Most of us know the rules of conduct following a minor auto accident: pull over out of the way of traffic and exchange insurance information with the other driver – but we would like to add another important task – look for and identify any corroborating witness. This is especially important in certain types of collisions.
The Red Light
Unless there is a corroborating witness to a red light violation that caused an accident, often these types of incidents become a he said/she said situation. Both parties often insist that their light was green. If no one was around to witness the collision and the status of the traffic control lights immediately prior to the accident, the involved parties’ insurance companies may declare the ensuing claims “a tie”, essentially. This can be infuriating when you are certain that the other party ran a red light. It feels as though you are being punished for doing nothing wrong and the other party is walking away with no repercussions for negligently causing an accident.
The term “phantom vehicle” with regard to automobile accidents can mean a couple of different things to insurance companies. It can refer to a vehicle that causes injuries, damage or even death to another person and his or her vehicle without making physical contact with the insured or the insured’s vehicle. An example of this could be a phantom vehicle cutting off an insured driver, causing the insured to swerve and hit a median. Insurance companies also sometimes refer to vehicles that hit and run as phantom vehicles. In both scenarios, the driver of the phantom vehicle remains an unknown entity. Incidents involving phantom vehicles can result in claims against the injured party’s uninsured motorist policy. Regulations and requirements with regard to phantom vehicle claims vary by state.
Examples of requirements involving a phantom vehicle insurance claim may include:
- That the facts surrounding the accident can be independently supported by evidence other than statements of the insured or any other person with an claim resulting from the accident.