What to do about a hit and run?

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What to do about a hit and run?

CAR 1 scratches CAR 2 while parked. The damage is not devastating but is notable. CAR 2 is empty so there are no injuries but the driver of CAR 1 panics and leaves the scene without leaving any information. The driver of CAR 1 is a new driver (but over 18) but does not own the car and does not have their own liability insurance, however CAR 1’s owner does have an insurance. Legally, what will be the repercussions for the driver of CAR 1 if there are any witnesses to the incident? Conscience aside, should the driver of CAR 1 contact the police now? Will this reduce the sentence or not?

Asked on June 5, 2011 under Accident Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am confused as to what you wish to do here: press charges for leaving the scene of an accident or get the car fixed?  Of course it is always better to fess up to something rather than wait for the police to come and find you.  Reducing the sentence - yet her has yet to be charged - is not something that one can guess on but I am sure that a Judge will look more favorably on someone who stands up and takes their lumps.  Now, if the other insurance will pay for your damages depends on if your state has a permissive use doctrine and he was driving it with the consent of the owner.  If he had permission then generally speaking an owner is vicariously liable for the acts of those driving their car with permission.  I say generally.  State law can vary.  If your insurance will pay you may be better off and then having your insurance company sue the other insurance company under a theory known as subrogation.  Then you will just have to sue for the deductible.  Good luck.


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