William W. Hurst
Law Office of William W. Hurst, LLC
50 S. Meridian St., Suite 600, Indianapolis, IN 46204
When a driver flees the scene of a car accident without leaving his personal information, a crime has been committed. The State of Indiana has passed specific legislation that outlines the actions that must be taken after a vehicular accident which makes a hit and run event a crime. Under Indiana Code 9-26-1-1, any driver involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or entrapment in a vehicle must stop at the scene immediately (IC9-26-1-1). The law mandates that each driver provide personal information, assistance to injured parties and/or facilitate transportation to a hospital. Even if there are no personal injuries if an accident has caused property damage, the drivers involved must exchange information. If there is more than $1,000 in property damage, the drivers must also report the accident to the local authorities. Drivers who cause damage to parked vehicles must also stop immediately and provide personal information. Under Indiana Law, if you strike a parked car and the owner of the parked car is not available, the driver of the vehicle causing the damage must make efforts to find the owner and after exhausting those efforts, leave his contact information and a statement about the accident with the vehicle.
The driver who commits a hit and run violation can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on whether or not there were injuries involved pursuant to Indiana Code 9-26-1-8. The penalties are much more severe when a death is involved or if the driver causing the injuries and damages is intoxicated. Also, in a hit and run, if a report is not filed, the driver’s license of the person who commits the hit and run can be revoked or suspended – even if the injuries or damages caused are minor.
So what should you do after causing a hit and run accident? Did you “run?” There are number of reasons why individuals do not remain at the scene of an accident: panic, not having a proper driver’s license, being under the influence of alcohol, or a lack of proper insurance are just a few. If you do leave the scene of an accident, you should return. Police departments are highly sophisticated when it comes to tracking perpetrators that leave the scene of the accident; especially if there is an injury to a person, as it carries very severe criminal penalties. In such an even, there are certain measures you should take to protect yourself. First of all you should not volunteer any information to police officers. You must be cooperative but only answer the questions asked and keep in mind that whatever you say can be used against you in court. Clearly, it is crucial to contact an attorney as soon as possible to obtain sound legal advice. Only an experienced attorney licensed in your area can provide you with representation during the legal process. This is true whether you were in your automobile, on a bike or a pedestrian.
On the other hand, if you are a victim of a hit and run accident or you or your family member has received a personal injury, you should contact your auto insurance carrier immediately. You may have a claim under the uninsured motorist portion of your policy which will cover your claims up to a specific limit or “dollar” amount. Some insurance policies require you to know the name of the person (identify him or her) who caused the accident for you to be covered under the uninsured motorists provision of your auto policy. You will have to read your policy to determine whether or not you do have hit and run auto insurance designed to protect you at times when another person leaves the scene, perpetually if the person is not found nor identified. For a general discussion on hit and run auto insurance, the claim, and the coverage see http://www.carinsurancequote.net/hit-and-run-auto-insurance.html.
Often your auto insurance plan will have hit-and-run auto insurance built into the plan but the details are likely unknown to you as it was not discussed when you bought your policy. What is needed to make a claim for a personal injury or property damage varies from policy to policy. When you are purchasing your automobile insurance policy, you should request a quote with a hit and run (uninsured motorist) provision added to the policy unless it is mandated by state law. In addition, you should have an explanation made of what is necessary to make a claim when damage is done by a hit and run driver. In some instances your agent may be able to compare policies and policy provisions for uninsured motorists coverage which usually includes hit-and-run coverage, and find you the most favorable.
When you find yourself in a hit-and-run situation, make sure you get the name, address, phone number of any witnesses who were around when the hit-and-run occurred call the police and promptly report everything to your automobile insurance company. In the event there is any kind of an injury involved, you should never sign anything which might release your claim without the advice of a personal injury attorney even with your own insurance company adjuster.
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident and need an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable with regard to the insurance law and injury law relating to hit-and-run accidents, contact William “Bill” Hurst who has represented hundreds of victims in hit-and-run accidents or call him at (800) 636-0808 for a free consultation. If Bill or his office takes your case, there will not be any fee paid unless you recover.
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