You are driving down a two-lane highway when an oncoming car enters your lane. Enough to force you off the road causing you to hit a tree or light pole head-on. Your life is saved by your front airbag, but you are still injured sufficiently enough to go to the hospital in an ambulance.
You suffer several injuries requiring imaging tests and several weeks of physical therapy.
Now here is the problem, you never made contact with the car that ran you off the road, and the driver did not stop as he or she should have.
Also, there were no witnesses that could identify the car or driver, nor were there any witnesses that could verify that your one-car accident was caused by another negligent driver.
So, you think you can recover under your own uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, right? Not likely! You have become a victim of a “miss and run.”
Virtually every insurance company is going to exclude UM coverage when there is no contact between the vehicles, no witness, and the negligent driver failed to stop. It is just your word that you were not at fault for your motor vehicle accident.
In other words, the insurance company needs verification that it was not just a one-vehicle accident where you lost control.
What can you do after a Miss and Run?
In many cases, there is nothing you can do. Your car insurance will pay for your vehicle damage, and it will pay under your limited medical payment coverage. However, it will not pay for pain and suffering under your UM coverage.
How can you prove a Miss and Run Accident was not your fault?
An accident reconstructionist may be able to view the scene and establish that there were fresh tire markings on the road such that he or she could conclude that a car came into your lane of travel head-on.
Depending on where this happened, there could be video surveillance that recorded the incident. Many intersections now have such cameras. Nearby businesses may have surveillance cameras that can show how you were forced off the road.
All these methods of proving you were run off the road by another driver are methods where time is of the essence.
Most video surveillance systems will record over old data, so it is important to recover that video as soon as possible. Surveillance systems may record over old data in a week, month, or three months.
One month is a common time frame for many systems.
You would think that the investigating police officer would think about both the road markings and the video issue when investigating the crash. However, do not be so sure.
In this situation, if you are able, you should ask the officer to seek out street marking evidence and comb the area for video surveillance recordings.
In non-fatal accidents, less is done in investigating an accident than in fatal accidents. Even in fatal accidents, the police can miss important evidence.
Investigate the Scene of the Accident
At this point, you need a lawyer to have your scene investigated. Because time is of the essence, you can go investigate the scene yourself or have a relative or friend do so as soon as possible.
If this can be done, photos should be taken of any road markings left behind. If there is video evidence available, then you or your surrogate must request that the video be preserved until recovered by your lawyer.
Near-miss cases are very frustrating for both you and your lawyer because it is difficult to find some evidence, any evidence, to support your claim that the accident was not your fault.
In rare cases, video surveillance may identify the offending vehicle sufficiently to result in identifying the driver. Your own insurance company has an interest in identifying the other driver because that vehicle may be insured, which could get your insurance company off the hook for an uninsured motorist claim.
Your lawyer should try and enlist your insurance company to help identify the car and driver.
In a populated area, it is possible that someone unknown to you witnessed your accident. Finding such a person requires knocking on doors and inquiring with nearby business employees.
An experienced interrogator is needed to pull out the needed information.
At Garrison Law Firm, we will try to turn over every rock to find evidence to confirm your story.
An accident investigator can be summoned to your accident scene quickly before evidence gets away.
Other Ways a Miss and Run Can Occur
If your miss and run were caused by a deer jumping out in front of you, then there is no one to go after that has accident liability insurance. However, if a human runs out in front of you, causing your accident, then that person may be covered for negligently causing your one-car accident under their automobile policy or their homeowners’ policy.
Anytime you are in a motor vehicle accident where you crashed in avoiding contact with another vehicle, then you have a potential miss-and-run defense coming at you from your own auto insurance carrier.
Remember, though, it is not a miss and run if there is either no “miss” or no “run.” If the other driver stops and acknowledges that he or she was distracted or confused, thereby causing you to crash, then you have proof that your wreck was not your fault.
Likewise, if there was contact made between the vehicles, no matter how small, as long as the contact left sufficient marks to establish the contact, then your UM coverage should be safe for your use.
Your Best Bet is Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in a miss-and-run accident or any other type of accident in which you were physically injured, call Garrison Law Firm as soon as possible to learn your rights and for us to help you ensure that critical evidence is preserved.
We can be reached at 317-842-8283, or you can contact us here on our website by completing the contact form or chat box. We look forward to hearing from you.
Drive carefully and be safe!