Can someone file a claim against me if he fled the scene after an argument? 21 Answers as of January 20, 2011

I rear ended a guy in a SUV two nights ago. We pulled into a convenience store to exchange info. He was drunk and belligerent and screaming. I had been drinking also. I gave him my insurance info and called the police at which point the guy I hit him and he fled the scene. Is there any liability on my part if the guy left? The police did not give me a ticket or charge me with anything but called my spouse to come pick me up. My car is at the body shop and will likely be an insurance claim filed because we cant afford to repair the car out of pocket. Will insurance cover and can the guy who fled come back and file a claim after leaving the scene?

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Dack Marasigan, LLP
Dack Marasigan, LLP | Martin E. Dack, Esq
Any one can file the claim, but the question is that whether the claim is worthy. There is no liability from your side. You may be liable for the accident whether he left or not.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/20/2011
Premier Law Group
Premier Law Group | Jason Epstein
If the accident was your fault, which it sounds like it was since you rear-ended the other guy, then he can bring a claim against you for damages he may have suffered. It is not really relevant that he left the scene.

As far as whether or not your insurance will fix your car, that all depends on the type of insurance coverages you had purchased.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/19/2011
Allegretti & Associates
Allegretti & Associates | James L. Allegretti
Some can also file a claim. The question is whether the claim is worth filing. There is no liability on your part just because he left. You may be liable for the accident whether he left or not.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 1/18/2011
Peckar & Abramson, P.C.
Peckar & Abramson, P.C. | David Scriven-Young
The answers to your questions depend on several facts, including the terms of your insurance policy and exactly what occurred that night. You should consult an attorney to confidentially relate the facts and get advice. Also, I do not know if the guy who you hit will file a claim against you. Anybody can file a claim. Whether or not that claim has merit is the question. I can't advise on that question without more facts. Please feel free to contact my office if you need assistance.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 1/18/2011
Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
Yes but he will have a difficult time since he left the scene. If he bothers you, call police as they may ticket him for leaving the scene of an accident.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 1/18/2011
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
    Fault for the accident will be determined regardless of whether he fled the scene, but it could play a factor. If the accident was your fault, then the fact that he left the scene likely will not diminish your fault. However, it may be one of many factors that will cause the insurance companies to investigate further and, perhaps, determine that his alcohol consumption played a role in the accident as well.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    If you think the accident was your fault, the other driver will likely give a statement that you were at fault. He may also say that you were drunk. Therefore, unless he did something wrong that contributed to the accident, you might be better leaving it alone (i.e. don't try to find him). If he did do something wrong, you might want to find him, but you will risk the insurance company getting a copy of the police report.

    If this man later calls your insurance company and reports the claim, they will likely call you and get a statement from you. Again, they will get a copy of the police report if you alert them to the fact that the cops came to the scene. Just be careful what you say.

    The insurance company will probably already be suspicious of the other driver because he left the scene. They may assume that he was drunk.

    Still, this is a complicated question. If the insurance company calls you, you might simply tell them that you will call them back when you have time to talk, and then contact an attorney before calling them back.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    That is why you purchase insurance, to protect you in case of accidents and lawsuits. Yes he can come back and file a claim, but since he left the scene and was intoxicated, he does not have much of a claim.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    Anyone can file a claim for anything. However, as a practical matter his filing a claim will be a problem. You can allege his drunken state and he will have to explain why he left. I would imagine you will never hear from the guy again. Your insurance will pay your claim barring circumstances I am not aware of, however, it will be a fault event on your part and could lead to hiked rates, cancellation or non-renewal.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Tomalas Law Firm
    Tomalas Law Firm | Ryan Tomalas
    The answers to your question of "Will insurance cover and can the guy who fled come back and file a claim after leaving the scene?," are probably both "yes." The fact is that you caused the accident and therefore you (through your insurance policy) are responsible for the damages you caused. However, the fact that the other person left the scene before the police arrived may mitigate against his ability to collect much in damages (depending upon his injuries, if any) from your insurance company. It is very likely that, if the other driver makes a claim, your insurance company will be very interested in what the police report says about the collision and the fact that the other person left the scene. They could use that information to reduce the amount in damages that they might otherwise be willing to pay. (Conversely, if the police report indicates that you were drinking and driving, that could be a benefit to the other person.)
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    Thank you for your personal injury question. Fleeing the scene does not prevent someone from making a claim against you. However, it does affect the viability and value of such a claim. As far as your property damage, you need to put your carrier on notice and they should pay for the repairs.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Yes, the fellow whom you struck in your state of inebriation could have you charged with misdemeanor assault and battery anytime within the next 12 months from the date of this incident.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Your insurance will cover you. Call them and report the claim or possible claim, the fact that the dude left the scene means nothing. Since he was drunk he may not even bother.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Yes, if he has your and your insurance information, he can always contact you and present a claim. If you are going to make a claim against your own insurance company for your property damage under the collision coverage of your policy, you need to notify your insurance company immediately; your policy of insurance I am sure has a provision in it which requires you to promptly notify them of any accidents. Because of the fact you called the police, you have satisfied one of the requirements of your policy, and if your insurance company refuses to pay for your claim for the repairs to your car, you should contact an attorney since your insurance company would have to prove they suffered prejudice by your late reporting, which I doubt they could do as you called the police and a police report was made out. The fact you were not cited with the accident or ticketed is of little consequence as you would admit under oath that you hit the guy.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Yes he could bring suit; your insurance company would defend.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    Unfortunately, he probably can still file a successful insurance claim. If you rear-ended him, it is likely pretty clear that the accident is your fault. On the other hand, he can also be cited for leaving the scene of an accident, so he may be too scared to report the claim. You will have to wait and see.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/16/2011
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    Leaving the scene has no real impact on his claim against you for the incident. Your insurance might cover you if you have collision limits, but there might be an exclusion if they learn you had been drinking and possibly driving while intoxicated.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/16/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    The reality of the situation is if you have to contact your own insurance carrier to fix your car, they will ask the details and/or obtain the police report. This will likely result in a finding that you were at fault because of the rear end collision. Luckily for you the police did not arrest you for a DUI. I am not aware of any legal rationale for exonerating you for causing the collision just because he fled the scene. He may, however, have his own problems for leaving the scene. The police could have gone to his home and even arrested him. Did you tell him he was drunk? If so, hopefully they did their job and went after him. As for him filing a claim, your insurance will cover you if he does. If you turn this in to your carrier and they deem you to be at fault, then you may get a 25% increase in your premiums for the next 4 years. You can check with your insurance agent if that is correct. Then you might want to calculate the value of 4 years of extra premiums vs. paying to have your car fixed out of pocket if you can somehow scrape up the money to do that. On the other hand, the fact that you called the police, it may get reported anyway and the insurance company might increase your premiums regardless. Again, check with your insurance agent, but try to do so anonymously as they are technically required to report it to the carrier if you make an inquiry. But if you are asking your agent on behalf of a friend they should be able to give you the information you need.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/16/2011
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates | Sheldon J. Aberman
    The fact that he fled the scene, in and of itself, does not preclude him from claiming that your negligence caused him damages.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/16/2011
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