Ohio Hit-and-Run

A hit-and-run is a serious crime in Ohio that can result in severe penalties.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Hit-and-run is a serious crime in
. Leaving the scene of an accident can result in being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, and can come with fines of up to $10,000 and the possibility of imprisonment.
After a hit-and-run, it’s important to collect as much information about the circumstances surrounding the incident as possible and call the police to report the crime.
Every state has differences in its hit-and-run laws. It’s illegal nationwide, but consequences for the crime vary by state.
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What is a hit-and-run? 

A hit-and-run (often called a “hit skip” in Ohio) is when a driver fails to remain on the scene following a car accident. Even if you didn’t cause the accident, you must stay at the location. 
It doesn’t matter who is at fault—if you leave the scene, you are guilty of a hit-and-run. No matter how minor, always stay on the site of an accident that you are involved in. 

What happens if you commit a hit-and-run in Ohio?

Most importantly, don’t leave the scene. Leaving before you exchange information with the other driver and talk to any law enforcement officials that are present can have serious consequences.  

Is a hit-and-run a felony in Ohio? 

It can be. At minimum, a hit-and-run in Ohio is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. If the accident only involves property damage and/or minor injury, it’s likely to stay a misdemeanor. 
If the accident involves serious injury or death, that counts as a felony in the state of Ohio. Depending on the circumstances and severity, it’s considered either a third or fifth-degree felony and can carry serious penalties. 

What is the punishment for a hit-and-run in Ohio? 

 The punishment for a hit-and-run in Ohio varies greatly depending on the details of the incident:
  • If a hit-and-run only results in property damage or minor injuries, it’s a misdemeanor that is punishable with up to $1,000 in fines and/or 180 days in jail
  • If someone is seriously injured or killed, it becomes either a third or fifth-degree felony and can result in fines up to $10,000 and 36 months of imprisonment
A violation of Ohio’s hit-and-run laws will also result in a class five suspension of your license, which can be anywhere from six months to three years. 
Here’s what the penalties for a hit-and-run can look like in Ohio:
Result of accident
Possible punishment
Property damage or damage to unattended vehicle
Class 5 license suspension
First-degree misdemeanor
Fine of up to $1,000
180 days in jail
Property damage or damage to attended vehicle
Class 5 license suspension
First-degree misdemeanor
Fine of up to $1,000
180 days in jail
Injury to a person
Class 5 license suspension
First-degree misdemeanor
Fine of up to $1,000
180 days in jail
Serious injury to a person
Class 5 license suspension
Fifth-degree felony
Fine of up to $2,500
6-12 months in jail
Death of a person
Class 5 license suspension
Third-degree felony
Fine of up to $10,000
up to 36 months in jail
In addition, failure to stay at the scene of an accident can result in 6 points on your
driving record in Ohio
. If you receive 12 or more points within two years, your license will be suspended for 6 months.   

How to avoid a hit-and-run charge

According to Ohio Revised Code § 4549.02, you are immediately required to stop and stay on the scene if you are the driver of a vehicle involved in a collision on public roads. 
Be prepared to provide the officers on site and the other drivers with the following information:
  • Your name and address
  • Registered number of the vehicle
  • Owner information if you’re driving a car that doesn’t belong to you 
In addition, Ohio law also requires you to:
  • Remain on the scene until you have given your information to the other driver, any injured people, or the police officers involved
  • Secure a noticeable note containing your information on any unattended vehicles or property involved

What should I do if I experience a hit-and-run in Ohio? 

If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, stay calm, stay on the scene, and get as much information as is safely and reasonably possible. 

At the scene

Never attempt to follow the other vehicle or vehicles involved. Start by making sure that no bystanders or anyone in your car are injured. Next, move your car to a safe location if necessary and you are able to do so. 
Call 911 and report that you have been the victim of a hit-and-run. Request police assistance, along with emergency medical services if needed. 
Take a few minutes to remember and record as much detail as you can:
  • The events surrounding the crash
  • The other car’s description
  • The license plate number of any vehicles involved
  • The description of the driver or passengers of the other vehicle
  • The direction the car was headed at the time of the accident and the direction it left in
  • Any special identifying marks on the other car—damage, mods, stickers, etc.
If possible, talk to other witnesses and make notes of their recollections. Look around the site of the crash for any evidence that might be helpful, such as debris or tire marks. Take plenty of pictures of your vehicle and the area of the incident. 

After you leave the scene

Make sure that a police report is filed. Having an official report offers concrete evidence of what happened—and insurance companies frequently want or need report numbers to process claims. 
File any insurance claims promptly
If the identity of the other driver is discovered, that’s great! Their liability insurance should pay for the damages to your vehicle and cover some or all of your medical expenses. 
If the other driver is not found or has insufficient or no insurance, it gets trickier. But don’t despair—this is when carrying more than just liability insurance pays off.
Collision coverage
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
, and
medical payments (MedPay)
can all be useful in this case. 

What insurance covers a hit-and-run?

Insurance type
Will it cover a hit-and-run?
Collision coverage
May need to meet deductible first
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Check with your insurance company for details
Medical payments (MedPay) coverage
May only cover what health insurance doesn’t; may need to pay deductible
PIP (personal injury protection) is not available in Ohio. You can get
MedPay coverage
for personal injuries, which is similar.
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If you are found guilty of a hit-and-run, you can count on having your insurance premiums go up. If you are the victim, you likely won’t see any change to your insurance cost.
If you’ve committed a hit-and-run, it’s a serious offense. Consulting with a lawyer might be a good course of action.
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