Two Things You Should Know About Claims Involving No-Contact Car Accidents

Law Blog

In accidents involving more than one driver, there's typically contact between the two vehicles, i.e. one car crashes into the other. Sometimes, though, one car will cause another to crash without making any contact. While it is possible to hold the negligent driver liable for this type of no-contact accident, there are a couple of challenges you'll run into when trying to get compensated for your damages and losses.

You May Have Trouble Locating a Phantom Driver

Possibly the biggest challenge many people in this situation have is locating a phantom driver, i.e. a driver who leaves the scene of the accident and which you weren't able to get any identifying information about. With no way to track down the negligent party, the accident would be treated like a hit and run. You would have to file a claim against your own insurance policy to get reimbursed for the damages, which could be problematic if you don't have coverage for uninsured/underinsured drivers.

In this case, do your best to find the driver. See if there are any camera in the area that may have caught the incident and review the footage for identifying details (e.g. car make, license plate). Talk to witnesses who may have been around to see if any of them caught any information about the driver. Don't forget to file a police report about the incident, as law enforcement can often access any cameras operated by the Department of Transportation that may have been recording at the time.

Your Insurance Company May Not Cooperate

Another issue you may run into is that your insurance company may reject your claim, even though you have uninsured/underinsured driver coverage. That's because some insurance companies require there to be either a corroborating witness to the incident or physical contact with a vehicle as a condition of paying for damages and losses under the uninsured portion of your policy. If there are no witnesses and the other vehicle didn't touch your car in any way, you may be stuck paying for the damages out of your own pocket.

Some states have law prohibiting insurance companies from doing this, so it's a good idea to research what your state has to say about it. Otherwise, you may want to consult with an attorney for advice on how to handle this situation.

For assistance with litigating an auto accident lawsuit, contact a car wreck attorney, such as at Philpot Law Firm PA.


8 January 2018