More than 700,000 hit-and-run crashes occur in the United States every year according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Hit-and-Run crashes—when a driver does not stop after causing a collision—can make recovery significantly more difficult for a victim. Importantly, there are steps that must be taken promptly after a hit-and-run crash to protect your rights to recovery.

What is a hit-and-run accident?

Oregon state law requires drivers to take specific actions when they have struck an object, person, animal, or vehicle:

  • Stop and investigate
  • Assist any injured people
  • Remain at the scene
  • Exchange information with other motorists or the police
  • Contact the owner of any domestic animal involved and attend to the animal’s injuries

Failing to comply with these requirements is a crime.

What steps can you take to receive compensation?

Whenever possible, try to gather as much as much information as you can regarding the hit-and-run vehicle. This can include:

  • License plate number
  • Make, model and color of the vehicle
  • Any visible damage or other identifying features of the vehicle
  • Approximate age, weight, race, hair color, height, etc. of the driver and any passengers

Additionally, if you can photograph the vehicle, driver or passengers, or if someone provides eyewitness information, give it to the police.

If you are not able to receive compensation directly from a hit-and-run driver, your uninsured motorist coverage and your health insurance may help cover the damages you suffer. Special time limits apply. A hit-and-run crash must be reported within 72 hours to police or the department of transportation. You must also notify your insurance carrier within 30-days of the hit-and-run crash.

Even if it’s a small case, talk with a personal injury lawyer so you can ensure your claim is preserved. If you have been in a hit-and-run crash, the attorneys at Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton are here to help.