When injury accidents happen in Indiana, people involved often wonder, “Who determines which person was at fault for the crash?” Answering this question is even more critical when severe injuries, significant financial losses, and pain and suffering deserve accountability and compensation.
So, does a police report say who was at fault for an accident in Indiana? Who determines fault in a car crash in Indiana? The police are called to the scene and create and file an accident report. However, police reports are not the final word on who is at fault for a car accident. This article from the Indiana car accident attorneys at Truitt Law Offices discusses what is in the police report, how insurance determines responsibility, the role of the courts, and more.
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Do the Police Determine Who Was at Fault for a Crash?
After an auto accident in Indiana, especially one with injuries or fatalities, it’s up to local law enforcement to file an accident report. This report typically contains an account of the basic facts of the accident as the officer understood them. The officer may issue a citation to one or more of the drivers involved in the crash.
That might seem like the end of the issue, but that’s not necessarily true. When police issue a citation after an accident, they look at whether a driver committed a criminal traffic offense. Criminal responsibility is not the same as civil liability, however. A police report is not the final word when it comes to recovering compensation for your injuries.
You can use information from a police report to help build your case, but you can also use other evidence to show another driver was at fault for the crash. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may have been cited for your actions, but the other driver could still be fully or partially liable for your injuries. Talk to a car accident lawyer to learn more.
When Do You Have to File an Indiana Accident Report?
Indiana law requires drivers to contact police after any crash in which someone was injured or killed. Additionally, you must file an accident report if there’s more than $1,000 in property damage. Finally, you must report an accident to the police if you hit an unattended vehicle and cannot locate the owner.
Failing to report an accident to police can have serious legal consequences. If you do not report an accident to the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles within 10 days, you could have your driver’s license suspended and your vehicle registration invalidated. Additionally, you could be charged with a misdemeanor offense, with the potential penalties including up to $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.
What Information Should Be Included in an Indiana Police Report?
Sometimes police cannot respond immediately to an accident, even when someone has been injured. You should file a personal accident report with the local law enforcement agency if this happens to you. Without an accident report, it can be challenging to prove that crash occurred, which could make it much more difficult for you to recover compensation for your injuries.
If you file a personal accident report after a crash, make sure to include the following information:
- Any photos you have from the scene of the crash, as well as documentation of the damage to all the vehicles involved in the accident.
- The name, phone number, and address for everyone in all vehicles involved in the accident. That includes both drivers and any passengers in the crash.
- The driver’s license number for all drivers involved in the crash, including your own driver’s license number.
- The license plate numbers of all vehicles involved in the accident.
- Car insurance information for all drivers involved in the collision.
When describing the accident in your report, stick to the basic facts of the accident. You don’t want to say anything that could jeopardize your injury claim.
How Do I Request a Copy of an Indiana Crash Report?
There are a few different ways to request a copy of a police officer accident report in Indiana. The easiest way is to contact an Indiana car accident lawyer. Your lawyer can navigate the police bureaucracy while you focus on getting treatment for your injuries.
If you wish to request the report yourself, you can do so online by going to the website for the Indiana State Police. Bear in mind that if you go through the state system, you will have to pay a fee to request your report.
How Does Insurance Determine Who Is at Fault?
Most car accident claims in Indiana end in an insurance settlement, which means the insurance companies determine the fault for the crash, as well as how much compensation you’ll receive. To determine who’s responsible for a collision, the insurance company may look at the police accident report and other evidence like:
- Eyewitness accounts
- Crash scene photos
- Medical records
- Testimony from expert witnesses
- Forensic accident reconstruction reports
If you disagree with the decision of the insurance company regarding fault for a crash, you can take your case to court. At that point, it’s up to the judge or a jury to weigh the evidence and decide who’s at fault for the accident.
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Why You Should Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Indiana Today
A lot of work is involved in recovering compensation for your injuries after a car accident. It goes far beyond requesting accident reports. That is one of the main reasons to hire a car accident lawyer. A skilled attorney from our law firm can take care of all of the legal legwork for you. While you’re focusing on recovering from your injuries, your lawyer can negotiate for a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company or file a lawsuit to seek justice in court.
If you or a loved one were involved in a crash, the first call you should make is to the Indiana car accident attorneys at Truitt Law Offices. We’ll start by discussing your rights and legal options during a free consultation. If you hire us, we’ll aggressively seek the compensation you need and deserve.