Car accidents are never trivial. Indiana state law requires every motor vehicle operator involved in a car accident to stop at the scene and locate the affected driver(s) before leaving. Failure to do so results in additional penalties and potential criminal punishment.
In Indiana, all drivers involved in a car accident, whether with a parked car or with another driver, are required to stop and exchange information. In more serious accidents, in which a person is injured or there is more than $1,000 in property damage, the involved drivers must also call the police. Failure to do any of these in the relevant circumstances may result in your accident being considered a hit-and-run accident.
If you hit a parked car and no one’s around to see it, it still makes a sound. In this case, Indiana law requires drivers to make reasonable attempts to locate the driver, and when that’s not possible, to call 911 and report the accident.
Consequences of a Hit-and-Run Accident
Not all violations of this law are the same; the best-case scenario for drivers who leave the scene of an Indiana car accident is that they’re charged with a Class B misdemeanor, a sentence that may entail jail time of up to 180 days. But the punishment can be more severe depending on the situation.
- If the accident results in bodily injury to another person, leaving the scene is a Class A misdemeanor.
- If the accident causes serious bodily injury, leaving the scene is considered a Level 6 felony.
- If the accident results in the death of another person, leaving the scene is considered a Level 5 felony.
- If the accident involves a driver who is intoxicated and also results in either serious bodily injury or death, leaving the scene results in a Level 3 felony (prison sentence of 3–16 years and possible fine of up to $10,000)
Beyond criminal penalties, drivers who leave the scene of a car accident may have their license suspended or revoked and face either a dramatic increase in insurance costs or the termination of their coverage.
Filing Injury Claims Against Hit-and-Run Drivers
Drivers who leave scenes of car accidents that involve serious property damage or bodily injury are also liable for any insurance claims or lawsuits that come their way. They may choose to run from the car accident because they know they were negligent in one way or another.
When filing a personal injury or property damage claim against a hit-and-run driver, you can not only file for property damage or medical bill compensation, but also possibly leverage punitive damages against the driver. Though this outcome is extremely rare, it can become relevant in particularly egregious cases of negligent driving behavior.
Professional Guidance from an Indiana Attorney
If you’re the victim in a hit-and-run accident, the law is on your side, and so is Hensley Legal Group. Though Indiana’s motor vehicle laws may be straightforward, the myriad of insurance policies, circumstantial laws, and other limitations makes almost any car accident claim complicated. To help increase your chances of winning your claim or lawsuit, you can contact one of our car accident lawyers today. We won’t be paid unless you are, and your conversation with us is totally free.