Can I settle out of court if I was the victimof a hitand run?

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Can I settle out of court if I was the victimof a hitand run?

I was working when a witness informed me that my car was hit and that they had the license plate number. I contacted the police and they found the suspect. Is there a way that I can settle out of court even though the cop issued a court date?

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Accident Law, South Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There are two separate cases here; a criminal case and a civil case.  The court date issued by the cop is for the criminal case for hit and run.  That won't be settled out of court.

The civil case (lawsuit) is your claim for property damage to your vehicle.  This civil case could be settled out of court.  You should file a claim for property damage with the other driver's insurance carrier.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking) would be the cost of repairs to your car and rental car costs, if you need a rental car while your car is being repaired.  The insurance company has a maximum per day that it will pay for a rental car.  They won't pay the collision damage waiver for the rental car which you don't need if you have insurance.  If the other driver does not have insurance, you can file your property damage claim with your auto insurance company if you have uninsured motorist coverage.  If the other driver does not have insurance and you don't have uninsured motorist coverage, you will need to sue the other driver for negligence to recover your property damage and rental car cost if applicable.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by having the car repaired at a place whose charges are comparable to other auto body shops in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive auto body shop you could find, your damages would be reduced accordingly.  If you do get a rental car, you will need to mitigate damages by selecting a reasonable rental car rate.  If you were to select the most expensive rental car you could find, your damages would be reduced accordingly.


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