Driving under the influence (DUI) places everyone on the road at risk of a serious accident. When a DUI accident does occur, a victim will needlessly suffer if the driver flees the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident without seeking medical attention for an injured victim only worsens the victim’s physical and emotional harm. These injuries are especially tragic because they are preventable. If drivers chose not to drive while intoxicated or flee the scene of an accident, the victim never would have suffered injuries. A recent news article illustrates the deadly consequences of Indiana DUI hit-and-run accidents.
As the article reported, police in Indianapolis, Indiana law enforcement arrested a woman for causing a fatal hit-and-run accident by driving under the influence. According to police, the victim was riding northbound on his motorcycle when the woman struck him with her pickup truck. The woman then allegedly sped away instead of calling for help or reporting the accident. Tragically, the motorcyclist died as a result of the crash. Police located the hit-and-run driver shortly after the crash and claimed she was driving while under the influence. They subsequently arrested her for leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
What Are the Legal Penalties for Indiana DUI Hit-And-Run Accidents?
Under Indiana law, drivers who leave the scene of an accident have committed a crime. If a collision causes serious bodily harm, a driver who flees the scene could face high-level felony charges. Even minimal property damage can result in a misdemeanor offense, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and $5,000 in fines. The state will also suspend hit-and-runs drivers’ licenses. Indiana also imposes stiff penalties against intoxicated drivers. Indiana’s operating while intoxicated (OWI) laws who commit a first-time offense are guilty of a misdemeanor, which carries up to 60 days in prison or $50. The penalties area higher if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was 1.5% or more. However, drivers who commit a second OWI offense within seven years are guilty of a felony, which carries even higher penalties.
Victims of a hit-and-run accident involving an intoxicated driver can also sue the driver for negligence. A criminal conviction against the driver does not prevent a victim from seeking monetary damages in civil court. If the criminal justice system does not provide adequate redress for your harm, you can work with an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney to file a negligence claim.
Can You Recover Insurance Without Identifying the Responsible Driver?
If the authorities have not identified the hit-and-run driver responsible for your injuries, you may be able to recover insurance depending on your coverage plan. According to the Indiana Department of Insurance, each newly written auto liability policy must include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured liability covers the cost of damage to your person or property when you cannot locate the driver who is at fault for the accident. Under Indiana insurance law, the minimum liability limit is $25,000 for bodily injury caused by uninsured motorists and $50,000 for underinsured motorists. For property damage, the minimum liability limit is $25,000. Because you cannot locate the responsible driver, you can collect these damages from your insurance company.
Have You Been Hurt in an Indiana DUI Hit-And-Run Accident?
Too often, insurance does not fully compensate victims for their physical and emotional harm when an intoxicated driver leaves the scene of an accident. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or died from an Indiana DUI hit-and-run accident, contact Padove Law to discuss your case. Attorney Burton A. Padove has nearly 40 years of experience filing personal injury lawsuits and obtaining damages awards for clients throughout the state of Indiana. Through Attorney Padove’s skilled and dedicated representation, he has fought for the compensation that Indiana accident victims need and deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our office at 877-446-5294. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our representation unless we can recover compensation on your behalf.