Injured in a “hit and run”? Or hurt in a “Phantom Vehicle” collision?

March 4th, 2015


So have you been injured by a Phantom Vehicle?

Or injured in a “hit and run”??

Just as the identify of the “Phantom of the Opera” was a mystery, often times the identity of the culprits of motor vehicle collisions are unknown.  By this we are referring to the situation wherein an individual is ran off the road by a vehicle that fails to stop and return to the scene; or an individual is struck by another vehicle who flees the scene.
This type of incident usually leaves the person who was struck confused as to how to handle the situation.  They often times believe that the person who caused the incident must be located and identified before any type of compensation can be sought.
This is actually untrue.
Many insurance policies have what is referred to as “Uninsured” or “Underinsured” motorist coverage, typically abbreviated as UM/UIM.  This portion of the policy has built into it coverage for a “Phantom Vehicle” collision.  Also referred to as a “hit and run”.  Meaning that the actuarials and number guys/gals of the insurance company have already calculated into the premium quote the chance of the insurance company having to pay for damages sustained by their own insured as a result of a “hit and run” or phantom vehicle collision.
Recently a friend of mine from high school had a claim that would have fallen within this category.  She is very friendly and somewhat naively believed that “her” insurance company would “take care” of the claim.  With this I mean she simply believed that her insurance company was going to look out for her best interested, after all wheren’t they “her insurance company.”   She the claim would be handled just like “her insurance company” handled the competitive quote she received when she purchased the policy.
This is farthest from the truth, insurance wise.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision with someone who has no insurance, inadequate insurance or with a vehicle that flees the scene (Phantom vehicle), your insurance company then becomes as it relates to that claim akin to an adverse party.  Meaning that for every dollar that you believe you are entitled they become the bearer of that burden.
Thus, the adjuster is not your “agent” or your “advocate” in that situation.   Rather the claims adjuster of your own insurance company becomes a “protector of the pot”.  He or she is charged with protecting the pool of resources that you would be receiving compensation from.
So what’s the answer?
If you are struck by someone who has no insurance, has minimal insurance or if you are struck by someone who leaves the scene of the accident such as with a “hit and run” – – – hire a lawyer.
While that may sound self-serving and to an extent as a lawyer it is self-serving, the truth is that the duty of the lawyer and the best interest of the client have no area of conflict.  More simply stated, if you hire a lawyer on a percentage contract basis which is called a “contingency fee” basis statistics have shown that you will collect on average 3 1/2 times more than going at it without a lawyer.*  And the lawyer does not have a duty to the insurance company (other than being truthful, etc.) as does the claims adjuster.  In fact, the lawyers duty becomes to fight for you and maximize the claim on your behalf.
So think on it with us.  Do you want an “adjuster” adjusting down your claim?  Or do you want an attorney who only gets paid if you do, advising you on what a “good” settlement is.  And if that level or standard is not met, the lawyer does have the ability to file suit which ultimately is the main deterrent from getting really jerked around by the insurance company.
And remember, if you have UM/UIM there are mechanism to collect from the insurance company because of the “Phantom of the Collision”.  These mechanism were built into the policy to begin with and are there for this very, but somewhat rare, occurrence.
We stand ready to serve your Phantom Vehicle, uninsured/underinsured motorist claim or any other type of personal injury situation.  And we do so with a Zero Fee Guarantee.  We only get paid if we collect and if we cannot put more in your pocket than you could collect alone, we do not take a fee.   Feel welcome to call us 24/7 – 256-543-HURT or 1-877-717-5342
By: Trent Garmon, JD, MA
*Insurance Resource Council 1999 Study of Represented v. Unrepresented Claimants
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