If you suffered an auto collision at any time, then you must have asked what happens if you don’t deliver a car accident report Knowing the answer to this simple yet very vital question would help you avoid many adverse legal consequences.
In Indiana, the law requires a person involved in an auto collision to do several things to escape liability or reduce the severity of the punishment they would get. One of the preceding is making an accident report to the relevant law enforcement agency.
An accident victim must also report it if they desire to file a claim for damages in court. This article evaluates the legal position, the type of accident you should report, and what happens when you don’t.
What the Law Says About Car Accidents
As mentioned earlier, Indiana law provides that anyone involved in an accident should make an accident report. You have to do this as soon as the crash occurs, after checking for injuries on yourself and providing first aid to anyone who sustained an injury.
Next, you must call 911 for an ambulance if there’s anyone with a life-threatening injury, and then call the police. While waiting for the authorities, you can gather witness statements if you desire and any other information you feel will help your claim or defense, as the case may be.
The one thing you shouldn’t do is leave the scene of the accident without speaking to the investigating authority. Even if you already made the report, you must remain at the crash site until the police interviews you and gives you the clearance to leave the scene. In some jurisdictions, those involved in a collision must remain until the police clear the site and conclude their preliminary investigation.
What Type of Accident Should You Report?
There are primarily two types of accidents you must report in Indiana:
- Injury Accidents: This type of accident covers minor or severe injuries. If there is a fatality, you must also report the crash. You are to park your car away from the road, where it won’t impede traffic or endanger you, and call the police. Keep in mind that the law frowns at those who flee the scene of an injury accident and they face severe penalties.
- Non-Injury Accidents: It covers crashes that involve property damage. The latter involves a parked car, street lights, mailbox, utility poles, or chain link fence amid others. The law provides that if the property damage exceeds $1,000, you must contact the police. Failure to do this and number 1 will amount to a hit-and-run offense.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident?
In Indiana, if you fail to file a car accident report immediately, you have ten days from the day of the occurrence to do so. You must submit the report to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
As a victim, even if the at-fault party agrees to pay for damages and ask you not to file a report, you are still required by law to do so. The latter also applies even if there was no injury, death, or significant property damage.
Failing to do so would be equivalent to shooting yourself in the foot if the other party renegade on their promise. He that comes to equity must come with clean hands, so you can’t hope to have the law on your side after willfully boycotting it.
What Is the Penalty for Not Reporting a Car Accident?
It is a crime not to report a car accident to the BMV and depending on the facts of the case, you may face administrative punishment or a more severe penalty if charged to court. For the former, you will have your driver’s license suspended and will face possible registration revocation.
For the latter, you will face a Class C misdemeanor charge with a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail. Failure to file a report will also make it hard for you to get compensated for any loss by your insurance company, and it will work against you in a civil lawsuit and a criminal trial.
Are You in Trouble for Failing to Make a Car Accident Report? Contact, Stewart | Phelps | Wood to Discuss Your Case
One other mistake people make after a car accident is failing to seek an attorney’s legal assistance. If you are in trouble for not reporting an auto crash, don’t make it worse by attempting to fix it on your own. Contact an experienced Indianapolis car accident attorney to review your case and get you the help you need.