Phantom cars? No, this isn’t a Scooby Doo edition of my blog. Today, I’m writing about those cars that zoom into or out of traffic, leaving a swath of bedlam in their wake, never to return again. They are called phantom cars and they can wreak havoc on your life when you swerve to avoid an accident. You should know your options if you’re ever the victim of a phantom car accident.
We’ve all been there: You’re driving up I-25 and, out of nowhere, a car careens across traffic to make an exit ramp, or a car speeds down the on-ramp into traffic, blazing away. Meanwhile, causing an accident without hitting any of the cars left behind.. You may have hit another car or even the roadside barrier. You may even have physical injuries because you swerved to avoid the accident! And there’s no one to blame.
Swerve to Avoid Accident Fault
Here is a true story of an accident caused when our client swerved to miss a car: Our client was driving on C-470 when a car came tearing down the on-ramp, cutting in front of our client, who swerved in front of another car, which also swerved in front of a car, which also swerved… you get the idea. It was complete pandemonium.
The driver that caused the accident without hitting any of these cars? Took off and was never found. He or she may not have even know that they caused such damages.
If you are the victim in one of these accidents, it can be hard to understand exactly what your insurance company owes you and what you can ask for. In fact, some of our clients need us to hire an accident reconstructionist to prove that another car was even involved. When there are no witnesses and no “paint swapped” between the phantom car and your car, the burden of proof rests with you.
The truth is, the police may never find the driver of the phantom car that caused the accident. Yet, you still have to deal with damages and injuries. What are your options?
At the Scene of an Accident Caused When You Swerved to Avoid Another Car
- Get out of traffic: It is so easy to get hurt after an accident has occurred. Other drivers are distracted by the scene in front of them and end up clipping people who are walking around or cars that are resting on the road. Get out of the way before you do anything else.
- Gather witnesses: If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you know one of the things you must do immediately – get witnesses! If witnesses and police say that you took evasive action to avoid the phantom car, then you can use your insurance to cover your expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. (We’ll discuss this shortly.)
- Take pictures: After you’ve gathered your witnesses, you should take pictures of the accident scene. These will help investigators to piece together the succession of events that led to the impact.
- File a police report: Always file a police report when you are the victim of an accident.
- Collect insurance: You obviously can’t collect insurance information from the person who caused the accident, but definitely swap insurance information with the other people involved.
After you’ve done all this, it’s time to access your own insurance… if you have the right kind of insurance!
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM): A Must For Phantom Vehicle Accidents
How and why would your own insurance company compensate you for an accident caused by you swerving to avoid an accident? Because you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage… right? If you don’t know what UIM coverage is, stop reading now, pull out your insurance card, and check to see if there is a “U” on it. If not, call your agent immediately and ask to add it to your policy.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage can cover your medical deductibles, lost wages, unpaid medical bills, co-pays and help compensate you for your pain and suffering, plus more. If you don’t have UIM, and the other driver only has $25,000 (the minimum required by the law), you will only get $25,000, which won’t even come close to covering your medical and other expenses.
At a minimum, I recommend that you should have $100,000 UIM coverage. Too often, people don’t carry UIM because they think their healthcare insurance is enough. But that’s not true. First, think of your health insurance deductibles and co-pays. In some severe cases, those expenses alone are enough to stress a person’s finances. Second, health insurance doesn’t cover everything that UIM covers.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance covers:
- Lost wages
- Future medical expenses
- Any damage arising from the accident (with the exception of property damage)
- All economic and noneconomic loss, which includes pain and suffering
Health insurance and UIM insurance are completely different. To learn more about this topic, download my free auto accidents book.
All too often, people in accidents immediately think about what they can get out of the other driver’s insurance company. But, I’m here to tell you that you should think about accessing your own insurance more often than you probably do. (Even as a pedestrian or a biker, you can access your insurance after an accident as long as there was a car involved.)
If you’ve been the victim of a phantom car that caused an accident without hitting you and are confused about how to receive compensation for your injuries or losses, call me today. Chances are, I can quickly help you determine what to do next.
What to Know When Choosing Between Personal Injury Firms — If only a paralegal returns your calls, it’s a good sign your attorney has no idea who you are.
Medical Payment Coverage: Insurance Companies’ Latest Trick — They are even disputing claims that they should pay automatically within one year of an accident.