In the event of an accident caused by a negligent driver, the driver who caused the accident is usually the one who made physical contact with another, but that isn’t always the case. Phantom drivers are reckless drivers who caused an accident without being physically involved in the collision. The same instance commonly occurs with motorcycles. Most phantom drivers flee the scene without realizing their negligent actions resulted in a collision since they themselves made no contact with any vehicles; these types of accidents are known as “miss-and-run”.
A miss-and-run accident is treated just like a hit-and-run accident, through the insurance of the injured parties’ own Uninsured Motorist coverage. Except, with no physical damages on any of the vehicles involved showing the existence of the negligent driver, proving their role in the accident can be extremely difficult. That is why for accidents in which the negligent driver flees the scene, whether a hit-and-run or miss-and-run, it is best to hire an experienced car accident attorney to handle the case.
Even though a direct collision with another vehicle did not occur, the end result is a collision with another vehicle or a fixed object or a loss of control resulting in a vehicle going off the road and into a ditch or ravine. The “miss and run” can result in serious or catastrophic personal injury or even death.
Hire a Miss-and-Run Car Accident Attorney
If you do try to open a claim for a hit-and-run accident, your insurance may deny your claim based on the fact that the actual collision occurred with a phantom driver. When you suffered verifiable, serious injuries, this situation can be frustrating and financially debilitating. Speaking to a personal injury lawyer soon after the accident can ensure all available evidence is recovered and the best possible outcome for your case is obtained.
The car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates have extensive experience in handling miss-and-run car accident claims. With multiple offices located in Irvine, Anaheim, Los Angeles, El Segundo, Riverside, and San Diego, our personal injury lawyers represent accident victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 949-727-9300.
Is a Miss-and-Run accident the same as a Hit-and-Run?
On the surface, miss-and-run looks like a single-vehicle crash involving only your vehicle, or a crash with another vehicle, motorcyclist, pedestrian, or bicyclist. But what really happened was the end result of a chain of events. Initially, another driver nearly caused a collision with you, and then you actually had a real collision, either with a fixed object or a third party. If a third party was involved, it is likely that they will blame you for causing the accident. This can be extremely frustrating when you did everything you could to operate your vehicle safely.
While miss and run accidents have parallels to a hit-and-run accident, there are also major, significant differences. Without an actual impact and identified driver, recovering compensation for a miss-and-run accident can hinge on the “phantom driver” being located. You may be blamed for your own injuries, or the injuries or even deaths of others.
What is a Phantom Driver?
A phantom driver is an unidentified driver that caused your collision – or contributed to you losing control of your vehicle. A phantom driver may or may not realize that they caused your accident. They are often (but not always) distracted and not paying attention. Sometimes, they are speeding or driving under the influence. A phantom driver may go on to cause another collision, or may not ever be identified.
What if there are no injuries?
A near-collision can be stressful and shocking. However, if a near-miss occurs and you do not lose control of your vehicle, there are no damages. In other words, if there is no damage—no injury or damage to any of the vehicles involved—there typically cannot be a claim. If a phantom driver caused you to lose control of your vehicle and suffer injuries, you may be able to claim damages for the miss-and-run accident.
What to Do Following a Miss and Run Accident
If you are involved in a “miss and run” accident that led to serious injury, you should move fast in pursuing legal action. It is important that while you are still at the scene of the accident, make every effort to identify the vehicle and driver involved. Gather as much information as you can.
Note the specific location and time of the collision or event. Depending on the accident location and circumstances involved, it may be possible to identify the vehicle based on surveillance footage. If the crash occurred on a toll road or in a parking lot, surveillance footage may be available. It is also possible that a witness observed the event, and can identify the vehicle involved.
Call the police to the scene and give as many details about the event as possible. Even just a portion of the license plate number can be helpful in identifying a driver. Try to remember identifying details such as damage, bumper stickers, or out-of-state license plates. It is also possible that the driver will go on to cause other collisions.
Next, seek medical attention right away, even if you do not feel that you suffered any injuries. Symptoms of injuries can take up to 48 hours to show, as your body may be in shock after the collision. Once you have been examined by a medical professional, it is important to consult with an attorney about the accident to determine how to proceed in opening a claim with your insurance company.
Contact an Experienced Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer
Time is of the essence to preserve evidence in any collision, but particularly when the other party involved in the crash is not identified. The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can help! Our car accident lawyers have the knowledge and experience in handling both hit-and-run and miss-and-run accident claims.
With multiple offices located in Irvine, Anaheim, Los Angeles, El Segundo, Riverside and San Diego, our personal injury lawyers represent accident victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 949-727-9300.
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