Can I Get Compensated as the Victim of an Indiana Hit and Run Accident?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Feb 28, 2020 in Car Accidents
Victims who are injured in a hit-and-run car crash may wonder how they will be able to get compensation to cover related costs, such as medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. However, if you have a valid case, you may have legal options.
At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, our South Bend car accident lawyers have extensive experience representing injured victims in all types of car accidents in Indiana, and we will review your potential hit-and-run accident claim for free. If we find that you may have a valid case, there are no upfront charges to retain our services. You pay us nothing unless we achieve compensation on your behalf.
Why a Driver May Leave the Scene of an Accident
A hit-and-run accident may happen because the driver who caused the crash was likely breaking some kind of traffic law, such as:
- Driving without a license and/or insurance
- Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving
- Operating a stolen vehicle
- Texting or doing some other type of distracted behavior while driving
- The driver already had a history of accidents and wanted to avoid further consequences, such as higher insurance premiums
- The driver panicked
In most situations, Indiana law requires people to stop if they are involved in an accident if:
- The accident causes injury or death to someone
- There is at least $1,000 in property damage
- The crash involves an unoccupied vehicle and the owner cannot be located
It is a crime to drive away from the scene of an accident in Indiana without stopping and exchanging information. If someone damages your vehicle or causes you injury, it is important that you are able to recover your damages and hold the at-fault party responsible for his or her negligent behavior.
Immediate Steps after the Crash
Pursuing compensation for a hit-and-run car accident is more challenging, and you can benefit from hiring a knowledgeable attorney. However, immediately after an accident, there are some steps you can take to help preserve evidence and help to strengthen your claim, such as:
- Taking a picture of the car that hit you, or at least the license plate, make, model and color of the car.
- Contacting the police immediately to create a police report and identify the other driver
- Giving the responding officer your personal account of the accident
- Getting statements and contact details from eyewitnesses
- Taking pictures of the damage to your vehicle and anything useful in the accident scene, such as road debris, tire marks, road and weather conditions.
How You May Pursue Compensation for Your Damages
Hit-and-run accident claims are challenging, but injured victims may still have a couple of options for pursuing compensation for damages:
File a Claim Under the At-fault Driver’s Insurance
If the police are successful in locating and identifying the driver, you can pursue a claim against his or her insurance policy. Indiana is a fault state, so you may be eligible to recover full compensation for your injuries. If the driver has insufficient insurance or is uninsured, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for damages.
Pursue a Claim Through your Insurance Carrier
If you have purchased PIP, MedPay or a Personal Umbrella Policy, you can file a claim under your insurance policy. This type of insurance covers your damages, regardless of who is at fault. You also may have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), and you can pursue compensation up to your policy limits. In Indiana, UM/UIM coverage is required unless you explicitly rejected it.
How an Attorney Can Help You After a Hit-and-Run Crash
At Pfeifer, Morgan and Stesiak, we have a knowledgeable legal team that is dedicated to holding at-fault drivers accountable for their negligent driving behavior. We offer a completely free, no-obligation car accident consultation to help us to determine if you have a valid case and answer your legal questions. We accept car accident cases on contingency, which means you do not pay us anything unless we achieve a recovery on your behalf.
Call our firm today to get started: (844) 678-1800