A recent article in the Orlando Sentinel about a tragic motorcycle accident reminded me that most motorists probably have little idea of exactly what to do when they are involved in an accident involving a phantom vehicle.

According to the Sentinel, two motorcyclists — Raymond Sanchez and Carlos Nazareno Funes — were riding norhtbound on John Young Parkway in Orlando when an unidentified white van changed lanes directly in front of them. Both motorcyclists tried to avoid the van by driving into the median. Both men were thrown from their bikes. Mr. Sanchez struck a tree and was tragically killed. Mr Funes was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.

As as Orlando accident attorney who has represented dozens of motorcycle accident victims over the years, my heart goes out to the families of both men — and especially Mr. Sanchez’. 30-years old is clearly too young to die.

To me, having a phantom vehicle involved makes it worse. With a phantom vehicle, I am always suspicious whether the phantom driver knew that he or she caused an accident, but was just too much of a coward to stay and accept responsibility.

All is not necessarily lost in phantom vehicle situations — as long of the injured person carried Uninsured Motorist (UM) benefits at the time of the crash. Even if there was no physical contact a UM claim can be brought, as long as the accident is reported in a timely fashion (this might be required as quickly as 24 hours after the crash, according to some insurance policies.)

Uninsured Motorist coverage can also be purchased for motorcycles. UM coverage “steps into the shoes” of the tortfeasor, and acts just like bodily injury liability coverage.
If you have any questions regarding a phantom vehicle crash, or Uninsured Motorist coverage, call Winter Park personal injury lawyers Kim Cullen and Bob Hemphill at 407-644-4444, or order a FREE copy of Kim’s Florida accident book Asleep at the Wheel.

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