Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) Insurance Claim: Hit & Run or Phantom Car That Caused Personal Injuries and Property Damage
Personal Note From Dr. Settlement: "I STRONGLY encourage everyone to read this information ASAP because it is excellent preventive medicine: if you are forearmed, you CAN prevail on a freeway hit and run or phantom vehicle UIM insurance claim.
THIS COULD HAPPEN TO ANY OF US: Each day there are hundreds of victims who cannot recover on their Hit & Run and Phantom Vehicle UIM Insurance Claims because they did not know in advance the simple secrets to proving those insurance claims under their UIM insurance policy terms.
So do yourself a big favor and learn the secrets of how to win a UIM insurance settlement by knowing WHAT TO DO AFTER THE ACCIDENT. NO, I am nor wishing a phantom car accident on you, BUT IF YOU LEARN NOW what is required to prove, then you will be well prepared to prevail versus your UIM insurance carrier."
Dr. Settlement, J.D. (Juris Doctor)
Insurance companies win hit and run freeway cases too often! "No UIM Insurance Coverage" for Phantom Vehicle Claims is the ruling far too often
Did you know that you could be run or bumped off the freeway by another driver and never recover a dime for lifetime pain and suffering disabling injuries? Unless there is evidence of a collision between the two vehicles (i.e. damage to your car), there is an EXCELLENT CHANCE that your own insurance company will never have to pay you one dime in general damages (pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.)
The reason is because you have to have independent corroborating evidence to prove that some speeding lane-changer bumped you or caused you to lose control and crash. Who can get the license and make and color of a car that swerved in front of you at night?
And the ones who will stop after your crash were traveling behind you so they never saw the guy bump you or swerve in front of you.
Learn all about hit and run UIM insurance claims; learn how to win your personal injury UIM insurance claim when caused by a phantom vehicle
Here is what you have to do if that should ever happen to you. Share this with a friend so that they can also be prepared.
First, let's consider a case, based on a real accident, of a hit and run by a speeding freeway lane-changer who caused an accident with very serious injuries.
THE HIT AND RUN AUTO ACCIDENT
You and your spouse are headed home at night on a three lane freeway when suddenly you get bumped really hard from behind on your passenger side bumper. A freeway lane-changer has misjudged his latest maneuver: he bumps you, and then he finishes his lane switch and takes off, perhaps never even knowing what life altering devastation he has caused and left behind.
The only cars traveling with you also move on, leaving you to react for control at 70 MPH. Meantime, you have temporarily lost control of your car and it swerves to the left where you are struck in the left rear quarter by someone coming up in that lane, pushing your car around and off the freeway, where it rolls over. The two of you are lucky to be alive, but you both have suffered serious bodily injuries.
Shocked and confused, you ask the others who stopped if they saw the car that bumped you-just a shape to you: no color, no make. You mention the hit and run to the ambulance crew, and then when they take your input history at the hospital you tell them about the phantom vehicle as well. Finally, when the police clear the scene to see you at the hospital, you tell them about the hit and run. You ask them to put out an alert for the vehicle if any other witness was able to get a description.
OPENING YOUR PIP AND UIM INSURANCE CLAIMS-DISABLING AUTO ACCIDENT INJURIES
Of course you can use your auto insurance PIP or MedPay to pay your ambulance bills, emergency room bills, doctor and specialist bills, etc. PIP may even cover something like 85% of your lost wages after the first two weeks off work. When you opened the claim you told your own insurer about the hit and run cause of the accident.
Three months later it is obvious that both of you have lifetime partially disabling injuries. Those injuries have caused, and will cause substantial pain and suffering. They have caused a loss of employment for one of you and extensive time off work for the other; although PIP has paid 85%, the limits have been exceeded, and there is no more money for lost jobs or lost wages, unless you can get it from your UIM policy. As well, the injuries have interfered with your enjoyment of life; they have eliminated your sexual relationship (consortium is the polite word), and one of you is suffering depression.
In all states of the Union, these special damages (wage loss in excess of that paid to you via PIP) and general damages are more than sufficient to overcome any applicable no-fault threshold, and in all states you both would be entitled to a SUBSTANTIAL PERSONAL INJURY AWARD, likely in excess of $100,000 for each of you.
