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Phantom Drivers

IRWIN KRAMER: Who can you sue when the hit and run driver got away?

JOHN DOETZER: You are not out of luck. You still have the opportunity to present a claim either under your physical damage coverage or under uninsured motorist coverage.

IRWIN KRAMER: The benefit of going with an uninsured motorist claim is that you do not get surcharged and have to pay through the nose for the next three years.

JOHN DOETZER: It is not a "chargeable accident" against your future premiums.

IRWIN KRAMER: But if it is a "collision claim" and not filed as an "uninsured motorist claim," those surcharges may very well apply and that could mean very serious dollars for you down the road.

There are people who try to scam the insurance company by saying it was the phantom motorist, that it's a hit and run when, in fact, it was a single collision. They ran off the road themselves without any help from another driver.

DAVID PISANIC: Now a days, with accident reconstructions, we can tell usually pretty carefully and clearly what happened in an accident. Where were your damages on your vehicle? What did you hit? Where are the skid marks? You can look at the pictures of damage to the vehicle and you can tell from what angle they were struck and what probably struck them, how fast the vehicle was traveling that struck them, whether or not it was vehicle.

IRWIN KRAMER: Bogus claims are usually pretty easy to spot.

DAVID PISANIC: You have got to make sure that you have something that is going to be believable. If not, the insurance company is going to have a lot of evidence that they are going to be able to rely on to show that this was not a phantom vehicle.

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Law Can Be Stranger than Fiction

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