You may feel unsure about exactly what to do after a car accident in Ohio. Some drivers may not want to contact the police after an accident. However, it’s critical to understand what happens if you don’t call the police after an accident in Ohio, as it can affect your ability to collect compensation for your damages.
In situations involving minor accidents, you can leave without contacting the police – though you may still want to file an accident report as evidence for your insurance claim. However, you could face legal repercussions for driving away in more severe cases. An attorney can explain more about the possible results of leaving an accident without contacting the police.
Do You Have to Call the Police After a Minor Car Accident?
Ohio’s state laws say that you do not have to contact the police after every accident. In fact, for minor collisions, you have the legal right to leave after you stop, speak with the other driver, and exchange contact information.
However, Ohio Revised Code Section 4509.74 prohibits drivers from leaving the scene of an accident in cases involving a specific level of damage.
How Ohio Defines Minor vs. Major Car Accidents
Generally, a minor car accident in Ohio does not:
- Cause more than $1,000 in damages
- Result in an injury
- Cause a fatality
Damage from car accidents can quickly become very expensive. For example, even a fender bender could end up causing several thousands of dollars in damage.
If you feel unsure about the amount of damages suffered in your Ohio collision, a car accident lawyer would advise you to contact the police. It’s better to be safe regarding the law than to potentially risk repercussions.
Local Laws for Contacting the Police in Ohio Can Vary
Thus far, we’ve discussed the state laws regarding contacting the police after a motor vehicle accident in Ohio. Beyond this, different counties and cities have regulations about the proper actions to take after a collision.
It’s a good idea to get familiar with the laws in your local area. Some portions of the state require you to contact the police even if the state government would consider your accident “minor.”
You can speak with a car accident attorney in Ohio to review the legal regulations governing your area of the state.
Always Stop After a Motor Vehicle Collision
You do not always have to contact the police after a car accident in Ohio, but you do need to stop your vehicle. You can face hit-and-run charges if you leave the scene of a collision without stopping to give the other driver your contact information. Contact information in this situation includes your name, telephone number, and insurance information.
Prematurely leaving a collision scene is also known as a “hit skip” or “failure to stop.” Ohio treats a hit skip as a misdemeanor, which can lead to:
- Six months of jail time
- Fines of up to $500
- A license suspension of up to six months
Drivers face even harsher charges if they leave the scene of an accident that caused an injury. In this situation, drivers often end up facing felony charges. However, you should not face hit skip charges if you at least stop, verify that the other driver is okay, and exchange information.
Reasons to Contact the Police After an Accident
There are good reasons to contact law enforcement even if you believe you were only involved in a minor accident.
Police officers come out to the collision scene after you contact them. They assess what happened and then complete an official report. This report includes critical details, such as:
- Who was present at the scene
- Any damage to vehicles and other property that occurred
- Any injuries the involved parties suffered
- Their impressions of what caused or contributed to the accident
- Statements from the involved parties and witnesses
In many cases, car accident lawyers use a police report when building a compensation claim after a collision. Note that, in general, you have two years to file a lawsuit after your crash per Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10.
Police Reports and Your Insurance Company
Most drivers report accidents to their insurance companies. However, insurance agents generally want outside verification of a collision.
A police report provides you with official proof that your accident took place. Therefore, if you do not call the police to the scene after an accident, you should consider filing a report with your local law enforcement agency soon after.
We Will Be
There To Help
You All The Way
Find Out More About What to Do After an Ohio Car Accident
If you don’t call the police after an accident in Ohio, nothing happens at all in many cases, though you won’t get an official record of the collision unless you file a report yourself. If you are unsure of whether an accident report is necessary in your case, you can reach out to our team for guidance.
Learn more about your options by contacting The Fitch Law Firm LLC at (614) 545-3930.
The Next Call You Make
After Calling 911
Should Be Us.