A “phantom driver” is a driver who causes you to crash without actually hitting or touching your vehicle. For example, they might drift into your lane of traffic, causing you to swerve and avoid collision with their vehicle. As you swerve, you hit another vehicle or run off the road and crash.
A phantom driver is also an unknown driver. This is usually because they didn’t even realize they caused your accident, so they continue driving. The situation is also known as a no-contact car accident or a “miss and run” because it’s like a hit and run accident without actual contact.
Compensation is not impossible after a phantom driver accident, but it is more complicated. Here’s what you can typically expect after an accident is caused by a phantom driver.
What Happens After a Phantom Driver Accident in Georgia?
Normally after a car accident in Georgia, the at-fault driver is legally liable for all damages. For example, if you are hit by another driver whose negligence (or carelessness) led to the collision, you are entitled to file a claim with their insurance for damages.
But when your accident is caused by a driver who doesn’t actually hit you and then leaves the scene, it can be a lot harder to identify the at-fault driver. In this situation, you need to know your options and what you’ll be facing now.
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Uninsured Motorist Coverage for a Phantom Driver Accident
Thankfully, an accident caused by a phantom driver in Georgia is usually covered by uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) through your own auto insurance. (Unless you specifically opted out of this coverage, you probably have it—but you can contact your insurance carrier to be sure.) The downside is that this policy might not cover all of your damages, and you’ll need evidence to support your claim. Unfortunately, your insurer might also look for ways to deny your claim or draw out the time to process it.
Proving Your Accident Happened
To prove that your accident was caused by a phantom driver, Georgia law requires evidence in the form of:
- Eyewitness testimony about how the accident happened or
- Physical damage to your car from the accident.
Insurance companies (including your own insurer) will always look for ways to avoid paying an accident claim. So, if you are seeking UIM coverage through your insurance company, you’ll need to provide evidence that’s as strong as possible.
Even if you have a witness statement and proof of damage, the insurer may try to say your testimony isn’t strong enough or doesn’t add up with your own statement about what happened. It’s important to stay organized and keep track of all the evidence you have from the accident.
Dealing with Another Driver You Hit
If you hit another vehicle after swerving to avoid the phantom driver, that driver will likely have damages too. They may try to file a claim against your insurance for their damages. This is why evidence of the phantom driver is so crucial. Otherwise, you could get blamed for the accident without proof that someone else caused you to swerve.
Start talking about the phantom driver as soon as the accident happens. When you call and file a police report, tell officers about the phantom vehicle and how it caused your accident. Also, mention it to your doctor, the admitting emergency room nurse, and look for witnesses to your accident. If anyone else saw the phantom driver cause your accident, their testimony can help. Note all the details you remember about the driver and their vehicle.
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Do I Need a Lawyer After an Accident Caused By a Phantom Driver?
Since a phantom driver situation can get complicated quickly, it’s best to contact a Georgia car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident happens. They can look at the details of your case and explain the legal options available to you. You should never have to pay for the costs of someone else’s negligence on the road. An experienced attorney will work to speed up the process and push for a settlement that is fair to you.
This is what we can do for you at John Foy & Associates. We have 20+ years of experience working on all types of personal injury cases, from simple to complex. We can give you our expert opinion on what you should do to protect yourself after a Georgia accident caused by a phantom driver. To schedule a FREE consultation and case evaluation with our team, call us today at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form on this page.