March 14, 2024

Recovering Damages after a Hit and Run

Hit and Run in Hillsboro? Here's How to Recover Your Losses

Imagine this: You're driving home on Cornelius Pass Road, minding your own business, when suddenly there's a sickening crunch. You're hit – and the other driver speeds off into the night. It's a nightmare scenario, and unfortunately, one that happens all too often in our community.

The shock, the sense of violation, the worry about how you'll pay for the damage and medical bills... it's overwhelming. We are Johnson Law, a local law firm well-versed in car accidents, and we want you to know there are things you can do, even in a hit-and-run.

Here's a quick checklist for those crucial first moments after the accident:

  • Your safety is EVERYTHING: Before anything else, make sure you're safe, and get medical attention if needed. Don't worry about your car right now, your health comes first.
  • Call 911: Or the non-emergency line if there are no injuries. Even without the other driver present, a police report is vital. Explain it was a hit-and-run, and try to provide any details you remember about the car.
  • Document the scene: If possible, take photos of the damage, the road conditions, and anything else that seems relevant. Look around for dropped car parts that might help identify the other vehicle.

The rest of this post will break down what happens next, but I want you to know, right here and now, that there IS a path forward, even if it all feels incredibly unfair right now.

What to Do IMMEDIATELY After the Accident

We already covered the top priorities: safety, calling 911, and a quick scan for evidence. Here's where we go deeper:

  • Witness search: Busy roads like Tualatin Valley Highway or Evergreen Parkway often have witnesses. Did anyone in nearby cars see the accident? Pedestrians? Businesses might have security cameras. Ask around and be sure to get contact information.
  • Note down EVERYTHING: Memory fades fast when you're stressed. Car color, make/model (even if you're unsure), how many people were in the car, the direction they fled... any little detail might help the police track down the driver.
  • Don't move your car unless essential: If your car is blocking traffic, obviously, safety first. But if it's drivable and safely on the side of the road, leave it for the police to document the scene.
  • Resist the urge to chase: This is incredibly dangerous, and you could put yourself and others at risk. It's the police's job to find the driver, not yours.

IMPORTANT: Sometimes the shock of the accident makes it hard to think straight. If a kind bystander offers to help with photos and witness statements, absolutely accept! You'll be glad you have that documentation later.

The Importance of Finding the Driver

Obviously, we all want the person who caused this mess to be held accountable. But beyond that, there are very practical reasons why finding the driver is so important:

  • Direct insurance route: If the driver's caught, their insurance (assuming they have it) should cover your damages. This is generally the most straightforward way to get the compensation you need.
  • Clearer legal case: A hit-and-run driver intentionally broke the law. This strengthens your case if you need to go to court to get what you deserve.
  • Preventing them from hurting others: Holding reckless drivers responsible helps keep our entire Hillsboro community safer.

But what if they're never found?

It's a harsh reality that many hit-and-run drivers get away. That doesn't mean you're out of options. This is where your own insurance coverage becomes incredibly important, which we'll discuss in the next section.

Your Insurance Options

This part can get a little confusing, so let's break it down in plain English:

  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM): If you have Oregon insurance you have UM coverage, this is your lifeline in a hit-and-run. It acts as a stand-in for the other driver's insurance, potentially covering your medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering. It's frustrating to pay for coverage to protect yourself from irresponsible drivers, but you'll be so grateful to have it in this situation.
  • Collision Coverage (optional): If you have collision coverage, it'll pay for repairs to your vehicle after a hit-and-run, minus your deductible. Remember, collision coverage doesn't cover medical bills or other expenses like UM does.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This is what's required in Oregon instead of MedPay. PIP offers broader coverage, including medical expenses, lost wages, and replacement of essential services if you're unable to perform them due to your injuries. Check your policy to see your PIP coverage limits. You should have a minimum of $15,000 which can quickly be used up.

A Note on Insurance Companies: They're businesses focused on their bottom line. Don't assume they're automatically on your side, even when you're paying them for coverage. This is where an attorney can be invaluable, making sure the insurance claim process is fair, and fighting for the full compensation you're entitled to.

Talk To A Hit-And-Run Lawyer

No one deserves the sense of helplessness and frustration a hit-and-run brings. If this has happened to you in the Hillsboro area, please know you're not alone in this. There ARE steps you can take to protect yourself and get the compensation you need to move forward.

Whether the other driver is found or not, it's important to understand your rights and options. Don't hesitate to reach out to my office for a free consultation. We'll work together to map out the best plan for YOUR specific situation.

You can call us or tell us about your situation via our webform below. Let's fight to get you the justice and support you deserve.

FAQ: Hit-and-Run Accidents in Oregon

  • Q: What if the police don't find the other driver?
  • A: Unfortunately, many hit-and-run drivers are never caught. This is why it's so important to understand your own insurance coverage, especially Uninsured Motorist coverage and PIP. A lawyer can help you navigate your options and make the most of your claim.
  • Q: Do I have to pay a deductible if the other driver isn't found?
  • A: It depends. If you're using your Collision coverage for vehicle repairs, then yes, you'll likely pay a deductible. However, Uninsured Motorist and PIP claims sometimes waive deductibles in hit-and-run cases.
  • Q: Can I still file a claim if the accident happened a few days ago?
  • A: Yes, but don't delay! Insurance policies have reporting deadlines, and the sooner you act, the better your chances of preserving evidence and getting the support you need
  • Q: I only have the minimum insurance required by Oregon law. Is that enough?
  • A: It might not be, especially in a serious hit-and-run. This is why it's so important to talk to an attorney to fully understand what your policy covers and if you might have other options.
  • Q: How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for a hit-and-run case?
  • A: Many personal injury attorneys, including the attorneys of Johnson Law, work on a contingency basis. That means you don't pay anything upfront, we only get paid if we successfully recover compensation for you. However, Johnson Law only takes their contigency fee AFTER MEDICAL BILLS. This is an important distinction and puts more money in your pocket.

Our mission is to provide compassionate advocacy, and we're proud to represent our community.

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Your Questions Answered

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(971) 205-3266
1323 NE Orenco Station Pkwy
Suite #210
Hillsboro, OR 97124


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