What to Do After Being Run Off the Road by Another Driver
Car insurance claims can easily get complicated after a car accident. If you are run off of the road by another driver, it can be an extremely dangerous situation often ending with a serious injury. Hitting an inanimate object other than another car is considered a single car accident and falls under collision coverage. Prepare to pay the deductible listed on collision coverage.
Unfortunately, being run off the road by another driver is not as uncommon as you might think. A lot of these types of accidents are due to distracted driving. Figuring out how your insurance claim will be handled can be a sticky situation. Often results can differ on a case by case basis because so many different variables can affect the claim.
Call The Police and Report It
It is important to take steps to protect yourself legally and financially as soon as possible. As soon as you are in a safe place, call 911 to report the accident. It is very helpful if you can remember the color, make, and model of the vehicle, any identifying features of the driver, and in a perfect world, all or part of the license plate number. If you cause damage to someone else’s property, you could be held liable, and it’s important to have a record that you are not at-fault legally. In a perfect scenario, the law enforcement officers would also be able to track down the other driver and give them a hefty ticket for a hit-and-run accident.
Who Ran You Off the Road?
Knowing who ran you off the road is a start. But not only does it help to know who did it, but they need to admit fault. There are certainly cases where the at-fault driver does not even realize he or she caused you to run off the road. Maybe they never saw you when they cut you off and kept right on going. These types of accidents can be excruciatingly frustrating because it is not your fault, yet there is nobody to place the fault on.
Asses the Damage to Your Vehicle?
Running your vehicle off of the road can certainly cause a lot of damage. Hitting a guardrail or other object obviously will cause physical damage. The undercarriage of your vehicle is also very susceptible to damage when leaving the road. In a situation where you are run off the road without making contact with another vehicle, the claims process gets dicey. You could say you are better off letting the vehicle hit you when it comes to car insurance claim purposes. Swerving also poses a lot of risks because many times you do not know what you are swerving into.
More than likely, even if you know who ran you off the road and they admit fault, your car insurance policy is the one that would cover the damages. This means that your deductible would apply and you only have coverage if you currently have collision coverage listed on your vehicle. Like mentioned earlier, situations can vary per state and insurance carrier, but without contact with the at-fault vehicle, it is going to be difficult to go after them for physical damage repairs.
Did You Get Injured?
Injuries which occur when run off the road could be a different story. The at-fault driver could be held liable, but it again depends on your particular situation. Admitting guilt would be a major contributing factor in whether or not you can pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. An eyewitness could also be helpful in this situation. If you do not get the driver's information, some states allow an uninsured motorist claim to be filed under your own policy and list the at-fault driver as a phantom driver.
You would have to of purchased uninsured motorist before the time of the accident. These types of claims can often involve a lawyer and be a lengthy process. Start by asking your claims adjuster or insurance agent, and then proceed with a lawyer consultation if you feel things are not being handled fairly.
Is There an Eyewitness?
An eyewitness could be crucial in an accident when you are run off the road. An eyewitness will cut down on the "he said-she said" circumstances if there is a disagreement. An eyewitness could also potentially get the license plate number of someone leaving the scene. If you are run off the road by another vehicle, be sure to look for a witness to verify your story. Get their contact information and ask for their cooperation with a police report and future insurance claim.
Who Will the Insurance Company Deem At-fault?
Most of the time if two vehicles do not make contact, then the accident is considered a single car accident. Single car accidents are almost always considered at-fault with the exception of animals and flying objects. Some insurance carriers could be lenient with you if you have someone admitting guilt or an eyewitness. Rules are rules, and in some states even if guilt is admitted by the other party, without actual contact with another vehicle, you will be charged with an at-fault claim if you file a physical damage or medical claim.
Being run off the road is very scary. It can also be one of the most frustrating types of claims because you feel helpless since it was not your fault. Again this is when insurance agents normally say “Do not swerve.” It can wind up worse in the long run verse actually coming in contact with the other vehicle.