Accidents involve loss of life and property. If you’re gotten into one and are unharmed, it’s your social responsibility to offer whatever help you can, irrespective of who was at a fault. The law of Indiana requires you to do the same.
Here are the details:
What is hit and run?
According to the law, if you’re involved in an accident and leave the scene, the act is known as a hit and run accident.
Whether you get into an accident with another car, a pedestrian, an animal, or a fixed object, the law requires you to stop, identify yourself, and render help to anyone who might need it. In most states, you need to stop even if you’re not at fault. You can only leave the scene if you need to get emergency assistance from nearby and intend to return to the accident scene immediately.
In some states, parking lot collisions also qualify as hit and run accidents. If you’ve broken the windshield of an unoccupied car while parking, you must leave your contact details on a note and paste it on the windshield.
What are the penalties?
The exact criminal penalties for hit and run accidents vary across states. The crime is either classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation. If there is some injury involved, the hit and run accident becomes a felony, and the penalties become severe. The fine ranges between $5,000 and $20,000, depending on the damage. In some states, the defendant may even be sentenced to 15 years in prison. If the hit and run is a misdemeanor, the fine can go up to $5,000 with over a year in jail.
Other than that, there are administrative penalties as well. Whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, the accident usually results in revocation or suspension of your driver’s license. If the damage the extensive, the authorities might also revoke your license for a lifetime.
As far as the civil penalties are concerned, the other party usually files a lawsuit and ask for monetary compensation for the property damage, lost wages, and medical bills. However, if the court finds out that you fled the accident scene, it may impose ‘treble charges’ on you. This means that all the damages awarded to the plaintiff will be tripled to punish you. The car insurance policy does not usually cover such charges.
What to do?
If you’ve been accused of a hit and run accident, you need help from two individuals:
- Your attorney will get in touch with the plaintiff and settle the charges. They’ll also present your case in front of a judge to get you off the hook.
- Your bail bond agent will help you post bail and get out of jail.