Fortunately, you also were wise enough to purchase full UIM coverage in the maximum allowed, which is equal to your liability limits. You carry 100/300, so that means that each of you has a maximum of $100,000 available for UIM to compensate you for your severe and disabling injuries.
The problem is: how do you prove your UIM claim when there is no damage to your car from the first bump that sent you on to destruction of your car?
You tell your company PIP adjuster that you want to open up a UIM claim to be compensated for general damages, including the future problems that are predicted for both of you.
YOUR UIM INSURANCE CLAIM IS AT FIRST DENIED-Later you Win
The UIM adjuster insists that his examination of your car shows a lot of damage from the second hit on your left rear quarter and damage from rolling, but there is not one sign of any damage to your rear bumper. Thus, unless you have independent witnesses who can corroborate the hit and run, YOU DO NOT COLLECT ONE DIME OFF YOUR UIM POLICY.
Turning to Internet research you learn that insurance claims adjusters are refusing to pay UIM hit and run and so-called phantom car claims. They are using statutory definitions, insurance policy language, and just plain uncooperative approach to kill many legitimate claims from drivers who suffered personal injuries because of the negligence of others.
How can this be? Well, another driver may have been negligent, and his negligence may have caused your auto accident, but unless he actually contacted or hit your car hard enough to cause damage, or unless you have independent witnesses, you will find your UIM insurance injury claim DENIED.
As you will read below, this story has a happy ending, but only because of the immediate actions taken by the victims, and only because they lived in a state that is not politically conservative (where no phantom vehicle claims are allowed-you have to have proof of a collision by physical damage to your car).
The corroboration necessary to prove this claim came from the witnesses at the scene who testified that within two minutes after the accident you were asking if anyone had seen the phantom car cause the accident.
But isn't the testimony of the insured cited as in need of corroboration? Yes, but the court holds that when a witness at the accident scene relates to the judge that within two minutes of the auto accident, she did hear the insured talking about the phantom car and asking if anyone had seen it cause the accident, THAT is NOT the "testimony" of the insured.
To top things off and make the proof unassailable, you paid your auto body expert to go over the rear bumper of your car and its support mechanism in a search for any sign of impact. In fact your expert did find two small indentations or recent origin in the shock-resistant rear bumper. And in the support and shock absorbing mechanism beneath, he pointed to one side having been pushed in, leaving a shiny mark, which was evidence of the damage of a collision.
Thus, your UIM insurance claim was opened and you went on to settle it-but that is another story, for another time.
STATE UIM LAWS AND INSURANCE POLICY LANGUAGE
In most every state there is a statutory provision for proving UIM claims based upon physical vehicle damage caused by a hit and run driver (they want damage to prove a collision). What is different in some states is that there is no corresponding provision for a phantom car causing the accident, that is-a car that causes the accident, but does not actually leave evidence of a collision (i.e. someone who switches lanes or "runs you off the road" by making you swerve).
A hit and run driver is defined as having actually hit, or collided with your vehicle. Yes, the driver may be unidentified, but at least you DO have the physical proof that you were hit because your vehicle has been damaged.
But what about someone who swerves into your lane and causes you to lose control? Or someone who bumps you and causes you to lose control, but there is no evidence of the collision because your car was equipped with the latest (insurance-industry-approved) resilient bumper that shows no damage from the collision?
TOUGH LUCK in some politically conservative states (where the legislators are in bed with the insurance industry). In those states, you MUST be able to show that the hit and run driver did collide with your car, and that collision MUST be shown by damage to your car. Those legislators took this requirement verbatim from the insurance lobby and included the requirement that the hit and run accident MUST involve ONLY an actual "collision between motor vehicles".
Thus, in those conservative states, they have statutory language that allows for a UIM insurance claim only when you can prove an actual "collision between motor vehicles" by physical damage (mere testimony of a disinterested bystander witness who saw another car hit yours will NOT SUFFICE if there is no physical damage).
