Indiana Hit and Run Accident Attorney
In Indiana, it is unlawful to leave the scene of an accident without providing personal contact and insurance information to the other party or parties involved in the accident. The laws apply to all hit and run accidents, from the slightest of fender benders to the most serious of crashes. If you were injured by a driver who fled the scene of a crash of any sort, it is important to speak with an Indiana hit and run accident attorney who can walk you through the process for filing Indiana hit and run claims, protect your rights, and secure appropriate compensation for your losses. An Indianapolis hit and run accident lawyer from Indianapolis Injury Lawyers has the skill and experience you need on your side in these difficult cases.
An Indiana Hit and Run Accident Attorney Explains the Law
Hit and run accidents occur when one driver fails to stay at the scene of an accident to provide certain information to the other driver. Indiana Code § 9-26-1-1.1 specifies a driver’s duties after being involved in an accident. The duties generally include, but are not limited to, staying at the scene to:
- Give the name and address of the operator of the vehicle involved
- Give the registration number of the vehicle
- Show the driver’s license belonging to the vehicle operator
- Provide reasonable assistance to anyone injured or entrapped as a result of the incident when directed to do so by law enforcement or medical personnel
- Call 911 in cases involving injury or death
When the incident involves an unattended vehicle, the requirements are to:
- Try to locate the owner of the unattended vehicle
- Contact law enforcement if the owner cannot be located
The responsibilities are, of course, heightened for more serious crashes such as any involving death.
Leaving the scene of an accident can be classified as a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or as a Level 3, 5, or 6 felony, depending on the injuries involved and the status of the operator of the vehicle. The punishment for such an offense runs the gamut—fines, probation, imprisonment, license suspension—depending on the circumstances and behavior of the driver.
Recovery for injury and other losses incurred in a hit and run accident require a specific skillset. Led by former hit and run prosecutors and Fatal Alcohol CRASH Team leaders Bradley Keffer and Tom Hirschauer, your Indiana hit and run attorney from Indianapolis Injury Lawyers give you the benefit of specific training in crash reconstruction and successful prosecution of criminal cases involving auto accidents, which require a much higher burden of proof.
Types of Hit and Run Accidents
Sadly, hit and run crashes regularly occur. According to ARIES (the Automated Reporting Information Exchange System) and the Indiana State Police Yearly Crash Statistics, there are hundreds of thousands of vehicle crashes every year in Indiana, many of which involve hit and run incidents. Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that hit and runs are steadily increasing as are fatalities resulting from those accidents.
Indiana hit and run accidents can occur just about anywhere and at any time, but they regularly occur in a few standard situations:
- A motorist striking a parked car
- A motorist colliding with another vehicle
- A motorist colliding with a cyclist or pedestrian
Hit and run accidents occur so frequently that there are many studies that attempt to identify the factors associated with these crashes and the relationships between the kinds of drivers, the surrounding conditions, and the immediate circumstances. For example, one study found increased risks of hit and run accidents in conditions that include:
- Early mornings
- Poor lighting conditions
The incidents that involve cyclists and pedestrians tend to have the most devastating personal injury-related consequences, while collisions with other vehicles, especially when parked, can often result in serious property damage. Regardless of the exact circumstances of the case, most hit and run crashes can be linked to an at-fault driver’s desire to avoid criminal penalties for:
- Driving without insurance
- Driving a stolen vehicle
- Driving while intoxicated
- Driving while distracted
A steady increase in distracted driving accidents creates growing concern for traffic safety in general. This has prompted studies into the causes and people’s attitudes about this safety concern, including the 2019 Traffic Safety Culture Index conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Not surprisingly, nearly everyone in the study—95 percent—agreed that distracted driving was dangerous, and up to 80 percent of drivers surveyed rated talking on a cell phone held in the hand as very or extremely dangerous. However, despite acknowledging these dangers, more than half (52 percent) admitted to having talked on a hand-held device in the preceding 30 days.
Our Indiana distracted driving lawyers have decades of experience helping people who have been injured by others who text and call while driving or otherwise drive in a distracted state. If you were injured in a hit and run, whether it involved distracted driving, other wrongdoing or negligence noted above, or unknown circumstances, an Indiana hit and run accident attorney at Indianapolis Injury Lawyers can help.
Recovering Compensation after a Hit and Run Accident in Indiana
Unfortunately, when a driver flees the scene of an accident, it is more difficult for injured parties to recover compensation for collision-related losses. Many hit and run drivers are not identified, despite the best efforts of law enforcement to find the drivers. In these cases, motorists who have uninsured motorist coverage should consider filing Indiana hit and run claims with their own insurer.
All auto insurers in Indiana must offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage unless the insured waives such coverage in writing. Your Indiana hit and run attorney can help you determine whether you have uninsured motorist coverage. If you do, you may very well be able to file a claim under your own policy for uninsured coverage for personal injuries and/or property damage suffered in a hit and run accident.
Even claimants who do not have insurance coverage for incidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists could still be eligible for compensation through another provision in their insurance policy. Many motorists can, for instance, recover compensation through their collision or injury policies.
Determining whether recovery is possible under a driver’s own policy can be difficult. If you were recently injured in a hit and run accident, you should speak with an Indiana hit and run accident attorney about your legal options as soon as possible so critical supporting evidence can be preserved and gathered as quickly as possible.
In the event that the driver who fled the scene of the crash is found, the injured party can possibly still obtain compensation for repairs and medical bills from the at-fault driver, even if expenses were already paid. The process often begins with filing a claim against the hit and run driver’s insurer for reimbursement, but compensation can also be recovered through the filing of a personal injury lawsuit. In the case of a lawsuit, an injured driver could even recover punitive damages if the at-fault driver is convicted of a felony, which is possible in Indiana when a driver causes a serious injury in a collision and flees the scene.
Involved in a Hit and Run? Contact an Indiana Hit and Run Accident Attorney
If you have experienced injury or damages as the result of a hit and run, you need capable representation from experienced litigators skilled in accident reconstruction and as insurance claim lawyers. In Indiana, that means contacting an experienced Indiana hit and run accident attorney at Indianapolis Injury Lawyers for help recovering compensation for your losses. Call us at (317) 455-4043 or complete our online contact form to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation today.