I Committed a Hit and Run. How Do I Get My Car Fixed and Avoid A Criminal Charge?

Many people call us after they caused a hit and run accident. It’s surprisingly common and honestly could happen to anyone.

They often literally don’t realize they caused an accident until later. They get home and notice the damage on their car. But at the time it happened, they didn’t think any damage was caused.

Whether you scraped a parked car, hit a road sign, or even something more serious, it is entirely possible to not fully understand what happened at the time. You may have thought it was just a near miss, and you went on your way. With the stress of the adrenaline and the panic, you may not realize that your “near miss” accident actually cause some damage.

However, admitting fault to the police OR your insurance company can have criminal legal consequences.

  • 800px-Jetta_Mk._IV_Bumper_DamageThe police may have contacted you, or you may have already received a citation in the mail.
  • Your car is damaged and you want to get it fixed.
  • The other person’s insurance company could have contacted your insurance company.

You are legitimately concerned about a possible pending criminal charge, understandably. But beyond that is the more basic question, “What do I do about my car right now?”

How Do I Deal With My Insurance Company? Do I Admit to a Hit and Run?

The problem is that if you call your insurance company to get it fixed, you don’t want to admit that you caused an accident and drove away. But you can’t blame someone else, or not explain what happened.

The solution is to have an attorney do for you.

As a criminal defense attorney, my primary concern is keeping our clients out of trouble with the law. And if you do that, you are essentially confessing to a crime, and that can cause you real problems. You don’t want a criminal record if it can be avoided. I have beaten cases with this tactic many times.

You should not admit anything to either your insurance company or the police. 

  1. If you tell your insurance company that your are at fault, you are admitting to a crime and creating evidence that can be used against you in court.
  2. If we talk to your insurance company and we tell them to pay the claim against you, that is NOT you admitting to a crime, and CANNOT be used against you in court.

Even if you want to accept responsibility for what happened, (and many people do) you don’t want to cause yourself more problems and cost more money than is necessary.

We Will Help You Fix This Entire Problem.

Leaving the scene citations result in a Clerk Magistrate's Hearing.

Leaving the scene citations result in a Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing.

We represent more people facing hit and run (leaving the scene of an accident) charges that any other law firm in Massachusetts.

  • Attorney Matson literally wrote the book on winning Clerk Magistrate’s hearings, which is where you end up when you get a citation for leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Our staff are experts at dealing with insurance companies. We can help you get your claim paid, and your car fixed without you making any incriminating statements that could get you in serious legal trouble.
  • When we deal with your insurance company, we actually greatly improve the chance of beating the case in court, so it is win-win.

Why Is It Bad For Me to Say What Happened, But OK for my Attorney to tell them the same thing?

It’s more simple than it sounds. As your legal representative, if we call the insurance company on your behalf and tell them to just pay the claim as if you were at fault, that is not a direct admission from you. And it can’t be used against you in court in a criminal case.

That’s why it really makes sense for you to hire us right away, even before you’ve received a citation, or before you have a hearing date. That way we can take care of the entire problem, so you don’t have anything extra to worry about.

And having the other party who was damaged already paid off by your insurance company is typically a key part of our defense strategy. When we go to court, if everything is all settled, and the victim has already been taken care of, it’s much easier for the magistrate to simply drop the charge completely.

Frequently Asked Questions About Possible Hit and Run Charges

What should I do if the police call me and want to talk to me, or me to come to the police station?

You should not speak to the police. Anything you say to them will be used in their investigation against you. If you don’t cooperate, and they issue a citation, it was almost certainly going to happen anyway and was unavoidable.

It is very easy to talk yourself into more trouble, and nearly impossible to talk yourself out of trouble. Just don’t do it. If you hire us, we will intervene on your behalf as your representative to the police immediately.  More on don’t talk to the police.

Will I get a citation?

If anyone saw you or got a license plate, then yes there is a good chance, but it’s hard to say generally. We’ve certainly had clients retain us that never ended up with a citation being issued, and that’s a good thing.

Should I contact my insurance company?

You should let us take care of that for you. As I said, it is difficult to get them to pay a claim without admitting to facts that could get you found guilty of a crime.

I already called my insurance company? Is that a problem?

It’s not ideal, but we can still work to make sure it doesn’t get any worse and make a plan to avoid a criminal charge.

Another insurance company called my insurance company and wants to know what happened?

Same situation. You are much better off if you let our staff handle all interactions with your insurance company. Anything you admit is a risk.

My car got towed. Can I pick it up?

You can, but you should say absolutely nothing about the incident to anyone. If questioned, don’t say a word, or refer them to your attorney.

Is there a time limit for filling out a claim?

It depends, but it is rarely a problem. We get to work right away on sorting this out.

 

If you find yourself in a situation where you committed a hit and run, but aren’t sure what to do next, call us right away.

We can absolutely help you with every part of this problem. Give us a call today!

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

  • Kathleen Carter

    People who commit a hit and run needs
    To go jail someone just did that with my car I have $3300 in damages I’m so pissed off so for anyone who commits a hit and run I hope they lock you up for a long time and just feeds you one grain of rice aday or just send your ass to
    N Korea

  • Getting your car damaged by a hit and run driver is extremely upsetting and would make anyone frustrated and angry.
    I hope the insurance gets it covered and it isn’t too costly or disruptive to your life.
    But no one should go to jail over $3000, that’s insane and illogical.
    And it doesn’t solve the problem, or prevent a future one. It’s not like there are hit and run career criminals.
    Fortunately, that doesn’t happen. No one goes to jail over damaged property from an accident.
    We defend people who have usually made a dumb mistake or panicked in the moment and almost immediately regret it. But it happens.
    If someone’s grandmother hit your car (we have represented many grandmothers in these cases), I don’t think that being tortured to death in North Korea is a proportional response.

  • Ashley Barbeau

    If you do repair your vehicle before police/insurance find you but they see your plate and read it to 911 can the victim go after you anyway?

  • bryan083

    Apparently Kathleen Carter has never made a mistake lol