It is never a good decision to leave the scene of an accident, regardless of whether it was a single-car crash or how minor it may appear. There are several factors to consider, including possible trouble with the law and the loss of compensation from liable parties.
Never leave the scene of a crash, and always discuss your potential rights with an Indiana car accident attorney.
Leaving the scene of an accident in Indiana, or anywhere for that matter, is not advisable, even if it does not lead to injuries.
For instance, if you leave the accident scene and cause no injuries but the wreck led to $1,000 or more in property damage, you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor in Indiana. Whether you hit a guard rail or you damage an unoccupied car and can’t locate the driver, you have to report the accident. If you fail to make the report, you may be charged with a misdemeanor offense. Any time you leave the scene of an accident, you might be breaking the law.
Indiana had almost 25,000 hit-and-run accidents in 2020, so it’s a serious situation in the Hoosier state. It can be hard to measure the amount of the damage without contacting the police. Also, you may need medical care later, even if you experience a minor fender bender or only receive a few minor scrapes. Whiplash can appear after a few days, so it’s best to play it safe and see a doctor the same day. This is especially important if you need to share the information with an accident attorney or your insurance company.
Many drivers flee if they’ve been drinking or their BAC is above the legal limit of .08%. They don’t want to be arrested for DUI, so they choose to escape to avoid problems with the police. However, it’s still better to stop, as the problems can only get worse if you avoid your legal obligations to your insurer or to the public at large.
Let’s look at some possible scenarios.
In most cases, your quick getaway will usually be foiled, as identifying evidence may unfold, such as the following:
If you’re identified, you’re going to face harsher consequences than if you file a police report and get medical care after the mishap. Moreover, it’s important to consider the following issues that you may face.
Your insurance company expects you to report accidents promptly. Failing to do so can violate the terms of your policy. This can result in denied claims, increased premiums, or even cancellation of your coverage.
You might feel fine after a crash; however, injuries can manifest hours later. Emergency responders are trained to assess situations, examine the parties involved for any harm or injuries, and contact medical back-up if needed.
If you leave the accident scene and the police catch up with you, again, they’ll charge you with a Class B misdemeanor charge. This charge alone is punishable by up to 180 days jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.
However, this charge may escalate to a Class A misdemeanor if you injure another party. If the bodily injury was moderate or serious, or you’ve had a prior conviction within the past five years, the charge can quickly jump to a Level 6 felony.
A Level 4 felony involves an accident that results in a catastrophic injury or death, while a Level 3 felony may be charged if you’re driving under the influence and your accident leads to a serious or catastrophic injury or possibly death.
After a hit-and-run accident, you should take the following steps to document the accident and your injuries:
Always keep copies of bills and receipts related to the accident, as well as pay stubs or income statements if the accident causes you to miss work.
So, let’s say you do run into a vehicle. What steps should you follow if you’re the person who caused the accident?
Don’t rush away, as it will only worsen everything. Focus on staying calm so you can handle the situation properly. If you are able, take the following steps:
If you’re involved in a single-car wreck, you may want to contact a lawyer for legal advice. They can give you recommendations about what you can do legally. Not only can they assess whether you’re entitled to in compensation, they can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
Do you need to consult with a lawyer about a car accident claim in Indiana? If so, contact the law firm of Blackburn Romey now. Schedule a free consultation today.