It’s football season, and as any sports fans can tell you, football is a “contact sport.” Contact is an essential component of the game. In the NFL, a runner who falls to the ground is only “down” if an opposing player makes contact with him. A defensive player can be penalized for making “illegal contact” with a receiver. And not many football tackles would be made without contact.
In the world of personal injury law, as in football, most highway accidents involve contact or collisions between two or more vehicles. But unlike football, contact between two vehicles is not required in the world of personal injury. There are many instances where one driver makes an erratic, unsafe maneuver and forces another person to swerve or take other evasive action to avoid the collision. When a person gets run off the road or must suddenly swerve in response to another motorist’s dangerous driving, that person can be seriously injured by crashing into something other than the vehicle that created the hazard – like another car, a tree or wall on the side of the road, or a steep ditch or ravine off the roadway.
We frequently get calls from clients asking what rights they have when they were injured due to someone else’s negligence, but didn’t actually make contact with the at-fault driver’s vehicle. In rare cases, the at-fault driver is still able to be identified, and a claim can be made against that person directly. We’ve handled claims, for example, where the at-fault driver ran our client off the road without making contact, but hit someone else as part of the same accident. In that case, the at-fault driver was named and cited in the police report, allowing us to recover directly from the responsible party.
Much more frequently, however, in non-contact accidents, the injured person is unable to identify the at-fault driver, because the at-fault driver doesn’t stop. This can be either because the at-fault driver doesn’t realize they ran someone off the road, or they simply drive away to avoid getting into trouble. In these cases, the injured party’s only source of recovery may be a claim filed with their own insurance for “uninsured motorist” benefits, assuming they have such coverage on their insurance policy.
Non-contact uninsured motorist cases are very difficult to prove. Both Ohio law and the language of the insurance policy will require some additional evidence, beyond just the testimony of the injured party, to show that the injury was the result of negligence of the unidentified motorist. Statements from other witnesses to the accident, recordings of 911 calls, and statements included in the injured person’s medical records are just a few examples of the type of evidence that may be used to prove someone was injured in a non-contact accident.
If you are injured in a non-contact accident, you need an aggressive, knowledgeable attorney who can properly investigate the matter and pursue all possible sources of recovery. The attorneys at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima have successfully obtained money damages for many clients in non-contact accident cases. Other attorneys often refer clients to us after the insurance companies initially deny responsibility. When it comes to getting results for our clients, we leave no stone unturned. We work tirelessly to find every shred of evidence to support your claim and secure every available dollar for your injury.