And that requirement that the hit and run accident involve physical proof of a "collision between motor vehicles" is consistently enforced by the judges in the courts of said conservative states. Haven't these boys heard of resilient bumpers that do not show any damage from impacts up to 10 MPH?
So in those states, if you cannot prove that you had a collision, you have no claim against your UIM coverage! If the negligent driver swerved and caused your accident, or if he hit your plastic shock-absorbing bumper at 10 MPH, enough to throw you off control of your vehicle, but not hard enough to leave some proof of damage you are just out of luck.
In most other states, however, the trial lawyers have some credibility and have helped to frame statutes that will help innocent drivers who are injured recover using their UIM insurance policy, even if they were the victim of a hit and run that left no sign of damage to their vehicle, OR EVEN if you are the victim of a swerving or lane-changing driver that never hit your vehicle, but caused you to lose control and crash your car.
WHAT IS NECESSARY TO PROVE YOUR HIT AND RUN OR PHANTOM CAR UIM INSURACNE CLAIM
Thus, the legislatures in most states have made allowance to prove such a UIM insurance claim under terms of a phantom car statute. Your insurance policy may also have provision for proof of a phantom vehicle UIM claim.
If you have proof of a collision, then you are home free: the UIM claim will be allowed without any further proof from passengers. So, if you can prove a collision between the cars by pointing to physical damage to your car, then you have a hit and run claim, NOT a phantom vehicle claim. As such, your hit and run claim is more easily proved since all you need is the physical damage to your vehicle and the proof of a collision is established.
On the other hand, if you have no proof of a collision, then you will have to prove that a phantom vehicle did cause the accident. Usually the phantom car claim is proved by testimony of a disinterested person. Here are the typical requirements from such a state statute and a UIM policy:
First, there is a requirement that the insured "or someone acting on his behalf" shall report the accident to an appropriate law enforcement within 24 hours "or soon thereafter as may be practicable" to allow for an investigation of the accident.
Second, the insured is also to give the uninsured motorist insurer notice of the claim "within a reasonable time".
Third, the facts of a phantom car accident can be proved by evidence from a reliable source, and is defined as follows: "facts that can be corroborated by competent evidence other than the testimony of the insured or any person having an underinsured motorist claim resulting from the accident." Thus, neither you nor anyone who has a UIM claim from this accident versus your insurance company can be the source of corroborating evidence. (Note, in the members' side we do caution passengers to send a letter before they accept PIP benefits, just to confirm that using the insured's PIP in no way impacts the proof of the UIM claim)
SIX WAYS TO PROVE THAT YOUR CAR ACCIDENT WAS CAUSED BY A PHANTOM CAR
These are based upon successful court-approved methods of proving the phantom car claim. We cannot guarantee that they will work in your state, however, since we have no idea whether you live in a politically conservative or a progressive state (the former being less likely to accept these proofs, but the latter being more likely to accept these proofs).
This is in outline for only; we flesh out each topic and provide additional information for our members.
1. At the Accident Scene:
2. First Interview With Paramedics and/or Admission to Hospital, or Upon First Visit to Your Doctor:
3. Report to Police ASAP and Upon First Interview With Police or Patrol:
4. Examine Your Vehicle Carefully for ANY Evidence of Contact From the Phantom Vehicle
5. Passengers Can be Disinterested Party to Prove Phantom Vehicle:
Members have access to special information, forms, and letters to qualify your passenger(s). This is a crucial element of your claim and alone could make or break your entire UIM claim. One error and your entire UIM claim is gone. Join now to access this valuable information.
Benefit much more by becoming a www.SettlementCentral.Com Member. Join Now! www.SettlementCentral.Com, Personal Injury Insurance Claim EXPERTS. and deal effectively with the insurance claim adjuster."
6. Report to Your Own Insurance Company With Description of How Phantom Vehicle Caused the Accident
HIT AND RUN OR PHANTOM CAR UIM INSURANCE CLAIMS REQUIRE SPECIAL COOPERATION WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
This area of insurance claims and settlements has the obvious potential for fraud since it does not take too much imagination to see how tempting it might be for some to blame an accident on a mystery car that sped away, instead of admitting some other reason that you may have caused the accident yourself, such as falling asleep at the wheel.
