An Alarming Increase in Indianapolis Hit-and-Run Car Accidents
Being struck by a vehicle while walking on the side of, or crossing, a street is traumatic enough, but what do you do if the driver doesn’t stop? That’s an increasing problem in Indianapolis, reports Fox 29 News. Even if the driver escapes the scene after hitting you, you still may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries.
In the first nine months of 2018, a dozen people were killed in Indianapolis in hit-and-run accidents, according to the report; and there are thousands of such accidents happening in the city. Three years ago, 5,049 hit-and-runs were reported to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD). They caused 543 injuries. In 2017, the number of reported hit-and-runs increased to 5,539, with injuries going up to 594.
IMPD’s chief crash investigator, Sgt. Doug Heustis, stated that in most fatal hit-and-runs the driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. The driver may be so impaired that he or she may not realize the accident happened. Many drivers leave the scene because of fear of arrest or being ticketed for not having insurance or a valid driver’s license. Others may know, or believe, there’s a warrant for their arrest and flee to avoid being incarcerated.
A recent change to Indiana law increased penalties for drivers found guilty of a fatal hit-and-run accident that kills more than one person. Penalties increase if the driver was intoxicated at the time. Intoxication can be hard to prove if time has passed between the accident and when the person is arrested.
Indianapolis isn’t the only place where people suffer at the hands of drivers fleeing the scene, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. They found that there was a record number of deaths caused by these accidents in 2016 nationwide.
They estimate that …
- On average there is more than one hit-and-run accident every minute on U.S. roads.
- These accidents caused 2,049 deaths in 2016, the highest number on record and a 60% increase from 2009.
- Every year since 2006, there has been an average of about 682,000 hit-and-run accidents in the U.S.
- Nearly 65% of those killed were pedestrians or bicyclists.
- Almost 20% of pedestrian deaths are caused by hit-and-run accidents, but they cause only about 1% of all driver fatalities.
- Deaths caused by hit-and-run accidents in the U.S. have gone up an average of 7.2% annually each year since 2009.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, even a partial description of the vehicle may help police find the driver and lead to an arrest. A claim filed pursuant to your underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy may help you obtain compensation for your injuries if the other driver is never found, has no insurance or has insufficient coverage to meet your needs.
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be able to file a car accident lawsuit against the other driver or against your own insurance carrier if they’re not offering enough to resolve your claim. Contact our office so you can set up a free consultation with our office and we can discuss what happened during the hit-and-run, your injuries, how Indiana law may apply in your case and your best options to protect your legal rights to compensation.