Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Indiana: Is It Legal?

Accident in Indiana

After an auto accident, you may believe you have a moral obligation to check on the health of everyone involved. However, do you have a legal obligation to do this? Is leaving the scene of an accident in Indiana illegal?

Yes. Indiana’s laws require drivers to remain at the scene of an accident with property damage, regardless of whether any bodily injury occurred. 

What Is the Penalty for Leaving an Accident Scene in Indiana?

Failing to stop after an auto accident in Indiana could result in a misdemeanor or felony charge against you, depending on the factors involved.


You may receive a misdemeanor charge if the accident in Indiana only led to property damage or minor injuries. Even this charge could lead to jail time of up to one year or a fine of up to $5,000, though. 


Your failing-to-stop charge could elevate to a more serious felony if a few facts are present in your accident case, including:

  • Accidents that involve moderate, serious, or catastrophic bodily injury to others.
  • Accidents that result in a fatality to others.
  • If the driver has a qualifying conviction within the past five years.
  • If the driver purposefully chose not to stop because of drug or alcohol consumption.

Any felony charges can carry varying levels of penalties. The severest penalties for leaving an accident in Indiana are up to 16 years in prison and a penalty of up to $10,000, according to IN Code § 35-50-2-5.

What Does Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Indiana Mean?

The Indiana Driver’s Manual specifies the requirements of any driver of a vehicle involved in an accident. Not doing any of the following could be a form of “leaving the scene.” 

  • Stop as quickly as possible near the scene of the accident.
  • Move your vehicle if necessary to avoid affecting traffic flow.
  • Provide personal information to anyone involved in or investigating the accident, including a driver’s license.
  • Give medical assistance to anyone who needs it.
  • Contact first responders to come to the scene.

Even if your accident involved hitting someone’s property or unattended motor vehicles, you must stop at the scene. Call law enforcement and make efforts to locate the property owner.

Can I Defend Myself From a Charge of Leaving an Accident Scene?

Perhaps you made a simple mistake that led to the accident and didn’t even realize the accident occurred. Maybe you panicked because you’ve never been in an accident and decided to drive away. 

None of these actions absolve you from following Indiana state law. However, you may be able to argue in court that your actions occurred because of a misunderstanding. 

For example, the law requires you to wait a reasonable amount of time for police to arrive. If officers are busy and take a long time to arrive, you may be able to use this fact to defend yourself against hit-and-run charges.

You may be able to show that you did not actually have involvement in the accident. Perhaps you changed lanes and the driver behind you ended up in a crash. You continued driving, unaware of what happened. If the other driver accused you of changing lanes recklessly and causing the accident, police may try to interview you about what happened. This doesn’t mean you’ll have a hit-and-run charge, though.

If You Suffered Injuries in a Hit-and-Run Accident, Call Tabor Law Firm 

If you suffered injuries when the other driver left the scene of an accident in Indiana, Tabor Law Firm can help. We offer a free consultation, so you can speak with our personal injury lawyers and decide whether you want to file an injury claim. Call us today at (317) 236-9000 or contact us through our web form.


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