It’s a beautiful morning. A young father pulls out of his driveway. He is headed to work in Decatur. Suddenly another vehicle approaches at a high speed. The speeding driver swerves into the young father’s vehicle forcing it into a ditch. After the crash, the other driver flees the scene.
The young father suffers serious personal injuries in the crash. He cannot work. He cannot care for his family. Eventually, he requires spinal surgery. He is left with chronic pain and disability.
The reckless driver who caused the crash is never identified. Does the injured young father still have a claim for compensation in this situation? Can he seek compensation to help with his medical bills, wage losses, pain and disability?
What can he do? If he has uninsured motorist coverage on his automobile policy, he can still recover compensation for his injuries! Let’s look at these issues.
Unidentified At-Fault Driver? Phantom Vehicle?
In many instances, the at-fault driver crashes into another car or person. Then, the at-fault driver flees the scene before he can be identified. But, in another type of case, the at-fault driver never actually crashes. The at-fault driver never actually strikes the other vehicle. Instead, he swerves or does some negligent act to cause the crash. He makes no physical contact with you but still acted negligently causing your crash. Insurance companies often refer to these no-contact situations as “phantom vehicles.”
Regardless of whether the at-fault driver actually strikes your vehicle or not, an unidentified negligent driver creates many issues. An unidentified at-fault driver can cause injuries in several different ways. And, uninsured coverage on your policy can make all the difference in obtaining the compensation you need.
Review your automobile policy before an accident happens. Make sure you have important coverage. If you want to know more about uninsured motorist coverage, we’ve posted an entire page to our website on this topic. Plus, I regularly write articles for my blog on this issue. And, you can always call me for advice. I’m happy to talk about this important coverage.
Three Types of Crashes Where The At-Fault Driver May Never Be Identified
An unidentified or phantom vehicle can injure you in several different ways. Here are three:
Like the earlier example, a typical hit-and-run involves an at-fault driver causing a crash and then fleeing the scene. Keep in mind, hit-and-run drivers can crash into other cars as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. In all these situations, your own uninsured coverage may provide needed compensation for your damages.
“No Physical Contact” Accident / The Phantom Vehicle
Another driver swerves into your lane. In an instant you must decide — Do I let this vehicle hit me head-on OR do I swerve into the ditch? After running you off the road and into the ditch, the other vehicle flees. While the other driver caused the crash, he never actually hit you.
In Alabama, actual physical contact is NOT required. Even in the absence of contact, you may be able to recover uninsured motorist coverage if another driver was at-fault in causing you to crash.
I recently represented a young lady in Morgan County in just this situation. A speeding driver swerved head-on in front of her. The at-fault driver forced her from the road where she hit a culvert. One of her passengers suffered serious personal injuries. While the at-fault driver fled the scene and was never identified, valuable uninsured motorist coverage was available to compensate the injured person.
Debris In The Roadway Crash
Did you hit debris that likely fell from another car or truck? A vehicle crash can also occur in this situation. Maybe you struck a tire, a car part, or an item that likely fell from a vehicle. Those items are only in the roadway because some other driver acted negligently.
Another driver was likely at-fault. For example, that sofa in the roadway must have fallen from a truck (since sofas aren’t usually in the highway). You should look at your own uninsured coverage for compensation.
Make Sure You Have Valuable Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Although Alabama law requires drivers to carry liability coverage, many still do not. Many of the drivers next to you on the road have NO insurance. When those drivers cause a crash, you can be left with no way to cover medical bills, wage losses or other damages. We have long had problems with uninsured drivers on our highways in Alabama.
Even where drivers carry insurance, many only carry the minimum required amount. That minimum requirement is presently just $25,000. That’s not enough coverage for any significant injury. That’s not even enough to cover initial hospital bills for some serious injuries.
You need valuable uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage for yourself and your family. Look at your policy. Make sure you are covered. Let us know if we can help.