Friend totaled my car while I was the passenger and fled the scene...

by Anonymous

We left a concert and I had been drinking a lot. I wanted to get a taxi but my friend said he could drive. He took the keys and we got into my car and drove. I was falling asleep but awoke when I felt a huge crash and airbags deployed. He had totaled my car and all of the damage was on my side (passenger side).

My friend started freaking out and was trying to get me to get out of the car but I was in shock and pain and couldn't move. He than got out of the car, fled the scene and left me in the car. My car door was jammed. There were witnesses who saw this so they helped me get out of the car and waited with me for cops and ambulance to come. I was taken to the ER on a stretcher and was given morphine for my neck pain and injuries.

I am now home on bed rest for 3 days. I was dazed from all that had happened but I remember telling cops that I had been drinking and that my friend was driving and left the scene. I think he may have had a couple of drinks but he insisted on driving. I later found out that he didn't have a license when he messaged me on Facebook, apologizing and explaining why he fled the scene.

I refused to talk to him until I spoke to a lawyer in the morning. I am pretty sure he wrecked into another car or light post but I think I was the only one injured. What are the steps I can take in this situation? Will he be arrested? Will he be held accountable for wrecking my car and for my ER bills? This is not my fault and I've never been in this situation. I don't know what to do.

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ANSWER for "Friend totaled my car while I was the passenger and fled the scene... ":

Anonymous (USA):

It is likely once the police learn your "friend" left the scene of the accident he will be arrested. In most states leaving the scene of an accident, especially when you were directly responsible for the accident and resulting injuries, is a felony.

If your friend had remained at he scene the worst that may have happened is he would have been issued a citation for driving without a license. ..that's a minor misdemeanor. Of course, if he was intoxicated, that would be a more serious charge.

You're probably right not to acknowledge him at this time. Doing so may appease him, but will do little, if anything for any civil claim you may have against him. If your friend had car insurance that insurance will likely cover the damages to your car, your medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. If he's not insured you will have to sue him personally.

You might consider contacting the District Attorneys Office once he's been arrested and ask to speak with the prosecutor assigned to his case.

If your friend doesn't have insurance and the judge is going to probate his sentence you can ask the DA assigned to the case to have the judge make reimbursing you for your damages as a condition of his probation. That way, if your friend doesn't pay you he will have violated his probation and will be subject to arrest and imprisonment.

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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by: Anonymous

Thank you. I really appreciate your advice. I do have a lawyer at the moment but they haven't suggested any of that.

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