Munster, IN asked in Car Accidents for Illinois

Q: boyfriend took car without permission and did a hit and run on someone else’s car. Everything is in my name. What to do?

He doesn’t want me to tell on him but I feel like I’m going to be responsible for his mess. He hit a car and left the scene. While I was sleeping. The police towed it and I never heard anything. Now I’m out of a car. What should I do? I don’t want to get him in trouble and gets mad if I bring up him taking responsibility for it. But if feel like they’ll put everything on me.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Please consider the following:

1.) I have never counseled a client to lie and I am not telling you to lie. That said, you need to understand that if you tell the police that your boyfriend took your car, without your permission, you are telling your insurance company that they are not responsible for the claim. Why? Your policy only covers "permissive" drivers with a valid license. So, no permission = no coverage and no license = no coverage. You want to avoid either scenario.

2.) If the police have already towed the car from your home, that means that they have identified your car as having caused a hit-and-run accident. Unless eyewitnesses from the scene of the accident saw who was driving the car and are willing to swear in court that you were not the driver, as the registered owner of the car, you are liable for the injuries and property damage.

3.) On the facts that you provided, it is only a matter of time before the police arrest you for leaving the scene of an accident. If the accident involved serious bodily injury, it can and probably will be charged as a felony. You exercised poor judgment in allowing your boyfriend to use the car/leaving your keys in a place where you could reasonably anticipate that your boyfriend would find them. Your insurance company may or may not accept the claim but the only way that you can avoid criminal prosecution for a hit-and-run accident is to proactively consult with a local criminal defense attorney who specializes in traffic matters in the jurisdiction where your boyfriend had the accident. Your failure to take this action all but guarantees that a warrant will issue for your arrest. Once you are under arrest, the least of your worries will be whether or not your actions "upset" your boyfriend.

4.) If you had insurance and are sued by whomever your boyfriend hit, you need to provide that paperwork to your insurance company, immediately. So long as the insurance policy was in effect, your insurance has a duty to defend. You need to remember that the insurance companies duty to defend is separate and distinct from the insurance company's duty to pay.

Unfortunately, there is no pleasant outcome to this story but I'm sure that you would rather work out the details of who was driving now than you would from jail. Again, I urge you to consult a local criminal defense attorney who specializes in traffic matters in the jurisdiction where your boyfriend had the hit-and-run accident. Do it now!

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