Can I be at fault in a hit and run if the other car left and was never found? - Accident Law Questions and Answers-

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Can I be at fault in a hit and run if the other car left and was never found?

I was at a four way stop and as I entered the intersection a car coming from my left ran their stop sign and scraped the entire front part of my car. They continued driving and left the scene. The other driver was never found. I called and reported the accident and the cops came out to the scene and did a report. I did not leave the scene. The police are now calling a few days later and saying that if they process the accident report I will be ticketed and put at fault because I should have been able to stop. The other car was never found and it was not my fault. Is it possible for me to be put at fault and have this on my record?

Law Office of Christian Menard
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The police did not see the accident and only have to go on what you told them. If you worded the accident scenario correctly, they would have concluded that it was the vehicle that ran its stop sign at fault. As to any contributory negligence on your part, that would depend on the actual measurements of the road, the speed of the vehicles and visibility of the respective drivers. I have never heard of such a situation in my 36 years of practicing law, and it sounds like the police simply do not want to take the time to prepare the report and are trying to punish you for what they consider a waste of their time. I would call their bluff. Worse case is that they do issue you a citation which you would then have to fight in court and prove you were not at fault. This would require the police who investigated the accident and the one who wrote the report to come to court and testify. If they do not show up, then you simply ask that the case be dismissed and it will be dismissed for the state's inability to prove its case. The alternative is that no report is taken. It is still a hit and run accident and you should report it to your insurance carrier which should cover the accident under your uninsured motorist coverage.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/26/2013

Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
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Police must be idiots. They cant prove a case unless you made a lot of dumb statements which I hope you did not.

Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 2/25/2013

Answer By Gregory M Janks
Gregory M Janks, PC
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If you are planning on making a claim for Property Damage/Collision Coverage against your insurance, or for Personal Injury Protection Benefits, then it's likely your Policy requires you to file a Police Report within a certain short time period. It is also likely your policy requires you notify your insurer of your claims, also likely within a stated time period. Again read your policy. Also your policy will tell you whether a finding by the police that you are at fault (and it's tough to understand why the police said they'd state you were at fault if another car ran a stop sign) impacts your collision coverage (it could be that you'd pay the deductible vs. having it waived for a not-at-fault crash). As to any PIP claims fault is irrelevant. If you have qualifying injuries, you can make a claim against your Uninsured Motorist Coverage for your pain and suffering (at least if you purchased such coverage).

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/24/2013

Answer By James P Kelaher
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
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Anything is possible but the police would be incorrect if they did so.

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/24/2013

Answer By John F Brennan
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
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This does not sound correct, call my office for an appointment or another attorney before taking action.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/23/2013

David F. Stoddard
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Yes. Just because the other vehicle left the scene of the accident, does not automatically mean it was their fault. However, if you are charged, you will be entitled to a trial, which you wold probably win since there would be no witness to contradict you.

Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 2/23/2013

Answer By Wayne J. Wimer
Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S.
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Can the officer issue a ticket? Yes, but that doesn't seem likely under the circumstances. The citation, if issued is not a misdemeanor charge, and the officer almost never would appear in court to testify against you, but the prosecutor's office would rely upon the sworn statement of the officer, if it was properly handled.

If you appear in court and contest the citation, the judge more than likely would be less than favorable to the prosecution since the person who hit you clearly broke the law by hitting and running off.

My guess is that the police department doesn't want to waste further time trying to find the hit and run driver and is hoping that you won't hound them to try to find the guy. If you had uninsured motorist coverage on your vehicle, turn the claim in to your insurance company and they will have to take care of your damage.

Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 2/23/2013

Answer By C. Gary Wilson

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Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 2/23/2013

Answer By Jim Hasser
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
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Quite frankly, I don't get where the cops are coming from; at least, not from the facts you have laid out here.

It sounds like the other driver was at fault, and you were not. If you didn't actually talk with the investigating officer, I would do so to confirm what you have been told. You will need the accident report to make an insurance claim.

If it turns out that they are going to ticket you, then I would call your insurance agent and see if you can get away with not having the accident report processed and see if he or she has any suggestions. Good luck.

Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 2/23/2013

Answer By John Russo

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They are full of @$#&, in plain english.

If the accident happened the way you have described, there is no way they can make that assertion and if they do not have the second vehicle how are they placing any fault on you, if this is factual you live in an area with a police department of very low intelligence, and since most police are very badly trained in the law in the first place it would seem that yours is running well below the curve.

Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 2/23/2013

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