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Hit-and-Run Accidents on Rise in Indianapolis

Multiple reports say the number of hit-and-run car accidents in Indianapolis and across the nation has increased markedly in recent years. There are thousands of hit-and-run crashes each year in Indianapolis that leave drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists with serious injuries, and in some cases, fatal injuries.

Lieutenant Richard Kivett, who investigates traffic accidents for Marion County Traffic Partnership, told RTV6 last spring that investigators identify the at-fault driver in 75 to 80 percent of fatal hit-and-run accidents here.

If you or a family member of yours has been injured in a hit-and-run accident in Indianapolis or elsewhere in Indiana, let the car accident lawyers at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC assist you. We can help hold a hit-and-run driver accountable and pursue a proper insurance settlement even in cases where a hit-and-run driver cannot be identified.

A Look at Hit-and-Run Accidents Statistics in Indianapolis and Indiana

RTV6 reported that Marion County saw an average of eight fatal hit-and-run accidents a year from 2011 to 2013, and the number had doubled since then.

From January 1, 2016 through May 1, 2018, there were 51 fatal crashes in Marion County, of which 42 percent were hit-and-runs.

In December 2018, Fox 59 in Indianapolis reported that of 5,049 hit-and-runs reported to the Indianapolis Metro Police Department in 2016, 543 involved injuries. In 2017, there were 5,539 hit-and-run reports with 594 injuries.

By October of 2018, Indianapolis police had already written up 4,236 hit-and-run reports with 398 involving injuries, Fox 59 said.

The Indiana University Public Policy Institute’s Indiana Crash Facts 2017, the most recent version of the report, says there were 28,485 hit-and-run accidents in Indiana in 2017. They represented 13 percent of all collision accidents.

Indiana counties with the highest rates of hit-and-run accidents in 2017 were:

  • Vigo (Terre Haute), 19.8 percent
  • Joseph (South Bend), 19.6 percent
  • Monroe (Bloomington), 19.5 percent
  • Allen (Fort Wayne), 19.3 percent
  • Marion (Indianapolis), 19.1 percent
  • Lake (Gary), 18.5 percent.

Nationally, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

  • 2,049 people died in hit-and-run accidents in 2016 – the highest number on record and a 60 percent increase since 2009.
  • Hit-and-run deaths in the U.S. have increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.
  • An average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occurred each year since 2006.
  • Nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.
  • Over the past 10 years (2008 to 2018), nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and-run crashes.

How Hit-and-Run Accidents Happen in Indianapolis

Law enforcement officials told RTV6 and Fox 59 that contributing factors in many hit-and-run accidents include vehicle speed, lack of lighting at night, and drivers and pedestrians impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Many drivers are driving distracted by electronic devices. Pedestrians may be distracted, as well, and often expect — erroneously — that drivers will see and avoid them.

Drivers who get into an accident may flee the scene because:

  • They panic
  • They’re impaired by alcohol and/or drugs
  • They’re driving with a suspended driver’s license or without a driver’s license
  • They do not have auto insurance
  • They have outstanding arrest warrants.

More recently, a man was killed while working on his truck outside of his home on West Michigan Street May 3 when someone driving a dark-colored passenger car crashed into him and his truck. Police say the person driving the car ran away from the crash on foot, and that visibility may have been a factor since the crash happened about 11 p.m.

An April 28 hit-and-run accident involving three vehicles at E. 38th Street and Arquette Drive left at least three people injured, including one who was in serious condition. The investigation is ongoing.

A woman died when she was hit by a suspected drunk driver as she was crossing Broad Ripple Avenue at the end of March. The alleged driver was arrested not far from the scene of the crash and is charged with driving drunk in an accident causing death and leaving the scene of an accident.

A hit-and-run crash on Indianapolis’ west side March 16 left one person dead and another in critical condition. A driver was arrested on suspicion of failure to stop at an accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury while intoxicated, according to the IndyStar.

What is Hit and Run Under Indiana Law?

Drivers involved in collisions that cause injury or death are expected to remain at or immediately return to the scene of the accident to provide their driver’s license and other information to others involved and to report the accident. A driver who fails to do so, according to IC 9-26-1-1.1(b), may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor of leaving the scene of an accident. Conviction of the offense is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Under Indiana law, a hit-and-run driver may face more serious charges after leaving the scene of an accident, depending on the circumstances. It is a:

  • Class A misdemeanor if the accident results in bodily injury to another person. A Class A misdemeanor may be punished by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Level 6 felony if the accident results in serious bodily injury to another person or occurs within five years of being convicted for an accident causing death (as listed in IC 9-30-10-4(a)). A Level 6 felony is punishable by six months to two-and-a-half years in prison, with the advisory sentence being one year, plus a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Level 5 felony if the accident results in the death of another person. A Level 5 felony is punishable by one to six years in prison, with the advisory sentence being three years, plus a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Level 3 felony if the operator knowingly or intentionally fails to stop or provide a driver’s license or drives while intoxicated and causes serious bodily injury (IC 9-30-5-4) or drives while intoxicated causing death (IC 9-30-5-5). A Level 3 felony is punishable by three to 16 years in prison, with the advisory sentence being nine years, plus a fine of up to $10,000.

A court records analysis by Fox 59 found that, because it’s almost impossible to prove a hit-and-run driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash, drivers who flee a fatal accident are typically sentenced for a Level 5 felony, and most offenders are back on the streets within five years.

How Our Attorneys Can Help After an Indiana Hit-and-Run Accident

While criminal courts may punish hit-and-run drivers who are caught, Indiana civil law allows the victims of hit-and-run drivers to be made financially whole.

The hit-and-run accident attorneys of Craig, Kelley & Faultless can help you recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses from the hit-and-run driver who injured you or your family, or through your Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance coverage, which is required in Indiana and covers hit-and-run accidents in which the at-fault driver is not found or does not have insurance.

We serve clients throughout Indiana and can schedule an appointment at a location convenient to you, including your home, office or hospital room. We offer a free case consultation and work on a contingency fee basis. We only get paid a legal fee if we obtain an insurance settlement or a jury verdict for you. Call us today.