If I hit a car and the person leaves before the police show up am I still at fault?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 14, 2012

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Insurance Question from MCB Quantico, VA

Asked on 06/14/2012

If I hit a car and the person leaves before the police show up am I still at fault? I was merging into traffic and the car behind me sped up and cut me off forciing me into the car in front of me. The person told me he called the police and we exchanged information. He then left the scene before the state police arrived who then informed me that the police were never informed of the accident.

Answer given on June 15, 2012

If you were in an auto accident and the accident was your fault, your insurance is responsible for the repairs to the other party’s car. Your description leads me to believe that the person who you feel caused you to strike the other car is the one who left the scene, not the person you rear-ended. While you may feel the other person caused the accident, if there is no way to find out who that person was, then you are on the hook for the damages. You indicate you exchanged information, but it is not clear if you and that party collided. If not, then you would be responsible for the accident since that other person was not actually involved in the accident. If there was contact between you and the party who left, they could be charged with leaving the scene of the accident and if you have his information you should give it to the police to handle.

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