If I had a car accident because another driver forced me off the road and ran but now the driver of the car that I hit is harassing me for compensation?

UPDATED: Jun 30, 2015

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If I had a car accident because another driver forced me off the road and ran but now the driver of the car that I hit is harassing me for compensation?

I swerved toward the buffer zone on the right and hit a parked car there. No one was injured except for myself. The driver of the car that I hit is harassing me even though the police report had determined that the cause of the accident was not me but the hit and run driver. He insists on blaming me for his loss even after I explained to him that he should pursue the hit and run driver via his insurance agency. I am stressed and concerned for my safety due to his hostile language. What should I do in this situation? How could I protect myself should his hostile language turn into hostile actions?

Asked on June 30, 2015 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you feel in danger, contact the police--that is what they are for.

The driver you hit knows one thing for sure--he is not at fault: his car was parked and not moving when it was hit. So he is looking for someone to pay for loss. He is not legally obligated to accept the police report's conclusions that you were not at fault. The law allows him to ask you for compensation, but if it ever turns physically threatening, again, contact the police--that's not a line he may cross. Certain forms of repeat harassment (calls at all hours of the day or night) may also be criminal and allow you to get the police involved. But if he more-or-less reasonably--even if persistently and clearly with underlying hostility--asks or demands you to pay, he can do that.

All you can do is either ignore his communications or, as stated, if they seem to cross the line into criminal threats (e.g. threats of violence or vandalism) report him to the police. You do not have to pay him anything unless he sues you in court and wins. If he does sue you, you can defend against his allegations by presenting your own evidence that you were not at fault, since liability (having to pay) in car accidents is based on fault.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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