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Last updated: August 25, 2023

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run in Ohio

Failing to stop after an accident in Ohio is a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on whether there were injuries or deaths involved.

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From 2011 to 2021, there were 577 fatal hit-and-runs in Ohio, accounting for 5 percent of all deadly crashes in the state. A hit-and-run occurs when someone hits a car and, instead of stopping to exchange information with the other party or call the police, flees the scene.

In Ohio, it’s a crime to fail to stop after an accident or report an accident. If you break this law, you could face a driver’s license suspension, a fine, imprisonment, and restitution.

But on the other hand, if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run and can’t identify the driver, there are ways to recoup your losses — assuming you had the proper insurance coverages in place at the time of the collision.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident in Ohio

Let’s say someone hits your parked car and leaves the scene without leaving a note. In that case, immediately call the police so you can file a report. If you were able to get the offending driver’s license plate number, give it to the police officers. When you file a police report, you can later use it when you file an insurance claim, even if you didn’t get the other party’s contact information because they fled the scene.

Now let’s reverse the scenario. As a driver, if you hit someone else’s car, you have to remain at the scene to exchange the following information with the other party.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Vehicle registration number

You’re also required to call the police and remain at the scene until they’ve arrived or you’re removed from the scene by emergency personnel.

How to Recover Damages

If someone leaves the scene of an accident in which you were the victim, you may or may not be able to find out their identity.

If you learn the identity of the at-fault driver and they have insurance, you can get compensated through their liability coverage, a requirement in the state of Ohio. Making a third-party insurance claim with another driver’s insurance company means your rates won’t rise.

If they lack insurance, their limits aren’t high enough to cover your losses, or you can’t identify the driver, you can use your own uninsured motorist coverage, collision coverage, or medical payments coverage. But note that even if the hit-and-run wasn’t your fault, your rates could still rise following any of these first-party claims.

Due to the state’s comparative negligence laws, if you know the identity of the at-fault driver, you can sue them in a civil lawsuit so long as you’re 50 percent or less at fault in the accident. However, if you have any percentage of fault, your compensation will be reduced by that percentage.1

You may be able to get restitution based on your economic loss, which can include loss of income, medical bills, and funeral expenses. However, the state prohibits you from recovering intangible non-economic losses such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of society, education, training, instruction, etc.
  • Mental anguish
  • Punitive or exemplary damages


If you are sued as the at-fault party and cannot pay the judgment, the court could put a lien on your house or even garnish your wages so you can pay the victim restitution.

How Hit-and-Runs Affect Car Insurance

Ohio car insurance costs an average of 53 percent more after a hit-and-run than before. Given that the most recently available data shows that Ohioans paid an average of $781 for car insurance in 2020, they should expect to pay approximately $1,195 after a hit-and-run or any type of accident.2

Ohio Hit-and-Run Statistics

We analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to see just how common hit-and-runs are in Ohio.

As noted above, fatal hit-and-runs represented 5 percent of all fatal crashes in the state between 2011 and 2021, but this number has been on the rise since 2013. In 2021, the last year for which data is available, it was 7 percent, and the number of fatal hit-and-runs increased by 60 percent from 2019 to 2020 alone. Overall, Ohio saw a 133 percent increase in deadly hit-and-runs during that period.

Year Number of fatal hit-and-runs Number of fatal crashes total Percentage of all fatal crashes that involved hit-and-runs
2011 36 942 4%
2012 32 1,022 3%
2013 39 917 4%
2014 37 917 4%
2015 42 1,029 4%
2016 61 1,053 6%
2017 58 1,094 5%
2018 53 996 5%
2019 52 1,039 5%
2020 83 1,154 7%
2021 84 1,242 7%
Total 577 11,405 5%

The most common factor involved with fatal hit-and-runs, aside from their tendency to occur in dark lighting conditions, was alcohol impairment, otherwise known as driving under the influence (DUI). Forty-seven percent of the state’s fatal hit-and-runs in 2021 involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, meaning they were impaired. Twenty percent involved speeding, while none involved distracted or drowsy drivers.

