashes
If you aren’t able to identify or locate the phantom driver, your insurance company will usually treat them the same way as an uninsured driver. That means your policy’s uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) might apply.
You do not have to carry UIM coverage, but all insurance companies are required to offer it to you. Unless you specifically denied it or unchecked a box online when purchasing your policy, you probably have this coverage.
In a single-car collision without any contact between vehicles, it can be hard to prove to the insurance company that another driver caused the accident. They usually require proof to prevent policyholders from fraudulently making a claim for an accident that was actually their fault. While that makes sense, insurers will also look for ways to place blame on you even if you had no fault in the crash.
You might be required to provide confirmation of the crash from an eyewitness, as mentioned above. In some situations, this witness might have to be an independent third party that isn’t a friend, spouse, or family member or wasn’t a passenger in your vehicle. This is why it’s so important to talk to anyone who may have seen the accident happen and ask for their account.
Gathering More Evidence of Your Crash
Besides gathering information from independent eyewitnesses, there are other ways you can compile evidence of your no-contact accident:
- If you were run off the road near a local business, some of them might have video surveillance. You can ask for their video footage in case it was caught on camera.
- Take pictures of everything, including your injuries and your vehicle damage. If the other driver’s car did come into contact with your own before you ran off the road, take pictures of where the contact happened.
- Take pictures of the accident scene itself and any identifying landmarks or businesses.
- Jot down anything you can remember about the driver’s vehicle appearance (especially license plate) and how the driver looked themselves.
- Call a car accident lawyer. They can help you build a stronger case and utilize all your options.
An experienced attorney can draw on their resources to help your case. Sometimes, analyzing the damage patterns to your vehicle, reconstructing an accident, or asking witnesses the right questions can help prove your case. A lawyer will also help you deal with your insurance company if they are trying to say you caused your accident.
Get Legal Help After Someone Ran You Off the Road
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping Georgia car accident victims win the financial recovery they deserve for more than 20 years. We know how frustrating it can be to crash because of someone else’s negligence, especially if the other driver doesn’t stop. But we can help—starting with a FREE consultation to evaluate your case and your options. Call us today at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form on this page to get started with your free consultation.