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Understanding Indiana Car Accident Laws

Published in Personal Injury on July 29, 2020.

indiana car accident laws

Understanding the Indiana car accident laws may help keep you out of legal trouble. This knowledge can also help you in the event that you or a loved one are involved in a motor vehicle collision.

The experienced Indiana car accident attorneys of Eskew Law remind you to buckle up and practice safe driving habits whenever you’re on the roadways. No matter how careful you are, however, you might still find yourself the victim of an injury accident. Contact us to learn more about your options for pursuing legal action.

Who Has Fault for an Indiana Car Accident?

In Indiana, any motorist who causes or contributes to an injury accident is liable for the victim’s economic and non-economic damages.

If you contributed to the accident, you may only collect a portion of your damages from the other party, as long as you are not more than 50% at fault. Many insurance companies use this aspect of the Indiana car accident laws to minimize the amount they have to pay out or to deny claims outright.

Having an experienced car accident lawyer to handle your case can help improve your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve for your physical, emotional, and financial damages.

Do You Have to Carry Car Insurance in Indiana?

The Indiana car insurance laws require motorists to carry liability insurance for both bodily harm (minimum limits of $25,000 single incident/$50,000 aggregate) and property damage ($25,000 minimum limit). Indiana requires insurance companies provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage unless you waive this requirement in writing.

After an accident in Indiana, your insurance company must provide a certificate of compliance to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to verify your coverage.  If your insurance company does not provide the verification to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, your license could be suspended.  

When Do You Have to Report an Indiana Car Accident?

Indiana law requires drivers to perform certain reporting duties after a collision codified in I.C. 9-26-1-1.1. If you are involved in an accident while operating a motor vehicle, you must stop the motor accident as close as possible to the accident scene and provide name, address, and registration number to any person involved in the accident. Further, if the accident results in injury or death, the driver must also immediately give notice of the accident to law enforcement or 911 telephone operator. 

Failure to follow the reporting provisions of I.C. 9-26-1-1.1 could potentially result in criminal charges, the lowest level being a Class B Misdemeanor.  If convicted, the penalty for a Class B Misdemeanor ranges from 0 to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.00.

In addition to the importance of fulfilling all statutory reporting requirements, reporting a collision is often helpful to you if you are injured.  In Indiana, law enforcement will prepare a crash report documenting the collision and identify any witnesses to the collision. If you don’t report the accident and later discover that you have injuries, it could make it more difficult to pursue a claim for your injuries.  

What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

In addition to statutory reporting requirements, after a collision, it is important to gather the contact information of the other driver(s) involved in the collision.   If feasible, take photos, note vehicle passengers, and gather contact information from any witnesses that may be present. Take care not to discuss your opinions of what happened or admit fault, even if you think you might have caused or contributed to the accident. Only a full investigation can determine what really happened.

Go to the emergency room or see a doctor as soon as possible. You could have internal injuries or soft tissue damage, which you might not notice immediately. It will be helpful to have these medical records to prove the nature and extent of your injuries if you pursue legal action.

How Long Do You Have to Take Legal Action for Car Accident Injuries?

Generally, the Indiana statute of limitations for personal injury allows you only two years from the date of a car accident to file a civil lawsuit.

Fortunately, most injury accident victims can resolve their case through a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the sooner your lawyer can document your case and begin negotiating with the insurance company. Further, retaining an attorney can help ensure you don’t miss your window of opportunity under the statute of limitations or sacrifice your right to recover compensation for your damages.

Contact an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer Today for Help

Before you give a statement to the insurance company or accept an undervalued settlement offer, take advantage of the free consultation offered by Eskew Law.

Contact us now to schedule your no-cost case analysis, or to speak to an Indiana car accident lawyer.

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