Do I Have to Report a Minor Car Accident in Indiana?
In Indiana, you are required by law to report any car accidents that involve injury, death or entrapment of another person. You must also report accidents that involve damage to property, excluding the vehicles involved. So, if a crash involved no injuries and caused only minor damage to the vehicles involved, then you do not have to report the accident. However, regardless of whether it is required by law, reporting your accident will be essential if you want to pursue compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. Call our car accident lawyers today.
What Are My Responsibilities as a Driver in Indiana After A Car Accident?
You may never leave the scene of an accident without stopping. After a collision, you should immediately pull over – away from traffic – and render assistance to anyone who may need it. If anyone is badly injured, be sure to call 911. Additionally, you should do the following:
- Exchange information with everyone involved in the accident, including names, contact information, driver’s license numbers, license plates and insurance information.
- If the accident involved injuries, death, damage to property beyond the vehicles (such as a street lamp or guardrail) or damage totaling more than $1,000 to the vehicles, you must contact the police.
Most, if not all, insurance policies also require you to report any accident that involves another vehicle. The only time you can safely choose not to inform your insurance company of an accident is if it is a single-vehicle accident involving only minor damage such as if you back into a fence on your own property.
When you make your report, both to your insurance company and to the police, be careful of what you say. Never speculate about how or why the crash occurred. Instead, you should just state the facts. Do not admit fault or apologize for the crash in any way, even if you think you were partially responsible. Also, do not comment on the extent of your injuries. Leave the determination of your injuries to the medical professionals.
How Long Do I Have to Report an Accident?
In Indiana, you have 10 days from the date of your accident to submit an accident report. This report should be submitted to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Even if the other driver promised to pay for damages and asked for no report to be filed, you are legally required to make this report if the accident involved injuries, death or significant property damage.
Are There Penalties for Not Reporting an Accident?
If you fail to report your accident to the BMV within 10 days, your driver’s license may be suspended, and your registration could be revoked. Also, failing to report an accident is a Class C misdemeanor crime. The penalties may include up to $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.
Of course, failing to file an accident report can have broader consequences than losing your license, fines and jail time. If you do not file an accident report, it may be difficult or even impossible to recover any kind of compensation for your accident – whether it’s through your insurance or the other party’s insurance.
An accident report serves as an objective record of the facts of the accident. It can provide important information for proving that the accident occurred in the way you claim it did. Without an accident report on file, it will be far easier for an insurance company to claim that you caused your injuries due to your own negligence, and so, you should not be compensated.
Is Indiana a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?
Indiana is a fault state. In other words, a driver who is found to be responsible for a car accident will also be responsible for paying for the resulting damages. In practice, this means that the at-fault driver’s insurance company should cover your damages – up to the at-fault driver’s policy limits. Your own insurance may also cover your damages if the driver is uninsured or underinsured.
In addition to reporting your accident to authorities, you will also need to inform your insurance company. If you fail to comply with a reporting requirement, then the insurance company may have grounds to reject your claim.
You should know that Indiana follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. With this rule, you may still collect compensation if you are found to be 50 percent or less responsible for the accident. Your compensation will then be reduced by the percentage you are found to be at fault. For example, if you were speeding when another vehicle ran a red light, and your two vehicles collided, you may be found 20 percent responsible for the accident. If you were initially awarded $100,000 in damages, your compensation would be reduced by 20%, leaving you with $80,000.
Contact Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Today
For more than four decades, the attorneys of Truitt Law Offices have served those who have been hurt in accidents in Fort Wayne and across the state of Indiana. We are proud to represent our community, and we are determined to protect the rights of every member of it. When you have been hurt in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, we will stand up for you. We do it because it is the right thing to do.
Don’t let a car accident cost you your health, livelihood and financial well-being. Our lawyers will investigate the crash and will build a convincing case on your behalf. We will aggressively seek the maximum amount of compensation possible to ensure that you won’t pay out of pocket for a crash that you did not cause.
We never charge anything for consultations, and you won’t have to pay us anything unless we win your case. Contact a knowledgeable member of our team by calling us or reaching us online today.