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  1. #1

    Default What Should a Hit-and-Run Victim Do if They Find the Car that Hit Them

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Washington

    We were involved in a hit and run a few weeks ago. Vehicle collided with our car, and then took off. We were able to follow them for a while, in a somewhat high speed chase, but they got away. During the "chase", we were on the phone with 911. We were able to describe the car, but it was a used car that was purchased more recently so there were no plates on it. We knew it was a used car because it still had the car lots plate frame filler thing, that says the car lot name and all.

    During the chase an ambulance was dispatched to take care of one of the people in our car. They went to the ER, they have a history of injuries to their neck and brain, and were released at the end of the night with a concussion.

    Talking to insurance, we are having issues. We were able to find the car that hit us on the dealers web site. We got the VIN number and everything from the site, then provided it to the police for the report. But insurance is saying that they may not be able to do anything.

    So, what can we do??? I mean, how many hit and run incidents are people able to actually provide the VIN??? Shouldn't it be as easy as calling the car lot the vehicle was sold at, tell them the vehicle was involved in an accident and they need the new owners information, then go after them?

    If they can't put the blame on the other car then our deductible applies and we have to jump through other hoops. We have a relatively low deductible, but it's the point of it and also to catch the people who did this!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Victim of Hit and Run, but Found Them

    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    But insurance is saying that they may not be able to do anything.
    Whose insurance? Yours? Were you the driver? May not be able to do anything about what? What is it that you want your insurance to do? Did you have collision coverage or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?
    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    So, what can we do?
    If you've identified the vehicle, then ascertaining who bought it should be fairly simple, and you can then sue the purchaser (and, if the purchaser wasn't the driver, you should be able to force him/her to identify the driver through discovery). Additionally, if the owner of your car has PIP, collision and/or uninsured motorist coverage, then there may be coverage for injuries to persons in the car and for the damages to the car. Until you explain a little better who's who (i.e., who "we" are), it's impossible to say much more than that.
    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    Shouldn't it be as easy as calling the car lot the vehicle was sold at, tell them the vehicle was involved in an accident and they need the new owners information, then go after them?
    Maybe. When you called the dealer, what response did you get? When you asked the officer handling the investigation of this hit & run about this, what response did you get? I would be surprised if the dealer would provide this information to anyone other than the police without a subpoena (and maybe they'd even refuse to provide it to the police without a subpoena).
    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    If they can't put the blame on the other car then our deductible applies and we have to jump through other hoops. We have a relatively low deductible, but it's the point of it and also to catch the people who did this!
    Who are "they"? Are you talking about a deductible for your collision coverage or something else?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Victim of Hit and Run, but Found Them

    Our insurance is saying they might not be able to go after the other vehicle, given the information we were able to provide. Yes, we have uninsured coverage, however we are responsible for the deductible if the other party is not contacted.

    Really, this comes down to, how can my insurance company not locate the owner of the vehicle that drove off when we were able to provide them the VIN number of a recently purchased car and provide our insurance company with the auto dealer it was purchased from?

    We have contacted our Crime Check, which is the organization that handles the case for the police department, and they are telling us police may not be able to discover who the owners are of the vehicle that hit us. As a result, our insurance company is saying the same thing, they may not be able to identify the vehicle that hit and ran.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Victim of Hit and Run, but Found Them

    The problem everyone likely has is that you found the VIN of a vehicle for sale on a dealer's site, you did not find it on the vehicle you witnessed hit you. The dealer's paper plates or plate frame does not tell anyone when the car was sold off their lot, or even that it WAS sold off their lot. While it might make sense to conclude that, proving it may be a different matter. While it is certainly a lead that could be followed up on by the police or the insurance company, the local law enforcement agency may not be able to prove who was operating the car and the insurance company may have little incentive to go through the expense of such an investigation on their own. I can personally think of a number of potential leal roadblocks to trying to prosecute a case like this, not to mention the possible difficulty identifying an owner that is objectively responsible.

    That being said, I would think that a hit-and-run with injury is the type of offense that would be followed up on by the local law enforcement agency. It may take some time, and you may have to play phone tag with these Crime Check folks until you get a hold of someone in law enforcement who might actually be looking into the matter.

    While it may be angering that you cannot locate the person who did this to you and injured someone you care about, hopefully your damages will be covered by the insurance company.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  5. #5

    Default Re: Victim of Hit and Run, but Found Them

    Just spoke with the police. They tracked the VIN we gave, went and made contact with the new registered owners. The police said that they were unable to prove who was driving the vehicle at the time, but that the vehicle has damage consistent with the story we gave them.

