Ran Off the Road: Who Pays?
It's your worst nightmare—you've been run off the road, and you have no idea who pays for the accident.
Accidents are bad enough, but that's especially true with this extra layer of confusion.
Unfortunately, drivers run off the road usually find themselves stuck with the associated costs, even if it wasn't their fault. Read on to find out why.
Can you identify the other driver?
It's common to be unable to identify the guilty driver in these cases. That's because the other driver may have driven off on purpose while you were left dealing with the crash, or they might not even know they caused a crash!
The easiest path forward is being able to identify the driver, and getting them to admit fault for the accident—easier said than done.
Is your vehicle damaged?
Being run off the road when there was no contact with another vehicle can cause a tricky claims process.
In many cases, being struck by the vehicle is preferable (when it comes to insurance) than swerving off-road. That's because swerving involves a lot of unknowns—property and other people, to name a couple.
Usually, it will be your insurance company that pays for the damage. That's because, without contact with the at-fault vehicle, your own collision coverage will come into play (even if the other driver admits fault).
Did you get hurt?
This varies for each situation, but generally, the at-fault driver is held liable if you sustain injuries. Admission of guilt and eyewitnesses are the best proof of liability.
Virginia and North Carolina both have laws on the books regarding uninsured motorist claims that can protect you when you've been run off the road, injured, and unable to identify the other driver. Basically, these laws allow you to list the unknown driver as a 'phantom' driver—but requires you to have purchased uninsured driver coverage beforehand.
Was there an eyewitness?
An eyewitness can be pivotal in accidents where you were run off the road. Eyewitnesses can often identify vehicles, drivers or license plates, and greatly aid your case.
Looking for an eyewitness should be one of your first priorities after being run off the road.
Who is really at fault?
Many times when two cars are involved in a crash, but never make contact, the case is ruled as a single-car crash. That means without an eyewitness or admission of guilt, you could be on the hook with an at-fault claim when filing a medical or physical damage claim.
Although it can be difficult to remember during a stressful accident, it's important to realize why insurance companies often say 'don't swerve.'
Yes, colliding with another vehicle is dangerous and costly. But the unknowns associated with swerving—property damage and possible loss of life—just aren't worth it in many cases.