Even if you’re driving carefully and responsibly on the road, sometimes other drivers can make choices that put you or others in danger. For example; maybe someone starts to drift into your lane as you’re driving on a highway, forcing you to move the opposite way to prevent a crash. Or maybe someone driving in front of you hits their brakes unexpectedly, causing you to either brake hard and hope you don’t get into a rear end accident or swerve off the road to avoid them.
In either scenario, there’s a chance you could hit another driver and cause an accident while trying to avoid the first one. If this happens, how does the law respond?
What Happens If You Cause an Accident While Avoiding Another?
In some cases, the driver who caused you to swerve pulls over afterward. Or, maybe they still made contact with your car — they hit you — even though you were trying to swerve to avoid them. Either way, if they are around after the scene or involved in the accident, that’s actually in your favor. It means one more person there who can confirm what happened, and in many cases, it may mean that they are at fault and can be held liable. You should talk to a car accident lawyer and pursue it like any other accident claim.
But not all swerve accidents are that simple. For example; if another driver caused you to crash into someone or something other than their vehicle, it’s known as a no-contact car accident. This situation can be frustrating because the first driver (known as a phantom driver in this situation, because they caused harm and disappeared) may drive away after you swerved, not even realizing they caused your accident. You could be left with car damages or injuries and not know where to turn or how to prove it was the phantom driver’s fault.
However, there are still steps you can take. Right after the accident happens, here’s what you should do:
- Call 911 as soon as possible to report the accident to police.
- Also, get any necessary medical attention you or other parties involved in the accident right away.
- Look for any eyewitnesses who saw the phantom driver cause you to swerve and cause the crash. Get their full name, phone number, address, and written statements of what they saw. This is very important for a case like this.
- Try to gather and remember as many details as you can about the phantom driver’s vehicle—such as license plate number, make, model, and color of the car, and anything else you noticed about the driver’s appearance.
These steps won’t guarantee that you’re able to hold the true at-fault driver responsible, but they make it substantially easier to attempt to do so — and they bolster your chances if you are the one being blamed instead.
What Do I Need to Prove a “Phantom Driver” Caused My Accident?
Here’s how the state of Georgia approaches no-contact car accidents:
- If you were hit or almost hit by a phantom driver whose carelessness caused you to swerve and crash, your insurance company should treat the phantom driver the same as an uninsured motorist as long as uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) was purchased as part of your insurance coverage.
- To prove the situation was as you say and pursue coverage, Georgia law requires you prove either physical damage to the victim’s car (as evidence of the accident) or eyewitness testimony from someone who saw the accident. These conditions are in place to prevent anyone from making fraudulent claims for compensation.
- It’s important to provide as much evidence as you can to support your case. Keep in mind the insurance company may try to point out weaknesses in your evidence to avoid paying out your claim.
If you or others were injured in an accident cause by a phantom driver, it may be harder to get the coverage you need to cover your damages. It’s best to discuss the matter with a trusted hit and run lawyer. They can help determine if you can seek financial recovery for what the other driver caused.
Were you at fault for an accident that you didn’t cause? At John Foy & Associates, we’re here to help. Reach out to us for a FREE consultation about your situation and how to move forward after the accident. Call 404-400-4000, or complete the form to the right for your free consultation.