Hit and runs are often the most frustrating and challenging kind of accidents to deal with as a victim. When someone hits you and flees the scene, not only do you have your injuries to worry about, but you may also wonder how you are going to file a claim for compensation if there is no way to prove who hit you.
In Indiana, hit and run accidents are all too common. Back in July, there were three hit and runs reported over one weekend in the Indianapolis area—all resulting in the death of the victims. On July 30th, a 59-year-old man in Bloomington was injured by another driver who cut him off and then fled the scene. And in August, a man and a woman both died over the same weekend after two separate hit and run accidents, one occurring at Calhoun Street and S. Emerson, and the other at 32nd Street and N. Keystone Ave.
Though not all hit and run accidents end in death, they can still leave the victims severely injured. And even if the injuries are minor, the victim still deserves to recover compensation to help them pay for any medical expenses or other losses.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove fault and get a fair settlement in these types of cases if the negligent driver cannot be tracked down. In this situation, you will likely have to rely on your car insurance coverage for compensation.
However, getting a full and fair settlement after an Indiana hit and run is not impossible. If you work with an attorney, they can help you provide evidence to track down the negligent driver, and even if the driver cannot be found, an attorney will still help you file your claim and ensure the insurance company pays you the full amount you deserve.
If you have been injured in a hit and run in Lafayette, Indiana, or any other locations in the Indianapolis area, the car accident attorneys at Poynter & Bucheri can assist you.
What Is Considered a Hit and Run in Indiana?
An accident is designated as a hit and run when a driver hits another vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist and then flees the scene immediately after in an attempt to avoid getting caught.
This can happen for many reasons, including:
- The guilty driver being uninsured
- Driving without a license
- Driving a stolen or borrowed vehicle
- The guilty driver was intoxicated
- The driver was in possession of drugs
- A poor criminal record
- Fear of going to jail
- Fear of getting a ticket and not being able to pay
- Fear of being sued or receiving some other fine
Hit and Run Laws in Indiana
Though hit and runs are common in Indiana, there are strict laws in place to hold the guilty driver accountable and prevent these types of accidents from happening.
Driver Responsibility After an Indiana Hit and Run
Indiana Code 9-26-1-1-1 states that drivers involved in an accident must:
- Stop their car immediately at the scene of the accident.
- Remain at the scene until they have provided their contact information, vehicle info, and shown their driver’s license.
- If the accident results in injury or death, the driver must assist the injured person and notify the authorities or make sure someone else calls 911.
- If the driver hits an unattended vehicle or if they damage property, they must take reasonable steps to locate the vehicle or property owner to notify them. If the owner cannot be found, the driver must call the authorities and provide their contact info.
Is a Hit and Run a Felony in Indiana?
A hit and run in Indiana does not always result in a felony charge. If someone flees the scene of an accident, it can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on what exactly happened.
According to the hit and run laws in Indiana, charges for a hit and run are as follows:
- Leaving the scene of an accident is a Class B misdemeanor—up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
- If the driver leaves an accident that resulted in an injury, it’s a Class A misdemeanor—up to one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
- If the driver left the scene of the accident, which resulted in severe injuries, and was convicted of another offense in the last five years, it’s a Level 6 felony—6 months to 2 ½ years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
- If the driver left the scene of an accident that resulted in death, it’s a Level 5 felony—1 to 6 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
- If the driver that left the scene was intoxicated and the accident resulted in serious injury or death, it’s a Level 3 felony—3 to 16 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
How Do You Recover Compensation After an Indiana Hit and Run?
You should always file a claim after a hit and run accident to recover compensation for your losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain & suffering. If the authorities can find and apprehend the guilty driver, you can file a claim against their insurance company or file a lawsuit against the driver.
If the guilty driver is not found, you can still file a claim, but it will be done through your car insurance. Indiana law allows drivers who are injured in an accident by another driver that cannot be found to file a claim through their own underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
Minimum coverage limits for this type of insurance in Indiana are as follows:
- $25,000 to $50,000 for bodily injury for uninsured motorists
- $50,000 for bodily injury for underinsured motorists
- $25,000 for property damage
In either situation, whether the guilty driver can be found or not, you should contact a local Indiana hit and run lawyer to help you with your case. They know the ins and outs of hit and run laws in Indiana and what to do to make sure you get the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Consult With an Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney
At Poynter and Bucheri Accident Recovery, we know how frustrating a hit and run accident can be and are dedicated to helping our clients seek justice and get the compensation they need and deserve. We will help you file your claim, provide evidence, and ensure the insurance company awards you the full amount you are owed.
Don’t hesitate — an experienced Indiana hit and run lawyer can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.