Driver involvement Number of drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in Ohio in 2021 Percentage of total
Dark lighting conditions 91 70%
Alcohol impairment (BAC of 0.08% or higher) 61 47%
Speeding 26 20%
Younger driver (age 15-20) 9 7%
Older driver (age 65 and up) 5 4%
Drowsy driver 0 0%
Distracted driver 0 0%
Total 130 n/a

The plurality of drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs was between the ages of 35 to 44, provided the drivers’ ages were known.

Age group Number of drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in Ohio in 2021 Percentage of total known drivers
16-20 4 5%
21-24 11 14%
25-34 15 19%
35-44 26 33%
45-54 13 17%
55-64 7 9%
65-74 2 3%
Unknown 52 n/a
Total known 78 n/a
Total 130 n/a

In fatal hit-and-runs in which the sexes of the involved drivers were known, men made up 80 percent.

Sex Number of drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in Ohio in 2021 Percentage of total known drivers
Male 64 80%
Female 16 20%
Reported as unknown 50 N/A
Total known 80 N/A
Total 130 N/A


Ohio has laws that prevent men from paying more for car insurance on the basis of their sex, along with their marital status, religion, disability, and age. Even though men have higher accident rates, they can expect pricing similar to their female counterparts.

Hit-and-Run Laws in Ohio

Here are the laws and penalties surrounding hit-and-runs that you need to know about as an Ohioan driver.

Failure to Stop

On Ohio’s public roads, highways, and local roads, you must stop after an accident, exchange information with the other party, and stay until the police arrive at the scene. If the other party is injured and can’t exchange information, you can tell the police the relevant information.

If you don’t follow this law and flee the scene after hitting a car, you could be guilty of a misdemeanor or, worse, a felony.3 You’ll need to prove you can pay for the victim’s losses, as you’ll be responsible for up to $5,000 in economic losses.

Failure to stop charge First-degree misdemeanor Felony level 2 Felony level 3 Felony level 5
Consequence of hit-and-run No serious physical harm or death Death, but offender knew Death, but offender did not know Serious physical harm
Minimum time in prison Discretionary 18 months 1 year Discretionary
Maximum time in prison 180 days 3 years 2 years 2 years
Maximum fines $1,000 $15,000 $10,000 $2,500
Minimum suspension of driver’s license 6 months 6 months 6 months 6 months
Maximum suspension of driver’s license 3 years 3 years 3 years 3 years
Maximum restitution $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000

The most serious charge for failing to stop after a car crash is felony level 2, which means the driver knowingly caused death and left the scene. This conviction could result in up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000, among other penalties.4

Failure to Report

Drivers must report accidents within six months of their occurrence to the state’s registrar of motor vehicles. If they don’t, it’s a minor misdemeanor that could result in the following penalties:

  • Maximum fine of $150
  • Up to 30 hours of community service instead of or in addition to the fine
  • Restitution and reimbursements


A fight-or-flight response is human nature, so even though your first impulse may be to flee the scene if you hit someone’s car, by law, you’re required to remain there until the police arrive and exchange information with the other driver. The state’s financial responsibility law means that if you have the right insurance in place, your liability insurance should cover the other driver’s injuries and property damages, assuming your limits are high enough.

That’s why driving without insurance is so dangerous — you never know when you’re going to be involved in an accident, even with the most careful driving. Then you’ll pay an even bigger price.

Frequently Asked Questions

What evidence is needed to convict a hit-and-run in Ohio?

According to the Columbus-based law firm Campbell Law LLC, to convict a hit-and-run in Ohio, you’ll need evidence that a driver knowingly collided with a vehicle and caused property damage or injury.

How long does a hit-and-run stay on your record in Ohio?

A hit-and-run will stay on your driving record abstract for three years in Ohio, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

Should you chase a hit-and-run driver?

You should never chase a hit-and-run driver, as it is dangerous. Instead, remain at the scene and call the police.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run in Ohio?

Insurance will cover a hit-and-run in Ohio under either liability insurance for an at-fault driver or under collision, uninsured motorist, or medical payments coverage if you’re the victim.


  1. Comparative Negligence. Ohio Department of Insurance. (2023).

  2. 2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).

  3. Section 4549.02: Stopping after accident on public roads or highways. Ohio Laws & Administrative Rules. (2023).

  4. FELONY SENTENCING REFERENCE GUIDE. Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission. (2023, Mar).