When a driver flees the scene of an accident, it adds an extra layer of complexity and frustration for the victims. In this scenario, understanding the legal landscape surrounding hit-and-run incidents is essential for those seeking justice and fair compensation.
In this article, we’ll delve into Indiana’s laws and regulations regarding hit-and-run accidents, to empower victims to take action against negligent drivers who leave injured people on their own.
Hit-and-Run Incidents: A Harsh Reality on Indiana Roads
A hit-and-run incident occurs when a driver involved in an accident leaves the scene without exchanging information or offering aid to the injured parties. These incidents can take various forms, from minor fender benders to more severe accidents.
The reasons behind a driver’s decision to flee the scene can be as diverse as the incidents themselves. It might be panic, fear of legal consequences, lack of insurance, or other factors that drive them to escape responsibility.
Unfortunately, these incidents are all too common in Indiana. According to the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, there are over 200,000 motor vehicle accidents each year, and in more cases than you could imagine, the drivers flee from the scene to avoid being accountable for their actions.
As a result, we see victims dealing with the terrible injuries caused due to the negligence of others, often forced to live their lives with life-lasting consequences.
However, if you’re a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you can claim compensation for your damages, including future costs and ongoing treatment. However, the amount of compensation you’ll be able to ask will depend on factors that your lawyer will evaluate to ensure a successful claim.
Indiana’s Legal Framework: Hit-and-Run Regulations
Indiana’s legal system takes hit-and-run incidents seriously, recognizing the potential harm they cause to individuals and the community.
In fact, according to Indiana Code § 9-26-1, drivers involved in accidents resulting in injury, death, or property damage are required by law to immediately stop at the scene and provide necessary information to other parties involved.
Failure to do so is considered a criminal offense and can lead to severe penalties, including fines and even imprisonment.
Your Rights and Options in Hit-and-Run Incidents
For victims of hit-and-run incidents, knowing your rights and understanding the steps to take immediately after the event can be crucial in order to file a successful claim.
For example, if you’ve been involved in a truck accident, understanding Indiana trucking laws is essential to claim compensation. The same applies to any other type of motor vehicle accident.
If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident, first, ensure everyone’s safety by calling for medical assistance. The second step is documenting the scene, injuries, and damages. Besides, be sure to collect witnesses’ testimonials and information and contact the police.
These steps are necessary to prove liability later. At this stage, gathering evidence can significantly strengthen a victim’s case.
Damages You Can Recover as a Victim
The Indiana Code outlines the specific damages you may be eligible to claim in a personal injury case.
Overall, as a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you have the right to seek compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses: This includes the cost of medical treatment, hospital stays, medications, rehabilitation, and any future medical expenses related to the accident.
- Property damage: It’s a reimbursement for the repair or replacement of your damaged vehicle or other property damaged in the accident.
- Pain and suffering: Includes compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and the impact the accident had on your quality of life.
- Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you may be able to recover the wages you would have earned during your recovery period.
To effectively claim these damages, the help of a local personal injury attorney is key to calculating the damages and building a strong case on your behalf.
The Road to Justice: Navigating Legal Recourse and Claims
Recovering from a hit-and-run accident involves navigating legal processes, insurance negotiations, and other potential legal actions.
Here are the steps you should take to increase your chances of obtaining justice and compensation:
1. Contact the Police
Report the incident to the police immediately. Provide them with as much information as possible, including any details about the fleeing vehicle and its driver.
A timely report can aid in the investigation and increase the chances of identifying the responsible party.
2. Contact your insurance company
Inform your insurance provider about the incident and provide all relevant information that can help strengthen your case.
3. Gather evidence
Collect any evidence available at the scene, including witness statements, photos of the scene, and surveillance footage. Remember that this evidence can be crucial in identifying the responsible drivers.
4. Consult with a personal injury attorney
Seeking legal representation is crucial in hit-and-run cases. An experienced attorney, such as a car accident lawyer who focuses on motor vehicle injury litigation, can help you fully understand the legal system, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in court.
5. Explore uninsured motorist coverage
If the hit-and-run driver can’t be identified or doesn’t have insurance, uninsured motorist coverage may provide compensation for your damages. In this case, it’s necessary to consult with your personal injury attorney to understand your options.
6. File a lawsuit
In cases where the hit-and-run driver is identified, pursuing a lawsuit may be necessary to secure fair compensation for your damages.
After a hit-and-run accident, victims deserve the opportunity to rebuild their lives and move forward, especially if someone leaves the scene of an accident to try to avoid punishment. By understanding your rights, seeking legal guidance, and using the legal tools available, you can successfully claim compensation that covers the extent of your injuries and damages.
Whether you’ve been the victim of a truck accident, a car accident, a motorcycle accident, or any other type of motor vehicle accident, a hit and run accident lawyer can exponentially impact the outcome of your case. Contact us today to request a free initial consultation and let us evaluate your options.