Hillsboro, OR asked in Car Accidents for Oregon

Q: I scratched another car Left to get something to write with came back and they where gone. What do I do?

I was pulling in to a walmart parking lot and scratched another car. I then parked my car went over to the other car took a picture of the damage, then went back over to my car to get something to write with realized I didn't have anything so I went into the store to get paper and something to write with but when I came back out they where gone. I dont know what to do, will I get charged with a hit and run?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Virgil Royer
Virgil Royer
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Salem, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Parking lots, especially busy ones like Wal-Mart, frequently have accidents--especially scratches. When you caused damage to property, you are required to let the owner know. ORS 811.700 is a Class A Misdemeanor. If you hit a parked car, you are required to wait for (or, locate) the owner to provide your information and explain what happened--or--leave a written notice with your name and address along with a statement explaining what happened. Since you did neither (Notify the owner in person or via writing) you could be charged with a hit and run. Perhaps, you can notify Wal-Mart about what happened, and maybe the owner will contact them. It sounds like you had the right intention, but your decision to leave the scene of the accident prevented you from performing your duties as driver causing damage to another vehicle. You should have asked if anyone else had a pen and paper, or perhaps had someone else go get you those items while you waited, or simply asked someone to wait there for you and inform the owner of the damaged vehicle you'd be right back. Unless the police know it was you who damaged the vehicle, it is not likely you will be charged with a hit and run. In the future, now you know to stay and wait for the vehicle's owner/driver if you don't have the ability to leave a note. I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe from the fires and COVID-19.

Jennie Lynn Clark
Jennie Lynn Clark
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: You are required to leave a note on the car with your insurance information. In order to prove a crime, the state must prove intent. If there was a video of what you describe, it could appear that you went into the store with the intention of not giving your insurance information. Your defense would be that you walked into the store because your intention was to write a note and place it on the windshield. If you have a receipt for the paper you intended to purchase, then you would have some corroborating evidence for your intent and bolster your credibility. If you have a a long criminal record, evidence of any crimes of dishonesty or felonies in the last 15 years your record would come into evidence reducing your chances of prevailing.

As a practical matter, if nobody has contacted you by now accusing you of a crime, the odds are low that you would be accused of a crime.

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