Phantom Motor Vehicle Law in Wisconsin
Single-car accidents are not always the fault of the driver of a crashed vehicle. Often, these accidents occur due to “miss and runs.” A miss and run occurs when another driver comes into your lane or otherwise runs you off the road without making physical contact with your vehicle. Often, these “miss and run” offenders continue driving because their vehicle was not involved in the crash. Because the “miss and run” vehicle disappears, it is referred to under Wisconsin law as a “phantom vehicle.” This type of accident can leave you with serious damage and injuries but with no driver or insurance company to hold responsible.
Fortunately, your uninsured coverage through your auto insurance policy can reimburse you for your losses if you are the victim of a miss and run accident. Unfortunately, the law setting out the requirements to qualify for such coverage became significantly stricter in 2011 after Governor Walker's repeal of the “Truth in Automobile” law.
Any individual who has been involved in an accident due to a phantom vehicle should consult with an experienced auto accident attorney in Appleton or Green Bay as soon as possible following an accident.
Phantom Vehicle Defined by Statute
Section 632.32(2)(bh) of the Wisconsin Statutes defines what a “Phantom motor vehicle” is. If all of the following apply to a vehicle, it meets the statutory definition of a “Phantom motor vehicle”:
The motor vehicle is involved in an accident with a person who has uninsured motorist coverage;
In an accident, the motor vehicle makes no physical contact with the insured or with a vehicle the insured is occupying; and
The identity of neither the operator nor owner of the motor vehicle can be ascertained.
If you have been injured because of the actions of a Phantom motor vehicle driver, there are important things you must consider immediately following such an accident.
Requirements for Uninsured Motorist Compensation After a Phantom Vehicle Miss and Run Accident
According the section 632.32(2)(g)2 of the Wisconsin Statutes, the requirements that must be met in order for your uninsured motorist benefits to provide coverage for this type of claim include the following:
You must report the accident to the police within 72 hours of the occurrence;
Someone other than you must corroborate your claims regarding the phantom vehicle causing your accident and the corroborating individual cannot make his or her own claim against your uninsured coverage as a result of the accident; and
Within 30 days after the accident, you must file with your insurer a statement under oath outlining certain facts.
Because the window for filing a police report is so narrow, and further, the requirement for filing a statement under oath with your insurer is just thirty days from the time of the accident, it is important for everyone to be aware of these stringent requirements in Wisconsin. If you are seriously injured and cannot report to the police yourself, the law does not relieve you of this requirement. Instead, another party must report the accident to the police on your behalf.
This law can cause several issues for victims of miss and run accidents, especially if no one else was around to witness the accident or if no witnesses stopped and provided their contact information. However, there may be ways to obtain video surveillance of the area or other tools that an experienced attorney can use in such a situation to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. It is imperative to discuss your phantom vehicle accident with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Call to Schedule Your Consultation with a Wisconsin Lawyer Today
The laws regarding insurance and auto accidents in Wisconsin are complicated and ever-changing. At Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd., our experienced Green Bay personal injury lawyers or Appleton personal injury lawyers can advise you of your legal rights and help ensure you meet all the requirements under the law to obtain the highest amount of compensation possible from either your insurance company or a negligent party. There are strict time limits on these cases, so do not delay in calling 920-739-7366 for help today. We have offices in Appleton, Green Bay, Oshkosh, and New London to best serve injured victims in Wisconsin.