There is absolutely no excuse for leaving the scene of an accident. Drivers who hit and run are breaking the law. Not only are they attempting to avoid the financial consequences of their actions, but they are putting anyone who was injured at even greater risk by failing to stop and get emergency help.
Hit and run drivers, once caught, will be charged with a crime. A Columbus hit and run accident lawyer can help you take further legal action against the driver in civil court. They may be ordered to compensate you for your damages and suffering. Reach out to Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 598-7557 to talk to a member of our team about your case.
Hit and Run Accidents Happen More Often than You May Think
Hit and run accidents are happening more and more frequently. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, in 2016, the occurrence of hit and runs, or hit/skip accidents, reached the highest level since the government started tracking this statistic in the 1970s. Currently, a hit and run crash happens about once every minute in the United States.
What do hit and run accidents have in common, and what motivates someone to leave the scene? AAA identified several characteristics common in hit and runs:
- Witnesses – Drivers are less likely to flee the scene on roads with heavy traffic, better lighting, and potential witnesses. They are more likely to leave when visibility is low, and they are less likely to be seen.
- Time of day – The majority of hit/skip accidents happen at night. One study found drivers are more than four times as likely to leave the scene between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. as they are between 8 a.m. and noon.
- Location – Fatal hit and run crashes happen more often in densely populated states. They also occur more often on lower speed roads. They also happen more frequently in curves and bends in the road, and on overpasses and ramps. This could be because these are places where pedestrians are crossing or may be less visible.
- Prior offenses – Many hit and run drivers are found to have previous convictions for driving under the influence or prior driver’s license suspensions.
Some drivers may flee the scene because they are mentally unable to process what has just happened. They may try to convince themselves they hit a deer or other animal because they are unable to cope with the idea they may have hurt or killed another person.
For a free legal consultation with a hit and run accidents lawyer serving Columbus, call 800-959-1444
Ohio Hit and Run Accident Laws
Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §4549.02 requires drivers to stop at the scene of an accident and outlines the penalties if they fail to do so. If a driver flees the scene of an accident involving property damages—but no injuries—they can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by fines and up to 180 days in jail.
If the accident involved injuries or fatalities, the driver will face felony charges. The charges will be more severe depending on whether or not the driver knew someone was hurt when they left the scene.
All hit and run offenses will result in the suspension of the perpetrator’s driver’s license. The driver must also provide the court with proof of insurance. If they are not insured, the court could order them to pay their victims restitution up to $5,000.
Columbus Hit And Run Accident Lawyer Near Me 800-959-1444
Hit and Run Accident Lawsuits
A Columbus hit and run accident lawyer can help you pursue additional damages in civil court. If you were severely injured, one of your largest out-of-pocket expenses is likely for your medical care. Bills for treatment can quickly add up, especially if you need surgeries, physical rehabilitation, or have extended hospital stays. You can recover these and other expenses, including your lost wages.
An attorney can help you calculate awards for your pain and suffering. These awards offer a measure of justice by taking into account the ways your accident has negatively affected your life. Because of your injuries, you may not be able to participate in hobbies and activities that used to bring you joy, or you may endure chronic pain, depression, or sleep disorders.
After Your Accident
You need to report your accident to law enforcement if you have not already done so. You should also seek medical attention, as this could help you substantiate any losses if you choose to seek compensation. You can then seek legal assistance if you choose.
Keep in mind you will be bound by the statutes of limitations. You will need to take action against the driver who caused your hit/skip accident within two years to recover damages for personal injury or wrongful death.
Receive a Free Consultation from Ben Crump Law, PLLC
The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC wants to help you seek justice. The last thing we want is to add to your costs, so our Columbus hit and run accident lawyers can take your case on contingency.
We have a history of successful car accident settlements. We will fight hard for awards for you, and we will not get paid unless you win compensation. If you would like to learn more about hit and run accident lawsuits, contact the offices of Ben Crump Law, PLLC by calling (800) 598-7557.