What can happen to me for being “at fault” in hitting a pedestrian?

UPDATED: Dec 1, 2011

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What can happen to me for being “at fault” in hitting a pedestrian?

I was going maybe 2 mph. She fell to the ground and hit her knees. I immediately stopped and exchanged phone numbers. She was reluctant to get my info and kept telling me “I’m fine”. I am worried that she will change her mind and sue me. I have no money, I am a student and an in-home care-giver. What is going to happen to my insurance rates? Can she file a police report and can I be arrested? I called my insurance as soon as I got home. Gave them her name and number.

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Accident Law, Oregon


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your liability question regarding a motor vehicle accident between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian.  Unfortunately I cannot give you simple answer, because the laws relating to this type of situation can vary depending on the state that you live in.  First, she can file a police report at any time.  A report does not need to be filed at the accident scene, but of course your insurance company, when weighing all of the evidence, look to see when she filed the report.  The timing of when she filed a report could factor into her credibility, and therefore she may not be given a high award due to the fact that your insurance company may deem her not credible.


Along with the timing of the report, your insurance company will look to see when she sought medical treatment for any of her claimed injuries.  She will not receive a large lump sum of money simply because an accident took place.  She needs to actually be injured, and she will need proof of those injuries.  If she saw a doctor once, maybe weeks after the accident, and then never treated with a doctor again, well then of course it seems like she is not truly injured and is looking for a pay day.  However, sometimes people go to the emergency room a day or two after an accident, because when initially injured they did not feel pain, or as much pain, due to adrenaline. 


In most states you will not be charged criminally, unless you intentionally ran your car into her.  The situation where it may be criminal is if a boyfriend and girlfriend were fighting and one of them got in the car to hit the other one with the car.  Then the act would be viewed as criminal.  Otherwise, this is a civil action, and your insurance company should handle this matter.  If you are found to be “at fault,” and she has compensable injuries, then your rates may go up the next time your premiums are reviewed.    

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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