A young lady hit my car and when I went to get paper for her information, she jumped in the car and drove off. I filed a police report. The owner of the car contacted me and wanted to pay for the damages without contacted their insurance company. When we met to get the estimate, I found that the person that I had been talking to (the owner) was not the person driving. She has agreed to pay, but I just have a bad feeling because the whole time we talked, she spoke as if she was in the car and the fact that they left makes me uneasy to trust them. I gave her one week to pay for the damages. In the event that she doesn't, can I sue for my damages (no one was hurt) and press charges against the driver for hit and run? I don't think it's fair to pay for someone else's neglegence. Please help.
I don't have her insurance information. Should I contact the police department who filled out the report to get it or should I ask her to give it to me just in case? Is there a statute of limitations on how long I can allow this process to continue without losing my rights? I really appreciate your help. I've never been in an accident and I just want to make sure that I'm doing what's right. Thanks.
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
I am not licensed in IL and can only offer you general information. However. As long as you have the insurance information from the owner of the car who hit you, you should be okay. In many states, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for the conduct of the driver if he has given permission for that person to drive his vehicle. As long as you are being made whole for the damages you suffered, I would not be concerned with getting the driver to pay your damages. You are fortunate in many ways not to have to pursue the driver and learn that she or he has no coverage. You can only collect one time for your damages, and for all you know, the driver may have to pay the owner back.
Good luck and I hope that you are made whole for the damages you suffered.
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Medical Malpractice Attorney
The short answer to your question is yes. I suggest that you speak with a lawyer so that he or she can explain both your options and the process to you. I also suggest that you get a copy of the police report. The report should have the identity of both the owner of the car and the driver and the insurance information for at least the owner. The report typically costs $5. You have two years from the date of the accident to file suit unless the vehicle was owned by certain governmental entities (like the CTA), in which case other, shorter time frames apply. Finally, my experience tells me that when something seems fishy, it usually is. Follow your instinct on this, talk to a lawyer, and make sure you protect yourself. Good luck
Personal Injury Lawyer
The law requires you to report a crash that involves property damage over a certain amount, and that amount is a very small one. That means you have to go to the local police and make a report of what happened. You have already done this. So you have followed the law. You are in the clear and have nothing to worry about.
There is a five year statute of limitation for filing a lawsuit for property damage and a two year statute for inuries in Illinois. You said there were no injuries, so it sounds like you have plenty of time to file suit papers if the owner of the other car fails to pay your damages. I certainly would not wait long, but a week sure is not much time.
As for pressing charges for a hit and run, what does it gain you? I suppose you could pursue it after you get your damages paid, but it is very unlikely that a prosecutor is going to be interested in taking the case on if he or she has thousands of cases involving serious crime. A hit and run auto crash means very little to the average prosecutor who needs to deal with murders, robberies, rapes, and other felonies. Unless you live in a county where there is nothing much doing, the prosecutor's office is going to listen to you politiely and then ignore you in all likelihood. It's up to them whether or not to take action, not you. Keep that in mind. I know you probably don't want to hear that kind of answer, but I would rather you heard the truth.
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