If you or someone you love was injured in a hit-and-run accident, it is vital that you contact the authorities immediately and document the details of the accident. Retain all the receipts from your injuries and speak with an experienced personal injury attorney right away. There are strict laws in Indiana regarding hit-and-run accidents, and your attorney will be able to help you navigate the legal red tape, as well as seek damages from the individual responsible.
After a car accident, all involved drivers are required by Indiana law to initially stop and find out if anyone was injured. Additionally, drivers are required to share personal information–both contact and insurance details–with each other. If no one was injured, and property damage (including vehicles) amounts to less than $1,000, then Indiana does not require the drivers to call the police.
However, it can be difficult to surmise the extent of any property damage. More importantly, some drivers fail to stop and check to make sure the other driver and passengers are okay. Failure to abide by Indiana traffic laws governing car accidents can result in a misdemeanor or felony charges.
What Constitutes a Hit-and-Run in the State of Indiana?
The failure of any involved parties to stop after a traffic accident constitutes a hit-and-run. This is illegal, and the consequences of a hit-and-run can include fines, jail time, or a combination of both. There are a number of reasons why someone might fail to stop after an accident.
- Those responsible were in a hurry and didn’t think that the damage was enough to matter. While this is perhaps less severe than a drunk driving hit-and-run, it is still a major breach of law. All involved drivers should always stop, exchange information, and check to see if anyone was hurt.
- The damaged car was a parked car, and the owner was nowhere to be found. Some people hit a parked car and then leave the scene. Often, the premises will have video footage of the accident that the police can use to bring the driver to justice. Even if the other vehicle owner is nowhere to be found, the responsible party should at the very least leave their contact information and a statement on the vehicle (such as under a windshield wiper). If possible, it is best for the responsible party to look for the vehicle owner nearby or inside the establishment that owns the parking lot.
- Those responsible are uninsured. This is a more serious offense. By fleeing the scene, the uninsured driver thinks that they can get away with not having to pay for damages. But if any nearby cameras (or witnesses) caught details of the vehicle and driver, that driver will be wanted by the police and charged with multiple crimes. Ultimately, Indiana requires that all registered vehicles carry at least $25,000 in personal liability per individual (up to $50,000) and $10,000 in property damage liability insurance.
- Those responsible are driving under the influence. Drunk drivers sometimes flee the scene of an accident, either because they are under the influence and cannot think properly, or because they know that they can be charged with a DUI. Drunk driver accidents account for thousands of vehicle accident deaths each year. This is the most serious hit-and-run scenario, short of first degree murder.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If you or someone you love is injured in a hit-and-run accident, it is vital that you take down as much detailed information as possible for evidence. Pictures are best, as well as other eyewitness testimony.
Make sure to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, so they can advise you on the next steps for filing a personal injury claim against those responsible. You may be eligible for compensation for damages in a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit.
For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your hit-and-run case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.