Hit and Run Lawyers in Cleveland Ready to Help
When it comes to operating a motor vehicle, a driver is expected to abide by the rules of the road for the safety of everyone involved. When an accident occurs leading to a collision, either with another car or a pedestrian, there is an obvious failure in safety. Leaving the scene of an accident without taking certain actions is against the law. If you have been involved in this type of incident, you are likely to have questions about the legal options and ramifications. When you need help navigating this difficult event, hit and run lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio are ready to spring into action on your behalf.
What is Considered a Hit and Run Accident?
The first thing to know is what qualifies as a hit and run accident. There are essentially two events wherein an accident is considered a hit and run. The first example is when one driver hits another driver with their car and then flees the scene of the accident. The second example is when a driver hits a pedestrian with their car and then flees. It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident in hopes of avoiding responsibility. In fact, Ohio classifies hit-and-run crimes in varying degrees based on the severity of the injuries of the victim. The hit-and-run charges may range from a first-degree misdemeanor up to a second-degree felony.
Why Do People Leave the Scene of the Accident?
There are many reasons why someone may make the rash (and illegal) decision to flee the scene. For starters, some people panic in the moment which makes them run. For other people, they may make a quick decision to run based on the potential consequences they may face due to something else about their personal situation, such as not being insured, driving without a license, or having a warrant out for their arrest. Another common reason a driver might leave the scene is that they are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Whatever the reason may be, it is still against the law to flee the scene without taking responsibility.
What Should I Do as a Hit and Run Crime Victim?
A hit-and-run accident can be disorienting, but it is important to remain as calm as possible in order to remember as much as possible. For example, there is certain information you should try to remember the following since it will make identifying the car and driver easier:
- Car make and model
- License plate number
- Physical description of driver
It is important to remember as much as you can following an accident. Even if you are unable to remember the entire license plate number, having part of it may still be enough to allow police to find the driver. In addition to remembering as many details as possible, you should also take as many steps as possible to protect yourself legally following a hit-and-run accident. The first step is to call the police to inform them of the situation. An officer will be sent to the scene of the crime, and you will be able to give a statement and any relevant details to the police. This is also a good time to take down the contact information and statements of anyone who witnessed the hit-and-run accident. You should also immediately notify your insurance company of the accident.
What Am I Legally Required to Do in an Accident?
If you are involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault, you are legally required to perform certain responsibilities. For example, you are expected to come to a complete and full stop near the crash site. The next legal requirement as a driver involved in an accident is to check for injuries and call 9-1-1 immediately following the collision. Finally, you are legally expected to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver or pedestrian involved in the accident. You are also expected to cooperate with the police when they arrive on the scene. A failure to perform these actions because you fled the scene of an accident could result in a first-degree misdemeanor charge and driver’s license suspension. If you followed these steps and now face an accusation of leaving the scene of an accident, an experienced hit and run defense lawyer may be able to help.
How Can a Hit and Run Lawyer Help Me?
In this type of accident, seeking legal advice early on could make a difference in the outcome. If you were the victim of the accident and the other party fled the scene, speaking with a lawyer may help you seek justice for your suffering if the driver can be identified. If you are the person accused of leaving the scene of an accident, working with a lawyer may help you avoid hefty fines and months of jail time as the result of a hit-and-run charge. A criminal defense attorney may be able to argue on your behalf in order to avoid felony charges, driver’s license suspension, and other unpleasant consequences for leaving the scene. If you are facing felony charges, a lawyer may be able to ask for leniency in the form of a first-degree misdemeanor instead. A lawyer will be able to explain your legal options while offering guidance and counsel on what to expect. Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious matter, and hiring legal counsel to represent you is always a smart move in the right direction.
Seek Legal Help Now
There is no denying the fact that any type of car accident is a stressful event. In the case of an accident where the other party leaves the scene without following the legally required responsibilities, the matter becomes instantly more stressful and confusing. The good news is that help is available when you need it most. Contact our law offices at 216-208-7858 today for a free consultation. Whether you are the victim or the driver facing hit-and-run charges, we are here to represent your best interests on the legal front.