Everyone fears being the victim of a hit-and-run accident, but “miss-and-run” accidents can also leave victims in the lurch after suffering vehicle damage and injuries.
Miss-and-run accidents occur every day in the U.S., but few South Carolinians know what they are, and even fewer know what to do after being the victim of this type of accident. In this blog, we go over what you need to know.
What’s the Difference Between a Hit-and-Run and a Miss-and-Run?
In both a hit-and-run and a miss-and-run, the at-fault driver flees the scene without calling the police or exchanging contact or insurance information with the injured driver. But unlike a normal hit-and-run, a miss-and-run is a single-vehicle accident with only one car sustaining damage.
Here’s a common example of how a miss-and-run might happen: Driver A suddenly veers into Driver B’s lane without signaling, forcing Driver B to swerve to avoid them. Driver B hits a guard rail, but Driver A keeps driving.
In this scenario, Driver A is at fault for Driver B’s crash, but there was no physical contact between their vehicles.
Sometimes the at-fault driver in a miss-and-run flees the scene deliberately to avoid responsibility. Other times, the at-fault driver may not even be aware they caused an accident, because they were driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In either case, the accident victim is left with a mountain of bills and only what the insurance world calls “a phantom vehicle” to blame.
Can You Still Get Compensation After a Miss-and-Run?
Getting compensation after a miss-and-run is difficult, since just like in a hit-and-run, the person you would normally file a claim against (the other driver) can’t be identified. There are generally two methods of getting compensation:
- Attempt to identify the at-fault driver to file a claim against their insurance
- File a claim against your own insurance through your uninsured/underinsured driver or MedPay coverage
An auto accident attorney experienced in hit-and-run and miss-and-run accidents could offer advice on what path you should pursue.
How to Find a Driver Who Fled the Scene of an Accident
Although it may seem hopeless to try to identify a driver who fled the scene after a miss-and-run, especially when their own vehicle won’t have any identifying damage from a collision, it’s not impossible.
If you were the victim of a miss-and-run, make sure to call 911 and wait for emergency responders to arrive, both to get any medical treatment you may need and to file a police report.
When speaking to the police, give as much detail as possible about the vehicle that caused your accident, including make, model, color, and as much as the license plate as you can remember. Even just part of the license plate number can be used to help identify the driver.
If the vehicle had any other identifying details, such as an out-of-state license plate or bumper stickers, make sure to mention those as well, since they can be used to identify the vehicle, and eventually, the driver.
You should also note the exact time of the accident. Using the time and location of the accident, police can request security camera footage from nearby intersections, businesses, or gas stations to try to identify the vehicle.
Insurance Companies Often Refuse to Pay After Miss-and-Run Accidents
When the other driver is located and there’s enough evidence (such as from witnesses or dashcam footage) to prove they were at fault, miss-and-runs will typically play out like any other auto accident case. But insurance companies will often jump on any excuse not to pay, including your own insurance company!
That means they will may try to prove your accident was your own fault. That’s when hiring an experienced South Carolina auto accident lawyer like those at Joye Law Firm becomes vital to proving you were not at fault.
Our attorneys understand the special challenge these types of accidents pose for victims, and we’re willing to take them on to help innocent victims get the compensation they deserve. Contact our firm today for a free consultation.