Ohio law clearly states that when a driver gets into an auto accident, they must remain at the scene. This is especially important when a driver strikes a pedestrian because their life could be hanging in the balance.
Any car accident has the potential to leave somebody involved seriously injured. But pedestrians are especially vulnerable to the force of impact from a multi-ton car, truck or SUV. A pedestrian lying on the road after getting hit by a motorist may not be able to get themselves out of traffic, let alone call themselves an ambulance.
The driver’s legal responsibilities
Therefore, Ohio law requires drivers involved in pedestrian accidents to remain at the scene until police or emergency medical services arrive or exchange information with the other party if the party is conscious and able to comprehend. This is a criminal statute. A driver who commits a hit and run on a pedestrian could be arrested and charged with at least a first-degree misdemeanor. If the victim was seriously hurt when the driver fled, the driver could face a felony of up to the second degree.
Why does this matter?
Abandoning a pedestrian who is seriously hurt can have terrible consequences. If they get immediate medical attention, their injuries might be contained and heal more quickly. But if the driver fails to stay at the scene and call 911, there might be nobody else to make the call. The victim could be unconscious, disoriented, or in too much pain to use their phone. It could be several minutes until someone else happens upon them and calls for an ambulance. In those minutes, the victim could lose their life.
A negligent driver’s choices can have serious consequences. Later, the driver’s victim (or their next of kin) can choose to take action in civil court.