What Are Oregon’s Hit And Run Penalties?

Hit and run accidents can be incredibly deadly events. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Oregon. Those who are involved in an accident and then leave the scene could face serious legal consequences if they are convicted of their crime. Any car accident can leave a person confused and scared, but it is never okay to leave the scene. Here, we want to discuss what the penalties are in Oregon for a hit and run conviction.

Defining a hit and run accident

In Oregon, drivers are legally required to stop at the scene of an accident they are involved in. They must wait for the police to arrive and conduct an investigation. If the police do not report to the scene, drivers still face reporting requirements under state law. It Oregon, drivers are required to report any car accident that results in:

  • vehicle damage over $2,500
  • any incident in which a vehicle is towed from the scene
  • any injuries or fatalities due to the accident
  • damages to anyone’s property (other than the vehicle) that are over $2,500

Even if you hit a parked car, you are still required to stop and try to find the owner. If you are unable to locate the owner, you are required to leave your information in a visible place so that the driver of the vehicle can see it.

Penalties for hit and run in Oregon

Effective January 1, 2019, state law clarifies that drivers who think they may have struck something while behind the wheel are required to investigate and report the incident. This changes the requirement to only report incidents with injuries or property damage.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation’s statement, “If you are involved in a traffic crash, especially a serious one with injuries or fatalities, the event is traumatic and sometimes tragic. It may be difficult at such times to remember the legal duties of a driver or vehicle owner involved in a crash – requirements intended for the safety of people involved in the crash, as well as other motorists and pedestrians.”

If you are convicted of hit and run, and there is property damage only, you could face a Class A Misdemeanor which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $6,250.

Failing to perform the duties required of a driver involved in a car accident in Portland can also result in felony charges. If you leave the scene of an accident you were involved in, and there were injuries, you could face Class C Felony charges. These are punishable by up to five years in state prison and fines of up to $125,000.

These incidents can be severe

During the latest reporting year in Oregon, there were 57,726 total accidents reported in the state. Out of these incidents, there were 41,893 injuries and 439 fatalities reported. While we do not have exact statistics on how many hit and run incidents occur each year in Oregon, we do know that one hit and run accident occurs approximately every minute on US roadways. These incidents frequently cause severe injuries, particularly for pedestrians and bicyclists who may be involved. It is not uncommon for the following injuries to result from a hit and run accident:

  • Traumatic brain injuries/head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries/paralysis
  • Internal organ damage/internal bleeding
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations or amputations

Each of these injuries can result in major medical expenses for victims, and it can be difficult to secure the compensation necessary if a driver flees the scene.