Oregon Hit-and-Run Laws

Getting into a car accident can be devastating, and this is particularly true for those who are injured in a hit-and-run accident. In Oregon, leaving the scene of an accident, commonly referred to as a hit-and-run crash, can be a serious criminal offense. Anybody who leaves the scene of a crash could face the loss of their driver’s license, jail time, and significant fines. Here, we want to discuss the hit-and-run laws in Oregon as well as whether or not you will be able to recover compensation after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.

What Oregon’s law says about hit-and-run accidents

If a person leaves the scene of an accident that resulted in only property damage, they could face a Class A misdemeanor charge that is punishable by up to one year in jail with fines of up to $6,250 (Or. Rev. Stat. §811.700).

If a person leaves the scene of an accident and there were injuries as a result of that accident, they will face a much harsher penalty. In these cases, the perpetrator of the hit-and-run could face a Class C felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $125,000 (Or. Rev. Stat. §811.705).

Receiving compensation after a hit-and-run crash

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a hit-and-run driver, recovering compensation can be difficult. First, much of the case will revolve around whether or not the hit-and-run driver is apprehended by law enforcement officials. If they are, and the driver has insurance, then a claim will need to be made against their insurance policy.

However, in the event a hit-and-run driver is not apprehended, or if they do not have insurance, the victim may need to turn to their personal insurance carrier for coverage. In these cases, uninsured motorist coverage is incredibly beneficial. In Oregon, state law requires every driver to carry at least this minimum coverage to remain legal on the roadway:

  • Bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage: $20,000 per accident
  • Personal injury protection: $15,000 per person
  • Uninsured motorist coverage bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident

Looking at these policy minimums, every driver should have at least some sort of uninsured motorist coverage in the event a hit-and-run accident occurs. If the hit-and-run driver does not have insurance and your expenses go above your minimum insurance policy limits for uninsured motorist coverage, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, if a driver does not have auto insurance, it may be the case that they are unable to afford any judgments against them, even if you are successful with your case.

What if you are involved in a hit-and-run?

If you are struck by a hit-and-run driver, there are a few basic steps you can follow:

  • Do not try to chase down a driver who flees the scene.
  • Call 911 and ensure police are on the way.
  • Seek medical assistance for any injuries immediately.
  • Take photographs of the entire accident scene (damages, causes of the crash, etc.).
  • Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
  • Report the incident to your insurance carrier.
  • Contact a skilled Portland hit-and-run accident lawyer.