Are you worried that you caused a hit and run car accident? It’s surprisingly common, and honestly, it could happen to anyone.
Sometimes you literally don’t realize you caused an accident until later. You get home and notice the damage on your car. But at the time it happened, you didn’t think there was any damage.
Whether you scraped a parked car, hit a road sign, scratched or bumped into another vehicle, 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. The noise of screeching brakes and the shock may have distracted you from the sound of impact.
However, admitting fault to the police OR your insurance company can have criminal legal consequences.
So you need to carefully consider your next steps. I know you want to do the right thing, but it’s not as obvious what that is as you might think.
- The 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. And we’ll get to that. But beyond that is the more basic question, “What do I do about my car right now?”
Can I Call My Auto Insurance Company? Do I Admit to a Hit and Run?
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 call your insurance company 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.
- If you tell your insurance company that you are at fault, you are admitting to a crime and creating evidence that can be used against you in court.
- 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.
We represent more people facing hit and run (leaving the scene of an accident) charges than 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 so you don’t have to make 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 a 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.
We can take care of the entire problem – help deal with getting your car fixed and keep your criminal record clean, while still making sure any victim is compensated.
The other party who was damaged will already be paid off by your insurance company before we go to court. This is a key part of our typical defense strategy. We give the clerk magistrate every reason and incentive to drop the charge completely by planning for and covering every objection.
Frequently Asked Questions About Possible Hit and Run Charges and my Auto Insurance
You should not speak to the police without an attorney. 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. )
If anyone saw you or got a license plate or there is surveillance video, then yes there is a good chance, but it’s very hard to say generally. The police may knock on your door, or you just might get a notice in the mail. If you receive a citation, deal with it promptly and call us.
We’ve certainly had clients retain us that ultimately were never contacted by the police or courts and no citation was issued, and that’s a good thing.
No. You should let us take care of that for you. You don’t want to personally admit to a crime with your auto insurance company. That could be used against you in court and get you convicted of a crime. We work to avoid unnecessary legal problems.
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.
Same situation as above. You are much better off if you let our staff handle all interactions with your insurance company. Anything you admit to is a risk.
Again, most of the time it is best to let a lawyer handle it. However, ultimately we do want their claim to get paid. That way, if and when you have to appear at a clerk’s magistrate hearing, the matter will be settled, and the clerk’s magistrate will usually not feel it necessary to issue a criminal complaint and charge you with a crime. If victims are made whole, it reduced the court’s incentive to get involved.
Yes, you can, but you should say absolutely nothing about the incident to anyone. If questioned, don’t say a word about what happened to your car or how it happened, or refer them to your attorney.
It depends, but it is rarely a problem to wait. We get to work right away on sorting this out when you consult with us.
No. People get away with it all the time.
If there aren’t witnesses or surveillance cameras, and you don’t return the area where the crash happened, they probably won’t be able to match any damage from your vehicle to whatever you hit.
I certainly do not advise my clients to completely deny or avoid responsibility for an accident they caused. The smart and ethical thing to do is make sure the victim is compensated while protecting your own rights.
That’s what we work to do for our clients, whether the police and courts get involved or not.
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 at (781) 817-6632 or text me at that number. I am usually very responsive to texts.
(Image via Wikimedia Commons)