Car accidents can be devastating events that leave people seriously injured and emotionally traumatized. It can be incredibly difficult to navigate your legal options while recovering from serious physical and mental injuries. It can be even more difficult if the other driver flees the scene, leaving you with no help.
In Indiana, car accident victims can file insurance claims with the other driver’s insurance. If the other driver fled the scene, you might not have the information needed to file a claim. In such cases, you can instead file a claim with your own insurance. You also have other legal options, like pursuing a personal injury lawsuit if you can track down the other driver.
If you were recently in a crash and the other driver fled the scene, you were the victim of a hit-and-run. Call our Indiana car accident attorneys to get help immediately. Call Wruck Paupore Injury Lawyers at (219) 322-1166 for a free case review.
Indiana is an at-fault state when it comes to car insurance claims. In Indiana, drivers involved in car accidents submit insurance claims to the other driver’s insurance instead of their own. When doing so, you must demonstrate that the other driver is responsible for the accident, and their insurance should offer you a settlement. This process is a bit tricky in hit-and-run car accident cases.
When the other driver is unknown, you can instead file a claim with your own insurance for a hit-and-run accident. It is important to discuss your case with an attorney because not all insurance policies cover hit-and-run accidents. To do this, you typically need to have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as a part of your policy.
The law does not require all drivers to have uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. Insurance companies often require you to submit your refusal of these policies in writing and there is a complicated process the insurance carrier must follow in Indiana for you to decline insurance coverage. Refusing this type of coverage is usually not a good idea as it severely limits any possibility of compensation through insurance in a hit-and-run case.
If you are unsure how to file a claim for a hit-and-run accident, or if you do not know if your insurance will cover your case, speak to our legal team for help. Because you are deemed to have coverage unless you declined it and the insurance company met all the required procedures, it’s possible you could have uninsured motorist coverage that you don’t know about.
If insurance is not available to you under your policy, you can attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver that fled. The biggest issue with personal injury lawsuits for hit-and-run accidents is identifying the defendant. If the other driver is not found and you cannot identify them, then you cannot sue them.
Even though you do not know who hit you, you can still get the ball rolling on your personal injury case. You should talk to a lawyer and discuss whether any other legal options are available. Our Hammond, IN car accident lawyers can start an investigation and bring an action against the defendant later when they are identified by the police or our investigators. You also need to begin assessing your damages and preparing for when the defendant is finally found. It is also important to work on your case now because you do not have a second opportunity to prepare your case and document your injuries.
Finding the driver who hit you is more likely than you may think. License plate numbers can be tracked to the car’s owner. Descriptions of vehicles can also help police find damaged cars matching the description. There are also many security and other cameras operated by third-parties which may have captured your accident (and information to identify the other driver) which we can work to locate. This can take time, however, and the longer you wait before our investigation begins the more likely the risk that the statute of limitations expires.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases can be found under Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4 and imposes a 2-year deadline. This means that you have 2 years from the date of your car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If those 2 years pass without anything being filed, you cannot bring your claims to court.
Statutes of limitations have a few exceptions, some of which might apply in your case. Tolling happens when certain circumstances prevent you from filing your case on time. When the statute is tolled, the timer counting down the deadline is paused. How long it is paused depends on why you want to toll the statute. While these exceptions exist, they very seldom apply in car accident cases so your best bet is to act quickly so that our Indianapolis car accident lawyers can start an investigation to find the at fault driver.
If the driver cannot be located, recovery is likely dependent upon whether you have uninsured motorist coverage that would apply to a missing driver.
A hit-and-run is not just a car accident lawsuit. A hit-and-run is also a serious criminal offense. As such, you must alert the police to your case immediately. The police will work to find the other driver and bring them to justice. In the meantime, our Fort Wayne car accident lawyers can help you look into separate civil options for compensation.
Once caught, the other driver may be criminally charged and potentially face a trial. Often, we will be able to use a criminal guilty verdict or admission of guilt against the defendant in your personal injury lawsuit.
The criminal investigation into your case can also help us find and identify your defendant. You might have to work with law enforcement officers to help them find the other driver. Any information you can provide about what car the other driver was in, their license plate number, and any other details will be of the utmost importance.
If you were the victim of a hit-and-run car accident, you need to immediately speak to an attorney and the police. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a serious crime, and you might need help tracking down the defendant. Call Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166 for a free case review.
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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.
More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.
In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.
Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.
For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.
Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.
Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.