Driving demands your full focus. You never know when you’ll have to make a quick call on the road. Despite our best efforts to stay focused and comply with traffic laws, we sometimes find ourselves in situations that are beyond our control. One such situation occurs when another car unexpectedly swerves into your lane. This unsettling experience is fraught with both immediate dangers and potential legal consequences.
The Immediate Aftermath
In the immediate aftermath of such a stressful event, it’s essential to follow a series of steps to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights. Here are the key points to remember:
- Pull Over Safely: If you’ve avoided a crash, the first step is to pull over to a safe location.
- Calm Down: Your heart will likely be racing; take deep breaths to calm your nerves before taking further action.
- Assess the Situation: Check for any contact between the vehicles and assess the overall scenario.
- Look for Witnesses: If there are any witnesses around, their testimony could be invaluable.
- Gather Contact Information: Try to get the contact details of any witnesses for future insurance claims or legal action.
- Gather Evidence: Take photos and videos of the accident scene, property damage to all cars involved, and people involved in the accident.
The Phantom Driver Phenomenon
Occasionally, the driver who abruptly changes lanes may leave the scene, creating a situation akin to a hit-and-run without the actual collision. These drivers are often referred to as “phantom drivers” due to their tendency to instigate an incident and then disappear. If you encounter such a situation, it is important to report it to the police. Provide all pertinent details you have gathered, such as the appearance of the car, any portion of the license plate you were able to note, and the direction in which the vehicle departed.
In these situations, it’s essential that you have UM or uninsured motorist insurance coverage to pay for property damage and bodily injuries.
If the phantom driver is never found, your insurance company may treat them as an uninsured driver. This means you might have to file a claim with your own insurance, even if you weren’t at fault. Some insurance companies may require an independent third-party witness to confirm that a phantom driver was involved. Without a witness, proving your case to the insurance company may become challenging.
What are the Legal Options?
If you’ve been involved in an incident where another car swerved into your lane, causing you to take evasive action or even resulting in a collision, you may be wondering what legal avenues are available to you. In Georgia, you have the right to seek compensation for damages, both to your vehicle and for any injuries you may have sustained. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Georgia is generally two years, so time is of the essence.
Using Evidence for Your Defense
To build a strong case, start by collecting evidence as soon as you can. Take photos of the accident scene, any skid marks, and damage to your car. If you have a dashcam, keep that footage safe. That footage could be the key piece of evidence that shows the other driver was at fault.
Contact a Georgia Car Accident Attorney
No one expects to find themselves in a situation where another car swerves into their lane. However, knowing how to react and what steps to take afterward can make a significant difference in the outcome. Whether it’s gathering evidence, understanding your insurance policy, or seeking legal advice, being prepared is your best defense against the unexpected.
For personalized advice tailored to your situation, don’t hesitate to book a consultation with Flanagan Law, based in Atlanta, Georgia. We’re here to help you navigate these challenging times. Contact us today.