Did a Phantom Vehicle Actually Cause Your Car Accident?

Posted December 27th, 2016 by .

Categories: Auto Accidents.

phantom vehicle accident anthony carboneThe term phantom vehicle has a mysterious tone.  It almost sounds as if some ghostly apparition was behind the wheel of a car or truck.   Yet, the expression phantom vehicle is a legal term of art.  And, there is the possibility that a phantom vehicle can cause a car crash.

We realize we have you somewhat in suspense.  You might think that a phantom vehicle refers to accidents where a driver leaves the scene.  This is partially correct.  However, read on to understand how an incident involving a phantom vehicle differs from a hit and run accident.

Phantom Vehicle Defined

There are some similarities between hit and run accidents and crashes involving phantom vehicles.  In both cases, the negligent driver is at least initially unidentifiable.  The reason?  The vehicle operator did not stay at the scene of the accident.  So, then what are the differences?

The words “hit and run” speak for themselves.  A hit and run accident can involve a pedestrian.  Obviously, this means that a motor vehicle actually struck someone on foot or riding their bicycle.  They then took off from the accident scene.

A hit and run accident can also involve an automobile crash.  Someone’s car may collide your vehicle and then quickly flee from the accident.  The focus is on the word “hit,” as actual contact must be made for an accident to be considered a hit and run.

Here’s where the terms differ.  A car crash with a phantom vehicle does not require actual physical contact.  Not sure what we mean?  We’ll give you an example.

Perhaps another driver cuts you off in traffic.  You try to avoid hitting the vehicle, and as a result, you harshly apply your brakes and steer away from them.  Unfortunately, you do so with such force that your car veers out of control.  You hit a curb, and your car flips over.

The driver that cut you off?  They went merrily on their way.  He or she might not even realize they caused you to crash.  After all, they didn’t hit your car.  The definition of a phantom vehicle includes:

  • Negligent operation of a motor vehicle
  • No actual contact with anyone involved in the crash
  • Negligent driver leaves the scene of the accident
  • Inability to identify the motor vehicle who caused the accident

Making a Claim involving a Phantom Vehicle

When you make a police report concerning your accident claim, make sure to mention that a phantom vehicle caused your accident.  Provide the investigating officer with as much information as possible concerning the negligent driver.  Witnesses may be able to collaborate your story. Also, an accident reconstruction expert may be able to confirm your version of the crash based on physical evidence.  This might include skid marks or property damage.

If you have suffered injuries as a result of negligence by a phantom vehicle operator, you may still be able to pursue legal action.  Your personal automobile insurance should contain a provision for Uninsured Motorist claims.  An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in setting up this type of case.  The negligent driver may be identified as Jane or John Doe in legal papers.

Contact Us

Were you involved in a car accident of any type?  The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone has handled these types of cases for many years.  Contact us to see how we can assist you.  We are not paid until your matter has concluded, and only if we have recovered damages on your behalf.

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