How do I deal with this hit and run accident?

Here is my situation: My car was sitting in a store parking lot when a woman lost control of her car and hit mine doing major damage to my car. The woman then fled the accident in her car. The city police came out and did a report. The report was as basic as can be and even though there were multiple witnesses the officer didn’t take any statements nor did he request a copy of the stores surveillance video that clearly showed the accident. On this car I only carry liability with uninsured driver coverage. My insurance stated they will pay for my car if they have “significant identifying information” when asked they said video of the car that did the damage or a witness statement describing the car. The only identifying information in the police report is the color listed as “black” but the transfer onto my car was white. The chief of police will not assist me on this or even return my calls. What options/actions should I take to take care of this situation? What would you do if this was you? Why do you think the officer did such a poor job on the report? Why do you think the chief won’t talk to me? I have been about 7 weeks trying to take care of this situation.

A hit and run with property damage is a crime in the state of Indiana (and most other states). So the officer is required by law to investigate a crime. I should have taken reports myself, but I trusted the officer to do a good job. I made a mistake. I know that now. I don’t need people to tell me what I should have done or that the officer shouldn’t have done something. I need advice on what I should/can do now.

I am out the cost of my car. I have made it drivable but it is not right. I have already talked to the insurance company and had the damage assessed. They are going to pay for a replacement car but only if I can get information to them. What might I do to get more info. I’m thinking of creating a webpage asking for any witness to the incident. I’m also thinking about pointing out that the police did substandard job on the report. I think the officer did a bad job on purpose because he either knew the person or because he found the person and was paid to protect them.

Applicable code Indiana legal code

IC 9-26-2-1

Investigation of accidents resulting in injury, death, or property damage of at least $1,000

Sec. 1. A law enforcement officer shall investigate each motor vehicle accident that results in any of the following:

(1) The injury or death of a person.

(2) Total property damage to an apparent extent of at least one thousand dollars ($1,000).

As added by P.L.2-1991, SEC.14. Amended by P.L.157-2003, SEC.4.

Thank you for your help and thoughts on the issue.

For “Who aren’t you”: The store states that they only release security video by court order or to the police.

For “Billy Bob”: So you are saying, as a retired cop, that the cops are worthless to all of us that aren’t more powerful than them? Aren’t they here to “serve and protect” or should we say that they are here to “Serve and protect other cops (and rich people)?” You may be right but I hate to think that these guys that hae so much power and can do such damange in my community are only here to help themselves and not the rest of us. I’ve been involved with public service for about 13 years now and have had to count on cops to cover my back more than once, and now you are saying that they won’t unless it is to there benifit? Damn if I protect (or save) one in the future then.

If I read the “law” correctly they are to investigate any crime committed. Since a hit and run is a crime (class b misdemeanor in Indiana) and since the law requires them to investigate any accident with damages of more than $1000 (my car was totaled and replacement is about $3,800) then yes it is their place to do that job. That is how they follow AND enforce the law. I plan to hold them to it. I was hoping someone here had an idea on how to make that happen, but the no one has any real advice, just telling me I’m SOL doesn’t help.

5 Answers

  • With the budget cuts police resources are stretched thin.

    My agency no longer investigates a private property crash unless an injury is involved.

    – Just for comparison case it cost’s our department about $500 to issue a traffic ticket

    – It costs about $2000 to arrest a DUI driver

    – It costs between $1000 – $15000 to investigate a traffic crash (the $15,000 is a dui caused fatal crash where felony charges are going to be filed against the dui driver).

    – Between 1982 and 2012 our population has doubled and the police force has decreased by 1/3

    Most traffic crash investigations do not involve interviewing witnesses (unless it’s serious or injury). The sad thing is that witnesses are notoriously unreliable and give vastly conflicting statements.

    The chief probably receives 10-20 complaint calls a day from people like you. He then tallys up the total complaints by categories and presents it to the city council or state legislature. However, with the budget problems it is unlikely that he will receive any reinforcements.

    The best trained police officers are a hot commodity and are hired by departments with better tax revenues. The other departments get to hire fresh recruits without much training or law enforcement experience.

    The sad thing is that if the police catch your hit and run driver – I’m willing to bet he/she has a suspended driver’s license and no insurance. We have found about 40% of the drivers in my area do not carry insurance as the law requires. If they are caught, and if they are convicted their license will be suspended. However, our county court is funded to try only less than 1% of all criminal cases that are submitted by the police. They reserve much of the court time for domestic crimes and crimes of violence. Drug and traffic crimes are rarely prosecuted.

    Sorry, I wish I had better news for you. My vehicle is paid of and has 120,000 miles and I still carry full coverage for this very reason.

    You might be able to file a civil subpoena for the video camera. In my experience about 90% of the video recordings are of such poor quality they are actually useless. It takes expensive software to pull any kind of detail from the video (and the time of a high paid technician). Many of these stores only retain the video for 7 days. In some cases perhaps 30 days. Storing the video also takes time and money.

    7 weeks is way too late to do anything. If you really wanted to make a difference you could ask the city council to increase the funding for the police. You probably pay about $20 a year for police service. Just adding a $1 or $2 would make a huge difference.

    You could put up a web page to seek tips. Again the vast majority of tips are useless or prank tips. It would take you a great deal of time to run them down and verify them.

    The answer above from Billy Bob is sarcastic. He is a troll who pretends to be a police officer and answers many of the questions in a negative and inaccurate manner. Notice his answers are only chosen 17% of the time (probably by himself).


    I think I need to have an injury or an accident lawyer. Well I know several lawyers. You can contact me if you want..

  • The first thing you should do at this point is take a copy of the police report to the store, and ask if they can provide you with a copy of the footage for that day. Explain to them that the police are not being helpful in this situation.

  • “Billy Bob” is completely lying about his credentials. He actually copied them from someone else on this site.

    As far as your car goes, you’re SOL. Cops aren’t there to make sure you get a nice settlement from your insurance company — they’re there to enforce the law.

  • The cops won’t do anything to help you unless you’re wealthy or the mayor.

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