Were you recently injured after swerving to avoid a reckless or careless driver? The other driver may be responsible for your injuries even if their vehicle made no contact with your car. Such miss-and-run accidents are relatively common in Georgia. Even though the other driver may have caused your accident, it can be challenging to prove what happened.

What is a Miss-and-Run?

Most people are familiar with the term hit-and-run, which is when a driver leaves the scene after hitting a person or another vehicle. Did you know that a driver who causes an accident but isn’t directly involved in a collision can also be held responsible for the crash? When a driver’s negligent or reckless roadway behavior causes other drivers to crash, and they leave the scene of the accident, this is called a miss-and-run.

Miss-and-run accidents, sometimes referred to as phantom accidents, can lead to serious injury and even death. If someone pulls out in front of you or cuts you off, your instinct is to swerve or slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. Unfortunately, trying to avoid hitting a careless driver can also cause an accident.

Is a Miss-and-Run Illegal?

A hit-and-run is illegal in Georgia, and the law states that any driver involved in an accident that causes injury, death, or vehicle damage must remain at the scene. How does this requirement apply to miss-and-run accidents? Proving involvement can be challenging when the vehicle that caused the accident didn’t make contact with your vehicle. Despite this difficulty, miss-and-run accidents are illegal.

Georgia’s miss-and-run law says that if a phantom driver causes your accident, you are eligible for recovery through your car insurance as if the other driver was uninsured. In order to file an insurance claim and qualify for coverage after a phantom driver caused your accident, you will need to provide your statement of the incident and testimony from an eyewitness that supports your description of the accident.

If you are able to prove the identity of the hit and run driver by getting the license plate number, or vehicle photos then you may be able to recover punitive damages in addition to your compensatory damages.

Proving Fault in a Miss-and-Run Accident

Having eyewitness testimony is ideal in these situations, because Georgia law specifically mentions that as one form of evidence to prove a phantom driver caused an accident. But what happens if there are no eyewitnesses to your accident? Without someone to back up your version of events, your car insurance company may not approve your accident claim. Proving that a phantom driver caused your accident may be difficult without a witness, but the good news is that it may not be impossible.

Accidents that happen late at night or in rural areas may not have witnesses. Don’t lose hope if you’re the only person who saw the phantom driver. You may be able to use the following evidence to show that your accident was a miss-and-run:

  • Security footage from surrounding buildings
  • Ring or doorbell camera footage from nearby houses
  • Skid or brake marks on the road

If you could see the vehicle’s make, model, and color or remember a partial license plate number, that may also help prove the phantom driver exists if these clues can lead to identifying the driver.

After Your Miss-and-Run Accident

Many of the steps you take after a miss-and-run accident are the same ones you should take after any kind of accident. Most importantly, make sure you:

  • Are safely out of the flow of traffic to avoid further injury or collisions
  • Get the medical care you need for your injuries
  • Notify the police and file a report

If you are safely able to document the scene, the following may also be helpful for your miss-and-run claim:

  • Speak to eyewitnesses to get their statements and contact information
  • Take pictures of your car, the road, and the surrounding area
  • Make note of any buildings nearby that may have security cameras
  • Write down anything you remember about the other driver or their vehicle

Car insurance companies focus on their profits above all else. Convincing them to cover damages caused by a phantom driver will likely be difficult since these accidents often have very little evidence to support the injured driver’s claims.

How a Miss-and-Run Accident Lawyer Can Help

It is not uncommon for miss-and-run victims to feel alone and hopeless after their accident. We are here to support you and protect your rights when the odds are stacked against you. Our relentless accident attorneys will stop at nothing to get you the justice you deserve after a phantom accident. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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