When you think of a car accident, you most likely imagine two or more vehicles colliding with one another. There is another type of car accident, however, that does not necessarily involve contact between two cars. This is a no-contact car accident, and it can lead to injuries that are just as significant as those suffered in a typical car crash.
What Is a No-Contact Accident?
A no-contact car accident describes a crash in which a driver makes an evasive maneuver to attempt to avoid a collision, only to get into a subsequent car accident without coming into contact with the other vehicle. For example, if Driver A runs a red light and Driver B swerves to avoid a collision but careens off the road and strikes a tree, it is a no-contact accident. These accidents commonly involve smaller vehicles that are difficult for other motorists to see, such as motorcycles and bicycles.
How Is Liability Determined After a No-Contact Accident?
No-contact accidents are unique because they involve a phantom vehicle: a car driven by a driver who caused the accident yet did not actually come into contact with the victim’s vehicle. In most cases, the driver of the phantom car will be held responsible for the no-contact crash, as he or she is the individual who violated a traffic law and put the victim in danger.
In general, the driver who violated a traffic law or roadway rule at the time of the collision will be held liable for the victim’s injuries and property damage. This is true even if that driver’s vehicle never technically touched the victim’s vehicle. The driver who forced the other person to take evasive action to avoid a crash will be responsible, regardless of whether there was actual physical contact.
Common causes of no-contact car accidents include driving while distracted, drunk driving, running red lights, failing to stop at stop signs, speeding, making unsafe lane changes, merging on top of someone else and passing too closely. If a driver’s mistake forces another unsuspecting driver to swerve or take other evasive action, it could lead to a no-contact crash for which the phantom driver is responsible.
How to Prove Your No-Contact Car Accident Case
Unfortunately, many drivers of phantom vehicles fail to stop and take responsibility for no-contact accidents because they are unaware of their role in causing the crash. They may drive off without stopping or exchanging information with the injured victim since they did not experience any contact with another car. If this occurs, the victim may have no choice but to seek financial benefits from his or her own car insurance policy.
Even if the other driver involved in the accident does stop to take responsibility, his or her liability will not be automatically assigned. Under Nevada’s fault-based insurance law, an injured car accident victim must prove that the other driver is at fault for the no-contact accident based on a preponderance of the evidence to receive a payout for medical bills and property damage.
Proving liability for a no-contact accident requires evidence that the phantom driver broke a law or behaved negligently and that this is what forced the victim to react and subsequently crash. Evidence to support this type of claim may include eyewitness accounts, video surveillance footage, photographs, crash reconstruction done by experts, a driver’s cell phone records and a police report.
If you were recently involved in a no-contact accident in Nevada, contact the Las Vegas car accident lawyers at Koch & Brim, LLP for assistance proving your case. We can help you hold a phantom driver accountable.