Why do I have to comeback to court if the other party did not show?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Why do I have to comeback to court if the other party did not show?

I hit a parked car and left. minutes later I was pulled over by a cop and the owner of car. I was given 2 tickets – 1 for leaving the scene and 1 for hitting a parked vehicle. The owner of the vehicle and I met before court and I paid him for the damage I caused to his vehicle, so he decided not to go to court. I went to court and he wasn’t there like he told me but the officer was. They called my name did not ask any questions or let me say anything; they simply told me that I need to get a lawyer for this case and comeback to court the following month. Why is this case still going? Who am I fighting this case against?

Asked on February 6, 2017 under General Practice, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You are "fighting this case" against the "state": that is, the government. The government is looking to punish you to enforce the driving/traffic laws, including the legal obligaion to drive safely (by definition, you are driving unsafely if you hit a stationary vehicle) and to not leave the scene of an accident. The other driver is only a witness to the case: the case is brought by and under the control of the government (e.g. the prosecutor). The other party therefore was there: the government is there. The case will not be dismissed because a witness to it did not show.

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