Interviewer: So what would happen if I got hit by a car, it was a hit and run, and I couldn’t get any witnesses or any information on that vehicle? What would happen in that case?
A Phantom Vehicle Is a Car Driven in a Manner That Causes You to Have a Collision but Does Not Make Contact with Your Vehicle
Daniel Hoarfrost: Just like any criminal investigation, you develop as much factual information as you can, and report it to the authorities. One situation which is an interesting variation on the hit and run scenario is what we call the phantom vehicle case.
And what that means is a car changed lanes right in front of you and forced you off the road, but there wasn’t actually contact between your car and the other car. And then they took off from there.
In that case, you may hit a traffic barrier or something so there are injuries involved. That’s called a phantom vehicle case, and it’s really the same situation because the other driver’s negligence caused the accident and caused the injuries.
The Phantom Vehicle Driver Is Rarely Located
But in order to get the coverage on your own policy, you have to file a police report so that the police agencies have a record and the insurance company has some possibility of finding an at-fault party. Hopefully, that party will reimburse them for what they end up having to pay out.
And that is a situation where they rarely find the other driver, but there is that requirement in their policy, so sometimes people get tripped up on it.
If You Are Involved in a Collision with No Apparent Injuries to Either Party, What Can You do to Protect Yourself from Being Labelled a Hit and Run Driver?
Interviewer: If a driver hit me and they come out of the vehicle to check on me, but then they drive off, is that considered a hit and run?
Daniel Hoarfrost: It can be. The question is how aggressive a district attorney’s office is going to be to prosecute that case.
Technically they could prosecute it as a hit and run. More likely than that, they’d cite the other driver for something such as failure to exchange information.
This charge is a lesser traffic infraction, basically and is not a crime. But from the injured party’s perspective and the civil claim side of things, it really just has more of an inconvenience. This is because if you end up in a situation where you have to sue the other driver, you need to be able to find them and serve them with a summit.
So it can cause some difficulties if they haven’t left their name and address at the scene. Name and address.