One would imagine that most traffic accidents happen on a public road where there are loads of other cars and when it is extremely busy. However, it is possible to be in a car accident when you are driving in the countryside, through a private parking lot, or on a private road.
What Does Ohio Law Say About Car Accidents on Private Roads?
If you are in an accident on a public road, then you are required by law to remain on the scene until all relevant information has been exchanged or until police arrive. In Ohio, police are not required to attend to a traffic accident if someone has not been injured or has died as a result of the car crash. This is pretty normal and most people are taught this in driving school, as well.
If it happens that you are in a car accident while traveling on a road that is not a public road, there are certain steps that you must take. You are required by law to stop at the accident scene and also provide your details as you would have done if it had been a public road. Name, surname, license plate number, as well as insurance information, are all standard for drivers to exchange at an accident scene.
When you are in an accident with an unoccupied car, then you must attach your information in a place where the owner or driver will easily see it, but also where it will be relatively weather proof. Putting a note in the windshield wiper might not be the best idea if it is raining. Attaching it to the front wheel is also not the ideal place. Ensure that it is easy to find and that it is attached securely. It is advisable to take a photo of where you have placed it, just to cover your bases.
If you cannot find the owner of the vehicle or you do not have the relevant information with you, then you must forward it to the local police station within 24 hours. If you forward it to the police, just remember to include the date, time and place where the accident took place.
Always take photos and any other evidence, even if the accident is not on a public road. You will still need the same information for lawsuits and insurance claims as you would have needed for a public road. Take as many photos as possible, and write down what happened immediately. If your smart device allows it, you can take a voice recording of what happened. Also, note the condition of the road and if there were any road markings such as skid marks.
If you are in an accident that involves property other than a motor vehicle, such as a house or a fence, then you must also stop at the scene. The law requires you to do a reasonable search for the owner of the property. If you cannot find the owner after your reasonable search, then you must forward all your relevant information to the local police station.
Car Accidents in Ohio Parking Garages
Police are not required to attend to traffic accidents on private property, except when the person is intoxicated, it was a hit and run accident, or if someone involved was seriously injured. Parking structures are the big black holes of traffic accidents because they bring a number of problems. They usually have very poor lighting, the upkeep is kept to a minimal but safe standard, and there are rarely any witnesses to the accident.
If you are in a car accident in a parking garage, it is always a good idea to phone the police. Even if they do not come out to the scene, you can still make a statement. Follow the same steps as you would if it had happened on a public road. Take down and exchange all relevant information of the other driver and car. However, when you are in such a situation, it is always a good idea to take extra note of your surroundings. Check to see what the markings on the road look like as well as what traffic signs are there. Also, take photos of the surveillance cameras. You can ask the management to get access to footage if there is a need for it.
It is always better to be proactive in avoiding traffic accidents in a parking lot. Pay extra attention to pedestrians when driving through the parking lot. Pedestrians tend to have an extra sense of security in a parking lot and are not as vigilant as on a public road. When you are parking, find a spot where you do not need to back up but where you can pull directly into the traffic lane. If your car has rear parking assistant cameras or sensors, make use of them. Avoid shopping when you know the mall will be super busy, like after pay day or on a Saturday.
Do I Need to Call My Columbus Car Accident Attorney if I am in a Fender Bender?
Informing your attorney of your fender bender is a good idea; especially if the other parties involved were hostile. Your attorney will also be able to obtain the surveillance footage from the owner of the parking lot, as some companies reuse their digital storage. Take into account that in Ohio the statute of limitations for claims for property damage, as well as personal injury claims is two years, and you might not be able to get the footage at a later stage.
Inform your attorney of the accident if you were driving a car that is not yours. This can complicate the situation especially if the owner says that you did not have permission to drive or if the owner is under – or uninsured.
You will also need the assistance of a lawyer if the other party were at fault, but they drove off without exchanging information. Legal assistance from experienced car accident attorneys like the ones at Chester Law Group will ensure that the correct process is followed to obtain the other driver’s information as well as assist you with any claims against that person.