Hit and run or phantom driver accidents are some of the worst types of accidents as you and any passengers could suffer serious injuries but be dependent on your own medical insurance if the police cannot trace the phantom driver. Even if the driver is found and arrested, there is no guarantee that you can claim compensation from them as they may be uninsured or underinsured.
The only positive aspect to such an accident, if the driver can be found, is that it may be easier to prove that the accident was not your fault. The requirement of proof for who was to blame for an accident is typically the most difficult part of any personal injury claim.
Who Pays for Medical Treatment?
Phantom driver accidents can cause any number of injuries. If your car was forced to swerve into another lane or off the road into a solid obstruction, then the injuries could be serious, including broken bones, back and head injuries. These injuries will require extensive medical treatment and someone will have to pay often upfront car accident medical bills.
Typically in a phantom driver car accident you would claim the cost of medical treatment from your own insurer. If you are in a no-fault state you should have a minimum amount of personal injury protection insurance cover anyway. Even if you are not in one of these states, you may have taken out optional PIP or MedPay insurance which could be sufficient at least initially while you wait for a police search and possibly a personal injury claim payment further down the track.
States That Have No Fault Insurance
Some states in the U.S. (currently total of 12), for example Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania, have no-fault insurance rules. Every car driver must have a minimum amount of personal injury (PIP) insurance to cover them in the event of a car accident. This type of insurance certainly helps if you have been hit by a phantom driver. Only if your injuries or those of your passengers are very serious and the cost of treating your injuries exceeds your PIP cover can you pursue a personal injury claim against the phantom driver if he or she is found by police.
Note that PIP insurance pays for lost wages due to your injury, but not property damage such as repairs to your car. You would still be required to pursue a personal injury claim against the phantom driver, if found, to recover the cost of property damage.
States That Do Not Have No Fault Insurance
Most states have traditional tort rules which allow you to pursue a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver. There is no legal requirement for you to take out insurance to cover your own car accident medical bills, although this is an option which you would be glad of if you have had the misfortune to be hit by a phantom driver. You can take out PIP or MedPay or both in a fault state, even if it is not compulsory and still claim compensation from the phantom driver if found. If the phantom driver is insured, your own insurance payments may be repaid by the other driver’s insurer as part of the personal injury claim.
Get a Free Case Evaluation Today