Not all car accidents involve two vehicles hitting each other. A car crash can sometimes occur without two cars colliding with each other. Such crashes are known as no-contact accidents. Though no-contact accidents are common, many drivers have no or limited knowledge about them.
No-Contact Car Crash: An Overview
A car crash is said to be a no-contact car accident when a driver acts recklessly, forcing the other driver to take evasive action or leave the road. The other driver hits another vehicle or crashes into a property. Although the two vehicles did not collide with each other, the first driver will still be held liable for damages.
Some typical examples of no-contact accidents include
- A driver stops suddenly in front of you, causing you to swerve to prevent a collision
- A driver runs you off the road, causing you to lose balance and hit another vehicle
- A car swerves into your lane
- A driver did not yield the right-of-way, forcing you to take evasive action
The Complexities of No-Contact Accidents
Proving liability in a no-contact car accident could be complicated. In many cases, the driver-at-fault does not even know that they caused the accident and continue driving. Such drivers are known as phantom drivers (they are at the accident site one minute and gone the next).
Many no-contact accident cases are treated as single-vehicle accident cases by insurance companies. If you report a no-contact car crash to your insurer, the provider might force you to accept fault.
If a driver leaves the accident scene after causing a no-contact car accident, they could be charged with hit and run. Suppose you do not have any information regarding the driver (unfortunately, in many cases, the plaintiff is unable to identify the other driver) or their vehicle (such as the make, type, and model of the vehicle) and no eyewitnesses. In that case, you may not have much to present as proof to establish negligence.
What Happens if the Other Driver Is Not Identified?
You cannot file a claim without the driver at fault’s personal information. You will have to file a claim with your own insurance company using your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In addition to covering accidents caused by a driver who does not have insurance or enough insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage covers phantom driver accidents.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Unless an individual requests otherwise, their insurer must provide uninsured/underinsured coverage in the amount equal to the liability insurance limits of the regular policy. If the regular policy provides a minimum coverage of $25,000 per person and in property damage, the person should have the same amount of UM/UIM coverage.
In Georgia, motorists have UM/UIM coverage even if they don’t know it, as insurance companies are required to offer it. A motorist can, however, opt-out. Before you buy a policy, have a car accident lawyer review it and make sure it provides comprehensive coverage against loss or damages.
What to Do After a No-Contact Car Accident
It’s normal to feel several different emotions following a car crash. Do not let your emotions overwhelm you. Keep a level head. Do not get into an argument with the other driver or witnesses. The first few minutes after an accident are very crucial. How you act immediately after an accident can make or break your personal injury claim.
Here are some things you need to do after a no-contact crash.
#1 Notify the Police
After moving your vehicle to a safe spot (if the accident rendered the vehicle undrivable, get it towed):
- Check yourself and your passengers for injuries
- Notify the authorities about the incident and wait for a team to arrive at the spot
- Once a first responder arrives at the spot, explain what happened
- File a police accident report
- Get a copy of your report
#2 Talk to Witnesses
Witness accounts are invaluable in no-contact accident claims. Ask witnesses what they saw. Collect information. Note down every detail and witnesses’ contact information so your car accident lawyer can reach out to them afterward. Witnesses include passengers in your vehicle and people present at the accident scene.
#3 Call a Car Accident Attorney
The sooner you call a personal injury lawyer after a no-contact car crash, the better. Your car accident lawyer will advise you on how to talk to your insurance company.
The lawyer will support you at every step of the way. They will create a watertight case. The professional will collect evidence and interview witnesses.
Personal injury cases can drag on for years, leaving the litigant emotionally and mentally drained. A personal injury attorney with their customers’ best interests at heart will try their best to keep disputes out of court. Your attorney will negotiate with the other party’s legal team and the insurance company. If the parties fail to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, your attorney will file a lawsuit.
#4 Seek Medical Attention
Your insurance company might try to deny or downplay your claims. If you do not see a doctor within 24-48 hours of an accident, your insurance company might claim that your injuries are not severe or resulted from a previous condition.
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