Phantom Vehicle Insurance Claims
Automobiles that are responsible for causing accidents without making physical contact are known as “phantom” vehicles, and they pose a serious threat. Most drivers will, at some point, find themselves in a situation on the road where they are compelled to make a risky maneuver due to the recklessness of another driver. They may have to suddenly swerve to miss hitting another vehicle, slam on the brakes, or veer quickly to the shoulder in an attempt to avoid an accident.
Sometimes these maneuvers pay off and a serious accident is averted. Other times, the worst happens: a collision still occurs, and the driver responsible is nowhere in sight. How do you file a claim against a vehicle that has disappeared? In Colorado, you have a couple options for seeking a settlement for a phantom vehicle accident.
Filing a Phantom Vehicle Accident Claim in Colorado
Most insurance companies treat phantom vehicle accidents in the same manner as “hit and run” accidents. This is something of a misnomer, since a phantom vehicle by definition will not have made any contact with your vehicle. However, the two situations do share an important factor, which is that the driver has left the scene of the accident.
Regardless of how it is classified, there are a few steps to take immediately following an accident caused by a phantom driver:
1. Get to Safety
Your first priority following any accident should be your safety and the safety of those around you. Make sure you are out of oncoming traffic and call 911, even if you don’t feel you have any injuries.
2. Document What You Can
Phantom accidents can happen quickly, so it can be difficult to note many details about the responsible driver. Do your best to note the make and color of the vehicle, as well as the general direction in which it was heading. Note the speed at which you were traveling as compared to the vehicle who caused the accident. Photograph the damage to your vehicle and any injuries sustained.
3. Look for Witnesses
If more than one vehicle was involved, compare notes with the other drivers. They may have noticed a license plate number or another detail that you missed while you were getting to safety.
4. Call Your Insurance
In some cases, you have as little as 24 hours to file a claim for a phantom vehicle accident. Call your insurance company as soon as possible and provide as many details as you can.
How Does Compensation Work for a Phantom Vehicle Claim?
In some cases, you may simply not have enough details to pursue a claim against another vehicle’s insurance. This can be incredibly frustrating, but you still have the option to file a claim under an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) policy.
While a UM/UIM policy will not pay for damage to your vehicle, it will help pay for medical bills for bodily injury sustained in a phantom vehicle accident. This can help offset unforeseen expenses while you recover.
UM/UIM coverage is optional in Colorado, so it is a good idea to review your insurance and see if your policy includes this kind of coverage. If it does not, it may be wise to add it to your policy to protect you from phantom driving damages and other forms of hit-and-run accidents.
Hiring an Attorney for Phantom Vehicle Accident
A car accident is a frustrating and traumatic event. It can be even more overwhelming when the person at fault refuses to take responsibility, leaving you with the daunting task of proving your claim to an insurance company with little or no information.
If you have been in an accident caused by a phantom vehicle, it is a good idea to hire an experienced car accident attorney. These cases can be complicated, and a good lawyer can help research your case to provide more details to your insurance carrier. Your lawyer will conduct interviews, review police reports, obtain camera footage, and take other steps to gather information that will help you secure a fair settlement when possible.
David Roth is a highly qualified Colorado insurance attorney and has helped hundreds of car accident victims with their claims. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, contact Dave and the Roth Group for a free consultation.