Hopefully, none of our readers are ever injured. But what do you do if another driver hits you but doesn’t stop? What if you have to take the ditch to avoid hitting someone driving the wrong way in your lane? Who pays for your injuries?
What if a car crash is the fault of a driver who doesn’t stop and is not known by name? Many times when there is no contact between the vehicles the injured person may feel that he or she cannot get any help with medical bills etc.
The truth is that every insurance policy in Missouri (and in most other states also) require Uninsured Motorist coverage. So if you are hurt by another motorist who does not have coverage, you can recover on your own insurance policy for your injuries. What many people do not know is that this same coverage will also pay even if you cannot identify the other driver or if there is no contact between the two cars. Sometimes this is called a phantom vehicle. The vehicle is real - we just do not know who it belongs to or who the driver is.
A phantom vehicle is a vehicle that causes a traffic accident, with or without contact, and flees the scene of the accident, whose driver is not identified. Phantom vehicles are almost always considered uninsured vehicles in insurance policies.
Evidence of the phantom vehicle is often limited in phantom vehicle cases, and insurance companies can make it difficult to collect on the policy. Sometimes the only witness will be the injured insured driver. Insurance companies sometimes claim evidence in addition to the driver’s statements that a phantom vehicle caused the accident is required for coverage to kick in. However, the law in Missouri is that insurance policies that exclude uninsured motorist coverage for injuries caused by a phantom vehicle without contact if the facts are not backed up by evidence other than just the testimony of the driver are void. In other words, your word alone may be enough to make the claim for coverage.
While we hope you are never injured at all - if it is a phantom vehicle that caused the crash - you can still make a claim under your own policy.
Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci
510 West 6th Street
Joplin, Missouri 64801
866-836-0100 toll free