Shelby Roden recently successfully resolved another motorcycle injury case on behalf of a Alabama-resident and victim of a negligent “phantom” driver, or driver that causes a crash and flees the scene. The case settled for $100,000 against the client’s own insurance carrier. The proceeds of the case were able to help relieve the client and client’s family of bankruptcy obligations.
In Alabama, a “phantom” driver is treated as “uninsured.” They are treated the same way as they would have been should they have stayed at the scene and had no insurance at all. In a situation where a crash is caused by a “phantom” driver and since “phantom” drivers are rarely found, the victim can proceed with a case against his own insurance carrier to recover his or her personal injury damages under their uninsured motorist coverage, if any.
One common misconception is that contact is required to proceed with a case against a “phantom” driver. Here at our firm, we refrain from using the commonly used phrase “hit-and-run” driver because contact is not required. The phrase “hit-and-run” implies that to have a case there has to be contact between the vehicles. That is simply not the case.
The proceeds of this particular case were assets of the bankruptcy estate, and, therefore, went to relieve the client and the client’s family of some of the obligations they had under Chapter 13.
The two lessons learned from this case: 1) Ensure you have uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage to cover yourself in this type of situation 2) If in bankruptcy before or during a personal injury case, you must notify your attorney or risk breaching your bankruptcy obligations… the proceeds, if enough, could lift you out of bankruptcy.