What is “phantom vehicle” coverage?
Often, the identities of culprits in motor vehicle collisions are unknown. These situations often occur when a vehicle fails to stop and return to the scene after running an individual off the road. Another scenario is when an individual is struck by a vehicle that flees the scene. This usually leave victims confused as to how to handle the situation. They often believe that the person who caused the incident must be located and identified before any type of compensation can be sought. This is untrue.
Most insurance policies have Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage. These are typically abbreviated as UM/UIM. This portion of insurance policies have built into them coverage for a “Phantom Vehicle” collision. (Sometimes referred to as a “hit and run.”)
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, your insurance company then becomes an adverse party. This means that for every dollar you are entitled, the insurance company bears the burden to pay it. Therefore, the adjuster is not your “agent” or your “advocate.” Rather, the claim adjuster from your own insurance company is the protector of the insurance company. He or she is charged with protecting the pool of resources that you would be receiving compensation from.
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 this may sound self-serving, the truth is that the duty of the lawyer and your best interests are the same. 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 3.5 times more than going at it without a lawyer. Moreover, the lawyer does not have a duty to the insurance company (other than being truthful, etc.) as does the claims adjuster. In fact, the lawyer’s duty is to fight for you and maximize the claim on your behalf.
So, do you want an insurance “adjuster” adjusting down your claim? Or do you want an attorney who only gets paid if you do and who advises you on what is a “good” settlement? If a fair settlement is not met, the lawyer has the ability to file suit. This is the main and ultimate deterrent from getting jerked around by an insurance company.
At Nelson, Bryan & Cross, we stand ready to fight for you on a Phantom Vehicle (uninsured/underinsured motorist) claim or any other type of personal injury situation, and we do so with a Zero Fee Guarantee. If we do not recover for you, no fee is charged.