Do You HAVE TO GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT if requested?
The answer: YES, you have to cooperate fully in making this kind of UIM insurance claim. This is one area that is rife with fraud potential, so insurance companies will investigate carefully and it is not unusual to find that the inquiry has shifted from the desk of an adjuster to that of an investigator.
WHY THEY ARE INVESTIGATING YOU? Our own Dr. Settlement, J.D. points out that there is good reason for the insurance company to be careful in paying out such UIM insurance claims:
"First, do not take it personally or become paranoid that you are being investigated. There is a bit of insurance fraud in the air about the nation these days, and this UIM area is ripe for abuse. Here is what is suspicious to the insurance companies: too many accidents are being blamed on some alleged late night phantom vehicle, but in reality this could be just a way to claim pain and suffering for injuries caused by falling asleep, inattentiveness, excess speed, or any other self-inflicted circumstance. There is a LAGRE potential for fraud in such claims, AND it is frequently seen."
PREPARATIONS TO BE INTERVIEWED BY AN INVESTIGATOR IN YOUR UIM INSURANCE CLAIM
In ALL claims for UIM insurance benefits, the adjuster will ALWAYS be first to take your statement, but do not be surprised if you receive notice that an "investigator" from the company wants to interview you. As noted above, this is becoming more common with increasing attempts at fraudulent claims.
Here are some ideas to help you review:
Outline of questions to be expected from insurance claims adjuster
Detailed listing of questions to be expected from insurance claims adjuster
SPECIAL TOPICS TO CONSIDER IN PREPARATION FOR INSURANCE INVESTIGATOR INTERVIEW
"I have published elsewhere this special list of topics you might review if you have been scheduled for an interview with an insurance adjuster or an insurance investigator. E-mail me if you have any suggestions to improve this list. Do not be dissuaded from your claim by seeing this list. You have nothing to worry about. But there are some red flag areas where I am going to recommend that you consider hiring an attorney."
Dr. Settlement, J.D. (Juris Doctor)
An investigator is going to get into a lot of what you might call "personal topics" and the natural reaction is to get angry and tell him it is none of their business. WRONG. It is every part of their business and you can be compelled to answer all types of questions.
In the members' area I list and discuss five SPECIAL AREAS OF INTEREST that I would be prepared for if I were scheduled for an interview in conjunction with a hit and run or phantom vehicle UIM insurance claim.
Here are SEVEN additional topics we treat in full in the members' area. We are presenting them here just to provide a bit of a reminder list so you will keep important topics in mind.
1. HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN AN INVESTIGATOR'S "INTERVIEW" ABOUT YOUR UIM INSURANCE CLAIM
2. DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED INTO PARTICIPATING IN THE INTERVIEW BEYOND THE POINT WHERE YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE.
3. ARGUMENTS TO MAKE IN SUPPORT OF ELEMENTS OF PROOF FOR A HIT AND RUN OR PHANTOM VEHICLE UIM INSURANCE CLAIM
4. Corroborating Evidence DOES NOT HAVE TO PROVE THE CLAIM.
5. Excited Utterances at the Scene of the Auto Accident or the Hospital, etc.
6. Corroborating Evidence From the Scene; With a lot at Stake, Hire an Expert
7. MAKE SURE WITNESSES DO NOT HAVE A UIM INSURANCE CLAIM-they can likely open a PIP claim (with special SCC letter guaranteeing no disqualification as an independent witness)
Follow Dr. Settlement's 5 Simple Secrets to Successful Personal Injury Settlements and settle your own insurance injury claim for the maximum amount of cash, and in the time of your choice (not as dictated by the order of files in the stack on the attorney's floor).
Here are some more free pages that are loaded with information and strategies to help you "do-it-yourself", all the way to a successful settlement of your personal injury insurance claim.
Accident Personal Injuries: Documenting and Learning Accident Medical Impacts will teach you the basic foundation to writing winning demand letters for your personal injury insurance claim settlement.
Statute of Limitations: Personal Injury Insurance Claims; Car Accidents, Dog Bites, Premises Liability will teach you the basic information on how to preserve your insurance injury claim.
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