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Shortly after midnight on April 20th, a 25-year-old Stockton man in a 2001 Toyota was traveling southbound on I-5 just north of Eight Mile Road when he crossed into the median, overcompensated back into traffic, crossed onto the right shoulder and hit a guardrail. The car overturned and went down the embankment, landing on its roof. Tragically, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of the fatal crash is unknown. The driver could have been impaired, fallen asleep, suffered a medical emergency or experienced a mechanical defect with the automobile.

Another explanation is that the crash could have been caused by a phantom driver.

As a driver, you have probably encountered the situation where another car starts to swerve into your lane, and you react by swerving to avoid getting hit. Usually these are just close calls that set your heart racing for a few moments while you decide whether to curse the negligent driver or thank your good fortune that a near miss is all that happened. Other times, however, the results can be much worse. A negligent driver can cause you to have an accident without ever coming into contact with your car. Getting cut off in traffic, or having a driver swerve into your lane, can cause you to swerve out of your lane and into another car, or you could even lose control of your vehicle and leave the roadway. Particularly bad outcomes include striking a fixed object, such as a tree, pole or guardrail, or experiencing a rollover crash. Probably the most deadly scenario involves swerving into oncoming traffic on an undivided highway, where a fatal head-on collision could occur.

It can be difficult, but not impossible, to recover compensation after a phantom driver car accident in California

An accident caused by a phantom driver who does not stop may be treated as a hit-and-run, even if the negligent driver did not actually hit you. Pursuing compensation when the driver is unidentified usually means filing a claim with your insurance company under your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. UM policies cover hit-and-run accidents, but insurance companies are immediately suspicious of fraudulent claims in these situations and approach them very skeptically. As you can imagine, this skepticism is multiplied exponentially in the case of a phantom driver that did not make contact with your vehicle yet nevertheless caused your car accident.

With the insurance company predisposed to deny your claim, it is very important to get an experienced Stockton or Sutter Creek personal injury attorney on your side to advocate for you and help you prove that another driver’s negligence caused your accident. Taking the following steps after a crash can help you eventually be successful with a phantom driver UM claim:

  • If anybody stopped to help you, find out if they witnessed the accident and get their information and a statement. There are also ways to locate witnesses who may have seen the accident or observed a reckless driver on that stretch of roadway near the time of the accident.
  • If you believe the phantom vehicle bumped you at all, make a close inspection of the area before you have any repair work done to your car. Your attorney may know some specialists who can make a forensic investigation of the car to uncover any signs of contact, which can help bolster your case.
  • If the police arrive at the scene, or if you receive emergency treatment at the scene or later, be sure and describe what happened to cause the accident, including any details you can recall about the responsible vehicle.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as your able to report the accident. Usually notice of claims are supposed to be reported within three days, or 72 hours after the accident.

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver in Stockton or Sutter Creek, contact Redkey Gordon Law Corp at 209-267-1685 or 209-267-4589 for a free consultation with dedicated, experienced and successful northern California auto accident attorneys.

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