    But because they were unable to determine the specific driver at the time of impact, they are unable to do any additional follow up. Again, the vehicle description is consistent with our story, damage on the vehicle that is consistent with our story, but because they were unable to identify the person they were stopping the research.

    I guess I just don't see how that is fair. Based on this, someone could take my vehicle and go on a damage spree and just wear a mask. No responsibility. But if someone drives my car and runs a red light, I get a ticket in the mail because I am the registered owner. How is one the responsibility of the registered owner and one not?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Victim of Hit and Run, but Found Them

    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    Just spoke with the police. They tracked the VIN we gave, went and made contact with the new registered owners. The police said that they were unable to prove who was driving the vehicle at the time, but that the vehicle has damage consistent with the story we gave them.
    That's something, anyway. MAYBE they can be held liable.

    But because they were unable to determine the specific driver at the time of impact, they are unable to do any additional follow up. Again, the vehicle description is consistent with our story, damage on the vehicle that is consistent with our story, but because they were unable to identify the person they were stopping the research.
    Absent an admission, it's nearly impossible to definitively put a particular person behind the wheel of a vehicle. No law mandates that the owners of the vehicle admit to who was driving at the time. However, the owners might still be able to be found civilly liable for damages and injury even if they cannot be shown to be criminally liable.

    I guess I just don't see how that is fair. Based on this, someone could take my vehicle and go on a damage spree and just wear a mask. No responsibility. But if someone drives my car and runs a red light, I get a ticket in the mail because I am the registered owner. How is one the responsibility of the registered owner and one not?
    The difference is between criminal culpability and civil liability. The police do not address civil liability, only criminal acts. So, even though they might not be able to definitively show who was driving, if you can show that this was the vehicle involved, the owners can potentially be held liable for damages and injury through the civil process (a lawsuit, insurance, etc.). In your state red light camera tickets may be civil matters as opposed to criminal. But, charging someone with a crime for hit-and-run is certainly a criminal matter.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Victim of Hit and Run, but Found Them

    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    Just spoke with the police. They tracked the VIN we gave, went and made contact with the new registered owners. The police said that they were unable to prove who was driving the vehicle at the time, but that the vehicle has damage consistent with the story we gave them.

    But because they were unable to determine the specific driver at the time of impact, they are unable to do any additional follow up. Again, the vehicle description is consistent with our story, damage on the vehicle that is consistent with our story, but because they were unable to identify the person they were stopping the research.

    I guess I just don't see how that is fair. Based on this, someone could take my vehicle and go on a damage spree and just wear a mask. No responsibility. But if someone drives my car and runs a red light, I get a ticket in the mail because I am the registered owner. How is one the responsibility of the registered owner and one not?
    IT's not necessarily the owner who's responsible but the driver. That said, if the insurance chose to, they could pursue the owners insurance company. I say "if they chose" because you still cannot prove that the car is the one that hit you. Similar damage is not conclusive.

    Red light tickets can be dismissed if you can demonstrate that you are not the driver.You have to jump through some hoops, of course, but you can do it.

    As to fair: who ever said life is fair?
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Victim of Hit and Run, but Found Them

    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    Really, this comes down to, how can my insurance company not locate the owner of the vehicle that drove off when we were able to provide them the VIN number of a recently purchased car and provide our insurance company with the auto dealer it was purchased from?
    Seems like a rather pointless question that is basically asking us to speculate how it is that the police and your insurer might not be able to locate the driver of the other car. In the abstract, virtually anything is possible.

    I note that you ignored my question about what happened when you called the dealer to request this information.

    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
    View Post
    I guess I just don't see how that is fair. Based on this, someone could take my vehicle and go on a damage spree and just wear a mask. No responsibility. But if someone drives my car and runs a red light, I get a ticket in the mail because I am the registered owner. How is one the responsibility of the registered owner and one not?
    Life does not and cannot possibly comport with every unique individual's notions of what is and isn't "fair," and the comparison you're seeking to make is pointless.

    I'm honestly uncertain what you're seeking to achieve.

    If you don't want to utilize the insurance coverage you're paying a premium for, then your recourse is to sue the owner of the other vehicle. You can take depositions to try and ascertain who was driving, and you can argue to the jury at the time of trial that it should infer that the owner was driving, etc. (keep in mind that the burden of proof in a civil negligence lawsuit is significantly less than in a criminal hit and run prosecution). If I were you, I'd use my insurance for what it's meant for.

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