Under Indiana law, car accidents that involve injuries, death, entrapment, an unoccupied vehicle or unattended property, or over $1,000 in property damage are required to file an accident report.
This is true even if other involved parties ask you not to file and agree to pay for damages out-of-pocket. The only accidents that do not require accident reports to be filed by drivers are off-road vehicles and snowmobiles.
What To Do After A Crash
While most crashes will involve the local police or county sheriff who will report an accident, you can also send a report directly to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). You have 10 days from the date of the accident to file this report. Your local law enforcement or the BMV can assist you if you have questions about filing your accident report.
While most of the duties after a crash seem like common sense, the emotions after a crash can cloud a person’s judgment. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a firm understanding of what’s expected of you if you’re ever in an accident in Indiana.
All motorists involved in an accident that involves injuries, death, entrapment or over $1,000 in property damage should:
- Stop your vehicle as close as safely possible to the scene of the accident. If your car is drivable and you can safely do so, it is fine to move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic, but don’t go far.
- Stay on the scene until the authorities have collected your information (name, address, driver’s license, vehicle registration number, etc.) and the responding officer says you can leave.
- Provide assistance to anyone you can on the scene.
More details on the responsibilities after a crash can be found at Indiana statute 9-26.
What Are The Penalties For Failure To Report?
In Indiana, it is considered a hit and run if you fail to report an accident. Additionally, there are other penalties for failing to report accidents. Typically, the charge is a Class B misdemeanor, which carries punishments of up to 60 days in jail, $500 in fines, and/or the person having their license suspended or revoked.
Other factors can make the penalties higher. These include:
- Bodily harm. The charge elevates to a Class A misdemeanor
- Death/catastrophic injury. The charge elevates to a Level 4 felony
- Drunk/drugged driving. The charge elevates to a Level 3 felony
- Second offense in 5 years. The charge elevates to a Level 6 felony
- Serious bodily harm. The charge elevates to a Level 6 felony
It’s also important to note that Indiana is an at-fault state. This means that whoever is determined to be responsible for the accident will be required to pay for all the damages, or their insurance company will cover the damages. If the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured, the victim’s insurance may be able to pay for their own damages depending on what coverage they have.
Along with filing an accident report with local authorities, you’ll also need to report the accident to your insurance company. If you don’t report the accident and then try to file a claim, your insurance company will likely reject the claim.
One last thing to know about Indiana’s car accident laws is that the state follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. Modified comparative negligence allows those who are deemed to be 50% or less responsible for an accident to still receive compensation; however, the compensation you’ll receive will be reduced by the percentage you were found at fault.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and require assistance with a claim, consult with an experienced car accident lawyer near you.