Can I File a Claim for a No-Contact Car Accident?

2021-04-20 20:50:00
no-contact car accident,phantom driver,no direct contact

damage to front end of carYou may be able to obtain compensation for an accident that was caused by another driver’s recklessness, even if your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle did not make contact. However, these claims can be more difficult to validate than claims involving typical vehicle collisions.

The Sacramento car accident lawyers at the Arnold Law Firm are ready to help you seek full compensation for your losses from the crash. Your initial consultation is free and there are no obligations to select our firm.

What is a No-Contact Crash?

When one vehicle crashes due to the recklessness of another driver and no direct contact is made between the two cars, it is known as a no-contact crash. For example, there may be no contact between the two vehicles if one driver:

  • Runs another driver off the road
  • Cuts another driver off when changing or merging lanes
  • Stops abruptly and causes a driver behind to swerve to avoid a collision
  • Fails to yield to a vehicle that has the right-of-way, causing that vehicle to swerve

Unlike hit-and-run accidents, in no-contact car accidents, the negligent driver may not realize he or she caused a crash and may simply continue driving. Sometimes these drivers are referred to as “phantom drivers” because they may quickly disappear.

How Do I Prove Someone Else is Liable for my Damages?

Establishing liability for a no-contact car accident is difficult because these so-called phantom drivers may not be easily identified, especially since their vehicles may not have suffered any damage. However, there are some ways your attorney may be able to identify a negligent driver.

Surveillance/Traffic Camera Footage

If your accident happened on a highway, there is a chance a traffic camera caught it on tape. There may also be video footage if the accident occurred near a property with surveillance cameras.

In these cases, your attorney may be able to recover the video footage and attempt to identify the vehicle and license plate number.

Witnesses to the Crash

Having a reliable witness is frequently key to helping establish another driver’s liability for an accident in which his or her vehicle did not make any contact with yours.

Some insurance policies have fine print about who may be considered a reliable witness. A passenger in your vehicle may not be an acceptable source. Instead, an ideal witness is usually another driver or someone inside a nearby business who saw what happened.

What Are My Options if the Other Driver is Not Identified?

If the driver responsible for your no-contact accident cannot be identified, there are still some potential options for injury victims in California. Depending on the type of insurance coverage you have on your own vehicle, you may be able to file a claim through your own policy.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Insurance companies in California are required to offer this optional add-on to clients. If you decide you do not wish to pay for the coverage, you must reject it in writing.

If your insurance policy has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to file a claim for a no-contact accident. It is important to work with an attorney who can help establish that your crash was caused by a phantom driver.

Personal Injury Protection

Another optional add-on for California drivers is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This may help you pay for medical bills associated with your injuries. However, you may not be able to recover non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, from a PIP policy.

Collision Insurance

Most vehicle lienholders, like the bank that leases or finances your vehicle, require drivers to have collision insurance in case of an accident. However, it is not mandated by the state.

If your car was damaged in a no-contact crash, you may be able to file a claim through your collision insurance, but you will most likely have to pay your deductible. If the at-fault driver is caught, you might be able to recover your deductible after insurance subrogation.

Call an Experienced Attorney for Help

If you need help filing a claim for an accident that was not your fault, but there was no contact between your vehicle and the at-fault driver’s vehicle, call the Arnold Law Firm to find out how our attorneys may be able to help you establish liability and file a claim.

Our attorneys have experience handling a wide range of accident claims. We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your claim and if you choose to hire us, there are no upfront fees.

Call us today at (916) 777-7777.