Across the United States, hit-and-run accidents have been on the rise over the course of the past decade. The State of Ohio, in particular, ranked tenth among states with the highest hit-and-run accidents in 2019. Because the consequences of these incidents can range from minor property damage to death, it’s important to prepare yourself in the event you find yourself a victim of a hit-and-run accident.
A hit-and-run–also known in Ohio as a “hit skip”–accident is an incident in which the at-fault driver intentionally leaves the scene of an accident without leaving his or her contact information. Ohio law, however, requires that, in the event a driver is involved in an accident in which damage occurs, a driver must:
- Stop at the scene of the accident;
- Exchange contact information (name, address, insurance information, etc.) with other people involved in the accident; and
- Contact medical personnel (if necessary).
While failing to stop after a hit-and-run accident is illegal in Ohio, sadly, it does not deter drivers from doing so. In fact, out of every 10,000 Ohio drivers, seven have at least one hit-and-run violation on their driving record. Some drivers flee because they are inadequately insured, others because they are driving under the influence. Whatever the reason, legal repercussions for doing so can include a minimum license suspension of six months, fines up to $15,000, jail time up to eight years, and a potential fifth-degree felony conviction.
In the event you find yourself involved in a hit-and-run accident, you should do the following:
- Gather information such as the make and model of the car, license plate number, a physical description of the at-fault driver, the direction in which the driver was headed, pictures of the damage, etc.
- Locate witnesses and obtain their contact information.
- Call emergency services. If you or anyone else is injured, call 911. File a police report.
- Contact an Ohio accident lawyer to better understand your rights.
If you are able to locate the at-fault driver, you may file a claim with his or her insurance company. It is important to note, however, that one in eight drivers in the State of Ohio drives uninsured. In the event the at-fault driver is uninsured, you can potentially file a civil lawsuit against him or her to recover for your injuries as well as any property damage.
If you’re unable to locate the at-fault driver, however, your insurance company may be able to help. Some optional coverages such as uninsured and/or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, or Medical Payments Coverage may reimburse you for damages incurred as a result of a hit-and-run. Be sure to inform your insurance company you are not at fault, though.
At Obral, Silk & Pal Personal Injury Lawyers, we have over 96 years of experience representing clients involved in automobile accidents including hit-and-runs. If you or someone you know has been involved in a hit-and-run, or an automobile collision of any nature, contact us today. Your consultation is FREE.
Injuries Changes lives… So do we.