When one vehicle hits another, it can be apparent which driver caused the accident. But what is a no-contact car collision in Georgia? They are a type of accident that occurs without the vehicles touching at all.
In many cases, no-contact crashes are complex. Determining fault is tricky, which makes filing an insurance claim tedious. Our guide below explores the different parties involved in no-contact car accidents and what to do if you are ever in one.
What Is a No-Contact Car Accident in Georgia?
No-contact accidents occur when another driver’s actions result in property damage to your vehicle. The at-fault driver’s vehicle may not make physical contact with your car, but their actions caused you to get into an accident.
Examples of No-Contact Car Accidents in Georgia
Common causes of no-contact vehicle collisions are:
- Failure to signal when merging: A motorist may fail to use their blinkers when merging into your lane. Their unexpected merge causes you to swerve and collide with another vehicle.
- Unexpected braking: A driver drifts into your lane, stops without warning, and causes you to slam on your brakes. But due to the sudden stop, another driver rear-ends your vehicle.
- Failure to yield to right-of-way vehicles: Another driver fails to yield when you have the right of way. You swerve to avoid them, causing you to collide with another car or veer off the road.
These types of vehicle crashes occur when people drive:
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- While distracted (such as texting and driving)
- Over the speed limit
- In inclement weather conditions
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Who Can Be Held Liable in a No-Contact Car Accident in Georgia?
Whether there was direct contact or not, if another person’s negligence or reckless behavior resulted in an accident, they can be held liable. If you can identify the fault driver, you can sue them for financial compensation to recover from your damages.
The liable party in a no-contact car accident is any person who contributed to your collision. This may include:
- Another passenger vehicle driver
- Commercial truck drivers
- Rideshare or taxi drivers
- Public transportation drivers
- Motorcyclists or bicyclists
What If a Phantom Driver Caused My No-Contact Accident?
Sometimes, the driver who caused your collision may not even realize they contributed to your crash. These types of people are known as phantom drivers because they disappear after an accident.
A phantom driver is problematic because, in order to take them to court or pursue damages with their insurance company, you need identification information. But since a phantom driver disappears from the accident scene, you may not have the opportunity to collect their contact details.
Can I Sue for Damages after a No-Contact Car Crash?
Legally, you are entitled to seek financial recovery for your injuries and other property damages if a car accident was not your fault. If the other driver noticed what happened and pulled over after the crash, you can get their name, contact information, and insurance information to submit a claim.
But if the other driver cannot be identified (which is, unfortunately, very common in no-contact car collisions), they would be considered an uninsured or underinsured driver. That means damages would fall under your own auto insurance’s Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) policy.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Unless otherwise requested, your insurance company must provide UM/UIM coverage in the amount equal to the liability insurance limits of your standard policy. For example, if your insurance policy includes the minimum coverage of $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $25,000 in property damage liability per accident, you would have the same amount of UM/UIM coverage.
Most Georgia drivers have UM/UIM coverage. Insurance companies are required to offer it, although drivers can opt-out of the coverage. If you’re unsure if you have a UM/UIM insurance policy, an Atlanta car accident lawyer can examine your plan and help you collect reimbursement for your damages.
A seasoned accident lawyer can also help you research and gather as much evidence as possible about the accident. You’ll need this evidence to prove to your insurer that the accident happened and the use of your UM/UIM policy is justified.
What to Do after a No-Contact Car Collision in Georgia
Since evidence is essential for any car accident claim, you’ll need to gather as much as possible to recover no-contact car accident compensation. Here are some ways you can protect yourself and support your case following a contactless auto collision.
Call the Police
After the accident, pull over and call 911 to report the accident to local police. Law enforcement will document what occurred and file a police report of the accident.
If you happened to get the at-fault driver’s license plate number, give this and any other identifying information to the police officers. A license plate provides essential information that your insurance company will use when evaluating your claim.
Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
Use your phone to snap photos of your injuries, vehicle damage, and the accident scene. If anyone else was injured or suffered property damage, get pictures of that, too.
Find and Speak with Witnesses
Since there was no contact with the driver responsible for the collision, many plaintiffs turn to witnesses. Witness statements can help identify the liable driver and prove how they caused your damages.
If anyone saw the crash happen, collect their contact details and ask them to write down every detail they saw. Witnesses can include:
- Vehicle passengers
- Another person involved in the accident
- Someone walking by the collision when it occurred
- Another driver who saw what happened
Contact a Georgia Car Accident Attorney
If you report the accident to your car insurance company without further information, chances are they will force you to accept fault and won’t offer compensation. But a Georgia car accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim to increase your chances of getting the financial recovery you deserve.
How Long Do I Have to File a No-Contact Accident Claim in Georgia?
Georgia adheres to a two-year statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits. That means you have two years from the date of the no-contact collision to file a claim and pursue compensation from the at-fault driver. However, if you are filing a vehicle damage lawsuit, you have four years to file a claim.
Since various factors influence how long you have to file a no-contact accident claim, it’s best to partner with a skilled Georgia attorney. Legal experts ensure your lawsuit is handled promptly and make sure you collect the compensation you deserve.
Consult with a Georgia Car Accident Lawyer Now
No-contact car accidents are some of the most frustrating auto collisions to experience. While you know the crash was not your fault, it can be challenging to convince your insurer of that truth. But, at John Foy & Associates, we can help.
Our car accident attorneys know what insurance companies are looking for, and we have the resources to uncover the information you might not be able to get on your own. With more than 20 years of helping accident victims get the financial recovery they are entitled to, we know what it takes to win a case. Call us at (404) 400-4000 for a free vehicle accident consultation now.