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Phantom Drivers And Your UM Insurance Coverage


There are phantoms driving among us, on our roadways. Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. But before you laugh and think the phrase “phantom driver” is a knock on south Florida drivers, you should know what a phantom driver actually is, because phantom drivers do play a role in South Florida accidents.

When do Phantom Drivers Cause Accidents?

Let’s say that you are driving on the highway, and a large couch is in the middle of the roadway. You hit it, and you are injured. Certainly, the couch didn’t get there on its own. Somebody, somewhere, at some time, loaded that coach on their truck, failed to secure it, and when it fell, left it there.

But who? There’s no way of ever knowing. Someone is responsible, but the liable driver is a phantom driver.

Phantom drivers cause accidents all the time. People hit cars and then drive away. Or, someone does something careless, like swerving into another driver’s lane, causing an accident, but the negligent driver, not being in the accident, drives off.

Your UM Coverage Can Help

How do you sue a driver that doesn’t exist or who you can’t locate or identify? If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, your UM policy will “stand in the shoes” of the phantom driver, and, if the phantom driver is in fact negligent, your UM coverage will pay you what the phantom driver would have paid, if he or she could be identified.

That means that when a phantom driver causes an accident, you are actually suing your own insurance company. And it means that your insurance company, playing the role of the phantom drover, is actually working against you. It is an odd setup, but one that can help you if you are injured, and can’t identify who the responsible party is or was.

Underinsured Drivers

Uninsured Motorist insurance also has a benefit, even if you know who the liable party is, and are able to sue him or her. UM coverage is also sometimes called underinsured motorist coverage, because it will also help where someone hits you, but doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the full extent of your damages.

Let’s assume someone causes an accident, and the jury awards you $100,000. The problem is the Defendant—the liable party—only has $10,000 in insurance coverage benefits. Where do you get the other $90,000?

If you had UM coverage, you would name your own insurance company in the lawsuit. Both the negligent Defendant and your own insurance company, would defend the lawsuit against your claim. In the end, your own insurance will pay the difference between the other side’s maximum liability coverage, and the value of your settlement or jury verdict.

Were you injured in a car accident? Contact the Miami personal injury attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today if you are a victim in any kind of accident.



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