Any type of car accident can be stressful, especially when they cause significant injuries. When the driver who caused the crash flees the scene, the victims face even more challenging situations.
A hit-and-run accident is a terrible and callous act, and in some cases, it is one in which the driver will never face the consequences. However, victims need to understand that they still have options for recovering compensation, even when the driver caused harm and then left the scene.
Why Would a Driver Flee?
Studies indicate that drivers are more likely to flee the scene of a wreck when they’re facing a warrant, driving while drunk, or have a suspended license. For these motorists, the consequences of being caught behind the wheel cause them to panic and flee.
Police will often try to pursue these drivers, especially in severe hit-and-runs that result in injuries. The perpetrators of hit-and-run accidents only increase the criminal and civil penalties for their actions by making the choice to leave the scene.
How Can I Recover After a Hit-and-Run?
Sometimes, the police can identify and arrest the person who caused the accident. There are many ways that law enforcement officers can find a driver who flees the scene, whether it is made possible by witness statements, anonymous tips, surveillance cameras in the area of the accident, or reports from repair shops.
Even if the driver does manage to elude the police, you may not be entirely out of luck. Most insurance companies in Oregon offer uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. If you paid for this coverage, your insurance company will treat the driver who left the scene as if he or she was a motorist who did not have insurance. Your policy would therefore provide compensation for your damages and injuries.
How Common Are Hit-and-Run Crashes?
Statistics indicate that hit-and-run crashes are not uncommon. They are increasing each year in the United States. Many of these crashes are relatively minor and may involve damage to a vehicle, but no personal injuries. Other times, the effects can be devastating and tragic. Many of the worst hit-and-run crashes are those that involve pedestrians.
What Compensation Can I Collect?
If you sustained injuries in a hit-and-run crash, you might be able to collect several types of damages. The compensation might account for:
- Lost income
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Mental anguish
Oregon also allows victims to recover punitive damages from defendants whose conduct is particularly egregious. An attorney can help you to know whether such damages may apply in your case.
Hiring a Lawyer
Personal injury claims involving hit-and-run drivers can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. If a driver struck you and fled the scene, contact the Harlan Law Firm to discuss your options for filing a claim.