Indiana Car Accident Laws
Indiana’s car accident laws can be complex and confusing, making it critical for drivers to understand their rights and responsibilities after a crash. Whether you are a resident of Indiana or simply visiting the state, having a basic understanding of the laws governing car accidents can go a long way in protecting you and your loved ones.
The period after a car accident can feel overwhelming. You’re trying to recover from your injuries, make car repairs, and deal with insurance companies. In addition, there are several obligations you must be aware of under Indiana car accident laws.
The accident lawyers at Stein Law can be your ally during this difficult time. We’ll carry the burden of complying with any Indiana accident reporting laws so you can focus on recovering. We’ll also help you recover compensation from any party whose negligence caused the car accident.
Contact us today for a free consultation on your car accident case.
Indiana Car Accident Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations in Indiana for all personal injury claims, including car accidents, is established by Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4. That law requires accident victims to file suit within two years of the accident date. If the other party is a government entity, you have only 180 days to provide notice of the claim.
You must file your car accident claim before the specified deadline, or you may lose your right to seek compensation. If you file suit after the deadline, the defendant can ask the court to dismiss your claim, and the court will likely grant the request.
Consulting a lawyer as soon as possible after your car accident will give them ample time to prepare and file your claim. The car accident lawyers at Stein Law are ready to start the process to get you compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Damage Limits in Car Accident Lawsuits
In some circumstances, Indiana car accident laws limit the amount of money you can recover for a car accident:
- If the defendant is a government entity, the total amount you can recover is capped at $700,000.
- The punitive damages you can recover in a personal injury case cannot exceed $50,000 or three times the amount of compensation, whichever is greater.
Comparative Negligence Law
Indiana has a modified comparative fault law as laid out in Indiana Code section 34-51-2-6. Under that law, if you were more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, you cannot recover any compensation for your losses.
However, you can recover compensation as long as your fault for the accident is not greater than 50 percent. In that case, your compensation will be reduced by your share of the fault. For example, if the court finds you were 30 percent at fault, you can still recover 70 percent of your damages.
Indiana Auto Insurance Requirements
Your Indiana auto insurance policy must have the following coverage:
- Bodily injury liability: Minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: Minimum of $25,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury: Minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist property damage: Minimum of $25,000 per accident
- Underinsured motorist bodily injury: Minimum of $50,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
Note that liability coverage covers the damages you cause to another person in an auto accident, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. It does not pay for any injury or property damage you sustained yourself.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Laws
Indiana’s uninsured motorist coverage pays you for personal or property damages caused by an uninsured motorist. By Indiana law, all new auto liability policies must include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage unless you reject it in writing.
Uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage allows you to collect personal or property damages from your own insurance company, although you can still decide to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent party.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s important to know that insurance companies are not on your side. They will look for ways to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible. Car accident attorneys at Stein Law have seen it all and can help you overcome obstacles and recover the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Car Accident Reporting Laws
Indiana car accident reporting laws don’t require you to report every car accident. However, Indiana Code section 9-26-1-1 requires that you report a car accident to law enforcement as soon as possible if the crash meets any of the following criteria:
- The crash caused injury or death.
- The crash damaged an unattended vehicle or property other than a vehicle, and the owner cannot be contacted.
At a minimum, failure to report a reportable accident can lead to a Class B misdemeanor criminal charge.
You don’t have to report accidents where none of these circumstances are present. However, you must report the accident if you intend to seek compensation for your damages. Many insurance policies require an accident report before you can file a claim. Also, it will be harder to prove your claim if you don’t file a report.
Also, you must submit proof of insurance to Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles after the bureau receives an accident report. The bureau will mail you a request for financial responsibility verification, and you will have 90 days to respond. Failing to do so can result in the suspension of your driver’s license or the revocation of your car registration.
Indiana Seatbelt Laws
Indiana has a so-called “primary” seat belt law, meaning law enforcement officers can pull you over if they reasonably suspect you are not buckled up. Under Indiana law, all vehicle occupants must wear a seat belt once the car is in motion. Any car occupant 16 years and above who disregards this rule can get a $25 ticket for a first offense.
Indiana also has child restraint laws to protect children who may be too young to use a car seat belt properly. You must comply with the federally approved child restraint system.
Indiana Hit and Run Laws
Indiana Motor Vehicles Code (Title 9) section 9-26-1-1.1 mandates every driver involved in a car accident to stop at the scene and provide their name, contact details, registration number, and driver’s license to all other parties involved. Failing to do so amounts to a hit-and-run, and the punishment depends on the severity of the injury involved.
Penalties for the different classifications of hit-and-run are as follows:
- With no injury is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 180 days and a fine of up to $1,000.
- With bodily injury is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 1 year and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Involving serious injury is a level 6 felony punishable by imprisonment from 6 months to 2.5 and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Resulting in death or catastrophic injury is a level 4 felony punishable by imprisonment from 2 to 12 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Involving intoxication and catastrophic injury or death is a level 3 felony punishable by imprisonment from 10 to 30 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Contact an Indiana Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a car accident, we can help. Our attorneys have more than 75 years of combined experience guiding our clients through the legal process. Our experienced car accident attorneys can help you file your car accident claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Contact Stein Law today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options. We work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay costs or expenses unless we win or settle your case.
Call us now at (812) 948-6000 or visit our website to schedule your free consultation.