Hit and Run: WWYD?

Two weeks ago as my Expedition was parked in front of our house, it was sideswiped by a car traveling up our street.  I was home at the time but wasn’t aware of the incident until later in the day when a neighbor, who witnessed the whole thing, came over to see if the driver of the other vehicle had contacted me.   The other driver had not contacted me – had not come to my front door to talk to me about the accident, nor left any contact information on my windshield so that I could contact her, but rather left the scene.  Fortunately, my neighbor took down her license plate number.  We filed a claim with our insurance company and obtained an estimate of the cost to repair the damage caused by the collision, which ended up being in the neighborhood of $2,000.

Yesterday evening while I was out at baseball practice with the twins and Michael was at baseball practice with Joey and Kevin was home with Finn and Lilah, a woman came to our front door looking for me (what possessed Kevin to answer the door to a stranger while his parents weren’t home I have no idea – I’m still upset about that).  It was the woman who hit my truck.  She asked for my phone number, which Kevin did not give to her, so she left her phone number and asked that he have me call her.  Michael dialed her number when we got home, and then thinking better of it (really, it’s in the hands of the insurance company now), hung up, but by then our number was already on her Caller ID, so of course a little while later she called.

To make a long story short, she told Michael how she had just passed her driving test a couple days before the incident (!!), how a car was approaching from the other direction and in her nervousness she veered into my truck, and then “didn’t have the courage” to try to get in t0uch with me about damaging my truck, so left the scene.  At the time of the incident, she was driving her cousin’s car, and her cousin, the owner of the car, was in the car with her.  I would have to assume that he is at least a somewhat experienced driver, so there were two people there who understood that a car they were in had hit another vehicle, and they left the scene.

I’m not sure what she wanted from us.  To handle the whole thing without involvement of insurance companies?  To forgive her because she said she was “very sorry”?  I don’t think she had any idea what the cost of the damage that she caused amounts to, because she was surprised when Michael told her.  Anyway, the insurance claim is already in motion, a check is already being processed.

What I am kind of torn about at this point is: should I file a police report?  The truth is, her cousin’s insurance will pay for the damage to my truck.  And his insurance rates will certainly go up because of this whole thing, but I doubt he’ll ever have to pay an amount in increased premiums that will equal the cost of the damage to my truck.  He will have to work out with his cousin, who was driving his car, how to get restitution from her – that’s between them.  It’s sad that she had just gotten her driver’s license (though she was not a teenager – Kevin estimated her to be in her 20s or 30s), and I’m sure she was nervous, and maybe she is sorry – but the fact is, she left the scene.  Hit and run!  It seems that she was hoping to get away with it and is only sorry now to have been caught by way of our insurance company tracking her down via her license plate number.  There’s a part of me that wants to make sure she is cited and fined for what she did.  But is that just being unnecessarily vindictive?  Is there a good enough reason to shake her life up a little over this, or should I just accept the check from the insurance company and let it go?

What would you do?

6 Comments on “Hit and Run: WWYD?”

  1. Midnightmama
    February 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    I’m not sure what I would. I don’t enjoy bring critical- but her story could be bogus. Maybe she didn’t tell her cousin the truth, maybe she was under the influence, maybe she’s an awful driver. The story sounds fishy to me. There may be more to it, there could be others involved (if she had been reckless or drunk maybe there are other reports out there).

    She may very well be truthful, but if she’s got nothing to hide she should have stopped.

    Me personally, I would file a police report. Driving is a privilege!

    Thankfully, no one was hurt. Glad you’re getting
    Compensated for the damage. 2k is a lot!

  2. Midnightmama
    February 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    I believe my comment was eaten by cyberspace!

    I vote file a report, the story seems lame, and there is probably more to it. I’d rather just let it go away, but driving is a privilege and should be treated as such. Maybe she was under the influence or has a history of this sort of thing, or your property wasn’t the only affected.

    Thankfully, no one was hurt ( that you know of).

    Sorry this happened to you, like you don’t have enough to do already!!

  3. Addie
    February 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Im kind of thinking, dont file the report… I mean she did call you back and apologize when she really didnt have to, and the money is going to be paid either way.

    I dont know, I can just imagine myself as a scared new driver and hitting someone and not knowing what to do so I run… not that I would do that now, but then, now Ive been driving for much longer and can see how it goes…

    just my 2 cents

  4. Stacey
    February 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    California law says that you have to report any accident that causes property damage over a certain dollar amount to the DMV. That’s what I did when my car was hit & runned. Write on the report that the other driver did not stop, but a neighbor got this license number. In your case, I would write on the report that the other driver contacted you after the fact & here’s her phone number. The DMV can suspend her license if their investigation shows that she left the scene without just cause, i.e. she was on the way to the hospital with a bleeding passenger or the accident was so minor that she might not have realized it happened. It’s not your fault, it’s the DMV’s. You’re just a law-abiding citizen.

  5. Mumofone
    February 19, 2011 at 4:07 am #

    I obviously do not know anything about the Californian legal code so I speak only of principles and logic. But this did happen a few days ago and you didn’t report it to the Police then so I am wondering why you are now thinking about it. If you felt there was a legal obligation to do so wouldn’t you have done so immediately. I assume you didn’t as you didn’t report it then. So I am thinking your indecision is on moral grounds. This is more difficult as each of us, while sharing certain morals, still has our own moral code. I guess to be as objective as you can you should think about whether you would have reported it before you met this woman (and she maybe rubbed you up the wrong way a little with her poor attitude, poor driving and poor judgement).
    Anyway they’re my thoughts for what their worth – and I realise that its not exactly what you asked because its not what I’d do but rather what I’m suggesting you do (LOL)

    • Lisa
      February 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

      I see your point. No, it’s not that I feel a legal obligation to file a report with the police, it’s more a desire to see this person face consequences of her actions – i.e., hitting my truck and purposefully fleeing the scene, hoping to get away with it. Why didn’t I report it right away? I had no idea who it was that even hit my truck until my insurance company tracked her down through the license plate number on the car she was driving. That information is not public, so I would not have been able to track her down myself. I suppose I could have immediately filed a police report, but I did not know the extent (cost) of the damage to my truck for several days, until I got an estimate, it was not an urgent situation (such as a violent crime or something like that), and in truth, I just did not know how the insurance company would handle it – reimbursement for the damages has come from MY insurance, and they will be seeking restitution from the insurance carrier of the registered owner of the other car (who is, according to this woman, not even the person who hit my truck). As part of that, will the insurance company be filing something with the DMV? I have no idea. The bottom line is that I just did not have enough information right to make a clear decision about reporting it to the police immediately. Now that I do have the information I was missing directly after the incident, it boils down to whether or not I feel she should face some kind of penalty from a moral standpoint.

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