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Collecting Damages for a Virginia Car Accident Caused by a Phantom Driver
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp
(833) 997-1774

When the new media reports on a single-car accident, the assumption is often that the driver must have done something to cause the crash and their personal injuries are their own fault. However, many of these crashes are caused by “miss and runs.” A miss and run is when another driver does something that causes you to crash, yet their vehicle makes no physical contact with yours. Similar to hit-and-run, miss-and-run drivers typically drive away without stopping because their vehicle was not physically involved in the accident. These drivers are referred to as “phantom drivers” since they never actually make contact with the vehicle that crashes.

John Doe Claims

When you are involved in a crash caused by a phantom driver, you will be able to file a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage. In these cases, you are filing the claim against “John Doe.”

This type of claim is allowed under Virginia law, however, there are stringent rules that you must follow. The first step is reporting the accident to the police. This should be done at the accident scene because all the information the officer includes in the report about the crash can be used by your car accident attorney as evidence in your claim. Your insurance company will also need to be contacted right away, although many people in these situations choose to speak with an attorney first.

Virginia Vehicle Insurance Law

Virginia requires every auto insurance policy issued in the state to provide uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. UM/UIM coverage compensates you when you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. The company will then pay for expenses and losses up to the amount of UM/UIM coverage on your policy.

A hit-and-run accident is a situation where the at-fault driver is not known. In this situation, your UM coverage can help to pay for your injuries and damages stemming from the incident. This coverage can also cover phantom drivers who cause you to crash and suffer damages.

For example, if you purchase $100,000 of personal liability coverage for protection if you are in an accident, this means you also are covered up to $100,000 should you suffer damages in a crash caused by a phantom driver.

Although you may think that since you are dealing with your own insurance company you will not need a car accident attorney, filing a claim for a miss-and-run accident can quickly turn into an adversarial experience. Insurance companies do not like to pay out funds to anyone, even their own clients.

Having an attorney dealing directly with the insurance company on your behalf will ensure they will have to negotiate a fair and just settlement or face litigation in court.

Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney

Unfortunately, no matter how safe a driver we are, there are always negligent drivers on the road who fail to adhere to safe driving practices. If you are injured in a crash caused by another driver, a Virginia car accident attorney can assist you in obtaining financial compensation for any losses you have suffered as a result of those injuries. These losses include medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, permanent disability, scarring, and more.

If the accident you are injured in involves a hit-and-run driver or a phantom driver, our legal team will work on your behalf with your insurance company to make sure you get the financial compensation you deserve.

Contact the legal team from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.


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