What happens when the other party in an accident left the scene afterward? You’re driving down an Ohio highway or just sitting in your parked car when another driver hits you. Instead of stopping, the driver turns around and flees the accident scene. This terrible situation is the lot of many innocent drivers. Unfortunately, unlike other American states, Ohio has an unusually high rate of hit-and-run accidents.
A hit-and-run complicates issues for both the fleeing driver and the victim. There’s no reason why a driver should have left the scene. The driver has disobeyed the law, while the victim may not get compensation for their injuries. As the victim of a hit-and-run accident, it would be best to immediately hire an Ohio car accident lawyer to help you find the driver and recover compensation.
What Does Ohio Law Say About Drivers Fleeing a Crash Scene?
Ohio law frowns greatly on runaway drivers. Ohio’s Vehicle Code 4549 provides that drivers who have accidents should do these three things:
- Stop and remain at the scene of the accident.
- Submit their name, address, and the vehicle’s registered number to the other people affected by the accident and the police officer at the accident scene.
- Seek medical help for any persons injured in the accident.
If the car was parked or unattended, the driver must paste the required information on a conspicuous place in or on the unoccupied or unattended motor vehicle. Finally, if the accident wasn’t on a public road, the driver must call the local police department and submit the same information. If they left the scene after they knew the accident took place, it raises a lot of red flags.
The law further provides that failure to stop at the accident scene could be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. If convicted, the court may impose penalties including imprisonment, driver’s license suspension, and fines. Certainly, fleeing an accident scene is a terrible idea.
What Should You Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
We know that the first thing on the mind of every hit-and-run victim is to pursue the driver. However, this is a hazardous move. It would be best if you don’t chase the driver because you’ll be putting your life and that of other motorists at risk.
- Call Emergency Services
After a hit-and-run, remain at the accident scene and call the police and other emergency services. Other emergency services may include medical or towing van services. A police report will enormously help your case, especially with your insurer. Also, the sooner you inform the police, the higher their chances of apprehending the driver. Finally, the accident victims may also require urgent medical attention, and your call can save them.
- Gather Evidence at the Scene
It would also help if you got all the information you can from the accident scene. This will include eye witness contacts and testimony, any video surveillance, details of the runaway driver such as their plate number, etc. These pieces of information can help the police or your lawyer track down the erring driver.
- Report to Your Insurance Company
If you survive a hit-and-run accident, you will need to inform your insurer and on time. The earlier you tell them, the faster they can start processing a settlement. Furthermore, they can investigate the crash if they wish to. It would help to note that insurance companies are wary of accidents where the fault-party is missing. Therefore, early notice is in your best interests.
Can I Still Receive Compensation if I Don’t Catch the Fleeing Driver?
Not all hit-and-run drivers are found. However, if you don’t locate your assailant, you can still recover compensation. Your insurance coverage might cover hit-and-run cases. There are at least three insurance options that can apply, including:
- Medical Payments Coverage: MedPay can cover you and your passengers’ medical bills despite the issue of fault.
- Collision Coverage: If you have a collision coverage policy, you can recover compensation for damages to your vehicle no matter who’s at fault.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP insurance can cover you irrespective of fault.
You will need to check your policy details to know if you have these optional policies. Finally, if you ever find a runaway driver, you may recover your money from their insurance company.
Ohio Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You!
Hit-and-run drivers escape because of the damage they cause you. You deserve compensation for these losses. Therefore, it would be best to hire an Ohio car accident lawyer. As skilled attorneys, we can help you track down the fleeing driver and get compensation from them.
If we can’t find the driver, we can ensure that your insurance company compensates you if your policy covers hit-and-runs. Hit-and-runs can be more frustrating than normal accidents, and it wouldn’t be wise to go through it alone. So, you can call us today to represent you through the process.