Being injured in a car accident can have devastating consequences for all victims and their families. But if a driver leaves the scene of the accident without talking to the police or providing identification, the results are even more complicated.
A hit and run accident is when a driver involved in an accident with another vehicle, a pedestrian, a bicycle or a fixed object leaves the scene before rendering aid to anyone who is hurt and before identifying themselves. Note that determining who is at fault does not matter - a hit and run violation occurs no matter which driver caused the accident.
Hit and run accidents are all too common. In 2012 there were more than 23,000 of these accidents in Indiana causing 33 facilities - a 6% increase in fatalities over 5 years (Indiana Crash Facts from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute). Just recently a man died in a hit and run crash in Columbus that also left his passenger seriously injured. Although the other driver fled the scene, he has been apprehended and charged not only with failure to stop after an accident involving death/injury but also with operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Indiana Law on Driver Responsibility in an Accident
Indiana law requires that drivers involved in a car accident stop at the scene and exchange registration and insurance information. Drivers must remain near the scene of the crash until first responders and police arrive and complete their investigation, even if there are no apparent injuries. Drivers must provide "reasonable assistance" to those injured. At the least, you must summon emergency medical help.
Leaving the scene of an accident can result in hefty penalties. Even if there are no injuries, you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor that carries up to $5,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail. A Class D felony can be charged if the other driver sustained serious injuries with a fine as high as $10,000 and a prison term between 6 months and 3 years.
If You Are Involved in an Accident Where the Other Driver Leaves the Scene
If you are a victim of a hit and run accident, first get medical help for you and anyone else who is injured. Then try to collect as much information as possible for the police report and your insurance company:
- Write down any details that you can recall about the other car: Manufacturer, model, color, license plate state and number, the condition including damage.
- Interview witnesses to get their description of the vehicle. Jot down their names and contact information too.
- Include the location and time of the accident and make a note of the road and weather conditions.
- Take photos of the accident scene, road, signs and the damage to your car.
Caution: Never go after a car that you believe was involved in your accident because of the dangers of retaliation.
Let Us Help if You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident
If you or a family member has been injured in a hit and run accident or any other type of vehicle accident or personal injury, please contact the Sevenish Law Firm immediately. Our experienced attorneys will fight for the compensation that you deserve. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Randall Sevenish, personal injury attorney in Indianapolis, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 800-278-9200 or contact us via the website.