Getting injured in a car accident is always a horrible experience, no matter the circumstances. However, certain situations tend to make some accidents feel particularly bad. One especially enraging and perplexing scenario is when you have been hit by another driver who proceeds to speed away from the scene.
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, you do not have an opportunity to exchange information with the other driver. Because of this, you might be worried that you have no chance of recovering the compensation you deserve. However, you still have legal options after being involved in a hit and run.
The experienced Cincinnati car accident attorneys of Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC have established a reputation of excellence because of our many years of successfully representing people injured in car accidents. Our lawyers will fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call us today at Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC or contact us online for a free case evaluation, and we will discuss your legal options.
What Is a Hit and Run Accident?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 11 percent of all car accidents involve a hit and run driver. A hit and run accident is an automobile collision in which one of the drivers flees the scene. This term is applicable whether the fleeing motorist hits another vehicle, a cyclist, a pedestrian, or private or public property. AAA data reveals that nearly 65 percent of hit and run deaths are pedestrians and cyclists.
Some of the most common causes of accidents that end up as hit and runs in Cincinnati include:
- Running stop lights or stop signs
- Reckless driving
- Failure to yield to oncoming vehicles or pedestrians
- Fatigued or drowsy driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Distracted driving, such as handling a cell phone or adjusting a GPS device
- Inexperienced drivers
Of course, many accidents attributable to the above factors do not ultimately become hit and run collisions. However, drivers sometimes flee the scene of an accident they have caused. Their flight may be due to a sudden sense of panic because they realize they are at fault. They might also feel the need to run away because they:
- Do not carry the proper insurance that is mandated by law
- Do not have a valid driver’s license
- Are driving while intoxicated
- Fear that they might be arrested due to an outstanding warrant in their name
Hit and Run Law in Ohio
Ohio law states that a driver is legally obligated to stop after an accident or collision on a public road or highway. Failure to do so is considered a first-degree hit and run or “hit-skip” misdemeanor. If the driver leaves the scene knowing that a person has been injured or killed in the accident, the charge escalates to a felony.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
If the driver who struck you flees the scene after the accident, you should still take steps to protect your rights. To start building the most robust possible case for compensation, you should:
- Attempt to note as many details as possible about the fleeing vehicle, including license plate number, make and model, color, and any other information you notice. This will be helpful as law enforcement officers track down the driver.
- Try to take photographs or videos of the accident scene. These images can help you demonstrate the extent of the damage to your vehicle as well as any injuries you have suffered.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible to maximize your chances of recovery. Be sure to follow any treatment instructions your medical professional provides you.
- Keep records of documents showing the expenses you incurred due to the accident. Additionally, gather your pay stubs so you can have evidence of wages you lost due to missed time at work during your recovery.
- Maintain a journal in which you can make notes about your recovery process and your mental and emotional well-being in the time following the accident.
- Consult with an experienced hit and run accident attorney as soon as you can so that you can make a plan for how to pursue financial recovery for your losses.
How to Recover Compensation After a Hit and Run
While you might feel understandably worried about your ability to secure compensation after a hit and run accident, there are still ways to recover what you are owed.
If the driver who left the accident scene is eventually identified, you can pursue a standard personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit if they have valid coverage. Alternatively, you can pursue legal action against the driver if they have other assets.
However, if the driver is ultimately not identified, or if they lack insurance or assets, you can file a claim with your own insurer if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. While this coverage is supplemental in Ohio, you might be entitled to compensation in a hit and run situation if you purchased this coverage. The experienced car accident attorneys at Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC can assist you with the insurance claims process to optimize your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
Whether you are dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own, remember that their primary goal will be to resolve your case for the lowest possible amount. For this reason, it is essential to have an excellent attorney who can work to ensure that you do not end up settling for an amount that is lower than your claim is worth.
Contact an Experienced Cincinnati Car Accident Attorney
You deserve justice if you have been injured in a hit and run accident. The experienced personal injury attorneys of Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you recover compensation for your losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and the pain and suffering you have experienced due to the crash.
Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to handle your car accident claim effectively and efficiently. Contact us online or call us at (513) 351-5997 today for a free case evaluation.