I accidentally scratched the paint of another car while making a turn in a parking lot. I took a picture of the scratch and their license plate. I was going to report the incident to the local police and my insurance company. However, a friend informed me that I could be charged with fleeing the scene and sued. He recommended I keep the incident to myself. The scratch, although slight, is noticeable on both of our cars. I would have liked to pay for the damages. I don’t know if there were cameras around. I do not like being sneaky. I have been driving for five years and have never had an accident or violation before. What should I do?
The right thing to have done would have been to leave your contact information for the other driver to find, customarily in the form of a quick note tucked under their windshield wiper.
It’s too late for that now, unless you randomly happen to see that same car parked in the same lot again over the next few days. (If you do, your note should just say something like, “Call me about that scratch on your bumper.” Don’t apologize or make offers to pay in writing.)
Do not involve the police or your insurance company over minor accidental scratches. That is a waste of everyone’s time, and it will only cause you more problems.
It’s good that you don’t like being sneaky, but this isn’t you being sneaky. This is you fucking up. It happens. You’re gonna feel like a shithead for a few days, but that’s what you get, and now you’ve learned your lesson.