When you’re enjoying a drive through the vast open country or on the urban roads of Indiana, the last thing you anticipate is a car crash. If a vehicle comes out of nowhere and strikes you — as you’re driving, cycling, or on foot — you expect the driver to stay and take responsibility.
What if a driver hits you and then flees the scene? How can you seek compensation and justice? What do you do after a hit-and-run accident?
The good news is, you don’t have to endure the aftermath of a hit and run on your own. The right hit-and-run accident lawyer can help you navigate the stressful path of dealing with insurance companies and proving the liability of the at-fault driver.
Steps to take after your accident
When the at fault driver leaves the scene of your accident, they leave you to deal with the aftermath — which could include serious injury — on your own. You may feel shocked and powerless in your pursuit of justice.
However, there are steps you can take to help you receive compensation for the injuries or damages you’ve received.
After a hit-and-run accident, the steps you should take include:
If you’ve suffered major injury or incurred permanent damage to your vehicle, you’ll need the help of first responders. Even if your injuries appear minor, and there are no eyewitnesses to your accident, you should call law enforcement.
A police report can serve as the foundation of documentation for any future insurance claims or lawsuits you file.
Compile Photo and Video Evidence:
If you’re able to do so, take photos or video of the accident scene, any property damage, and your initial injuries. This evidence can be used as the basis for any future compensatory claims you may file.
Seek Medical Attention:
Symptoms of internal injuries may take days to present, and even if you only appear to have suffered minor injuries, it’s vital that you are assessed by a medical professional.
A doctor can diagnose and treat your injuries, and give you a prognosis of what your future course of treatment may involve. If you eventually file a personal injury claim, you’ll need documentation of any medical costs you’ve incurred.
File an Insurance Claim:
Although you will not have the insurance information from the at fault driver, you should still contact your own insurance company. Most insurance companies require that you carry uninsured driver coverage and collision coverage.
Your own insurance carrier can provide some relief from medical bills and car repairs until the other driver is located.
Contact a Hit and Run Accident Lawyer:
After you’ve filed your insurance claim, you may want to research the hit-and-run accident lawyers in your area. If you discover an attorney with an excellent reputation and track record, you may want to contact them. Many lawyers offer a free consultation before you choose to retain them.
What are the most common causes of hit-and-run accidents?
In Indiana, hit-and-run drivers usually crash into their unsuspecting fellow motorists. However, these accidents can involve pedestrians or cyclists as well. There are numerous factors that could cause a driver to flee the scene of an accident. Some of these causes include:
- Drivers on the road sans insurance or a valid driver’s license.
- Drivers who have outstanding warrants.
- Drivers who are operating vehicles while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
Indiana hit-and-run accident laws
As you try to recoup the losses your accident has caused, you may wonder if the person who hit you and fled the scene will face criminal charges. Thankfully, Indiana has laws on the books to deal with hit-and-run drivers.
Indiana law states that all involved parties must remain on the scene of their accident until first responders arrive or insurance information has been exchanged. However, any party involved in a hit-and-run may take up to 10 days to report their accident to authorities. Nevertheless, a driver responsible for a hit-and-run collision could still face serious misdemeanor or even felony charges, and could face fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
How many hit-and-runs occur each year?
While the statistics can vary based on region, in Indianapolis alone, there were 3,739 hit and runs in 2022. In 2020, hit-and-runs accounted for almost 25,000 accidents in Indiana. In 2019, 21% of pedestrians killed by cars in the U.S. were victims of hit-and-run accidents. These types of accidents occur frequently — in the U.S., a hit-and-run occurs every 43 seconds.
How long do you have to file a claim after a hit-and-run?
Indiana state law IC § 34-11-2-4 allows you two years from the date of your accident to file a legal claim. A hit-and-run accident lawyer can help you determine what type of claim to file, and can ensure you remain within the statute of limitations as you seek justice.
How an attorney can help
Hit-and-run claims may prove hard to pursue legally without finding the at fault driver. The shock and trauma of a hit-and-run accident can leave you unable to concentrate on anything but your healing. However, the right lawyer can help you do the following:
If the at fault driver is found, a lawyer can gather forensic evidence to prove the driver’s liability in your accident.
Negotiate with the Insurance Company:
A lawyer can gather your documentation to prove the merits of your claim. Insurance companies may be reluctant to offer you a settlement — especially if the driver who hit you doesn’t admit fault.
However, the right lawyer will use negotiation tactics and skills to bolster your claim and deal with the insurance company so that you can concentrate on healing and repairing your property.
Find Expert Witnesses:
If you chose to take your case to court, a hit-and-run accident lawyer can retain experts to help lend credibility to your case.
Fight for you in court:
If your hit-and-run claim cannot be settled in negotiations, the right lawyer will stand in your corner and fight for your just compensation.
Contact Yosha Law
At Yosha Law, our clients are a part of our family. We understand how daunting it can be to battle with insurance companies, and the overwhelming nature of the trauma you may experience after a hit-and-run accident. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.
You shouldn’t have to walk the path toward justice alone. Contact us today, and together we can explore the merits of your case.