Found a Note on My Windshield Saying I Hit Their Bumper...

by Lee
(Eugene, Oregon, USA)

Someone left a note on my car window saying I hit and cracked his bumper. I don't even know who he is or the kind of car he drives that I supposedly hit. I would have felt it if I'd hit his bumper and I did not. I was in the store shopping and found a note on my windshield with his phone number on it, telling me to call him. What do I do?

I called the police and they told me they did not get involved in this sort of thing and that I had better take care of it or I could be charged with hit and run. But I didn't hit anyone or anything. I checked my car when I got home and there were no scratches or scrapes anywhere on it. I wondered if he had actually hit MY car, and was trying to pin the damage on me. Perhaps the car that pulled out before I pulled into my parking space hit his car?

I have a gold car, his was white, but I didn't pay much attention to the make or model of the car, because I had no reason to. I also question why he would leave the scene if he was aware of an accident that he should have reported. I'm a retired person with a handicapped sticker on my car, although I am a very careful driver. I didn't park in a handicapped space tonight because there were not any available and this was the closest space to the door of the store.

I am very upset about this situation and may very well end up at the ER due to the stress this is causing me. I'm frightened because I do not know who this person is, he didn't even sign his name to the note. I am afraid to make contact with him because gangs are moving into our area.

What are my rights here, and how do I protect myself in this situation? Can my insurance company increase my rates because someone makes a false claim against me? Thanks for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Found a Note on My Windshield Saying I Hit Their Bumper...":

Lee (Eugene, Oregon, US):

The quickest way to relieve some of your anxiety is to do the following:

- Call the telephone number left on the note. If you are concerned about the person seeing your telephone number on his caller ID, then block your number.

- Find out what he has to say. He may have left a note because he couldn’t wait any longer. He may have waited as long as he could, not knowing when you would return. He also may have had to be somewhere else; possibly an appointment he had to keep.

Bumpers are hard to crack. If you did crack it you would have probably felt the impact. Normally people know when they hit another object with their car, but maybe you were distracted.

If he wanted to intimidate you he probably would have stayed at the scene waiting for you, no matter how long it took it took.

If the police won’t get involved, then your alternatives are limited. Although they said you could be charged with the criminal offense of “Leaving the Scene of an Accident," that's unlikely.

On the other hand, you may be correct. The note may be a hoax, or a poor attempt at extortion.

We suggest you do the following:

Call your insurance company and report the driver’s claim. They will investigate the claim for you. That’s their job. They will commence an investigation of the case by taking your statement, and then contacting the other driver.

If, after concluding their investigation they have good reason to believe you were at fault, they will pay the driver’s claim and the entire matter will be finished.

On the other hand, if they conclude the driver’s claim is not plausible, they won’t pay his claim. Insurance companies don’t give away their money unless they have to.

Most insurance companies require their insured contact them in case of an accident. If they don’t the insurance company normally reserves the right to refuse to pay a claim.

If they determine the accident wasn’t your fault, or the claim was some sort of a hoax or attempt to extort money from you, they won't pay the claim and your insurance premiums will not be affected. They will also contact the police to report the driver's actions.

Either way, contacting your insurance company is your best and smartest option. Waiting to do so can only serve to prolong what has already been a very difficult time for you.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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