Portland Hit and Run Accident Attorney
You likely have been taught what to do in the event of a car accident – at a minimum, you pull over and exchange information with any other drivers involved. However, what happens when the other driver who caused the accident fails to stop? There are many reasons that may lead a driver to flee the scene of an accident, including not having required auto insurance, knowing they have a warrant out for their arrest, or trying to avoid a drunk driving charge, among others. No matter what the reason may be, drivers who hit and run leave accident victims wondering what to do.
When a driver leaves the scene of an accident without providing any information, you may feel helpless in the face of the bills for the medical treatment and auto repairs that you need. It is important to remember that you do have legal options and you should discuss your hit and run accident and injuries with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.
Insurance Claims After a Hit and Run
In many hit and run cases, you may be able to seek compensation from your own insurance company under your uninsured motorist policy. However, there are often special procedures for making a claim after a hit and run that differ from other types of uninsured motorist claims. To make sure you preserve your rights to receive proper insurance compensation, you should contact an hit and run injury attorney immediately so you follow the necessary process.
While everyone must have at least $25,000 of uninsured motorist coverage, many people choose to have more. You can receive up to your policy limit to compensate you for your accident-related losses. Unfortunately, insurance companies often try to avoid liability and make settlement offers that are too low. A car accident lawyer can determine how much your claim should truly be worth and can present arguments to your insurer to support a higher offer. Having an attorney throughout the insurance process after a hit and run is often critical to ensure you receive the full amount you deserve to cover your medical expenses, lost income, and similar financial losses.
When the Driver is Identified
Through some investigation, a driver in a hit and run accident may be identified. Witnesses may have seen the license plate or perhaps the crash was caught on video from a cell phone or surveillance camera. If the driver is identified, you have two main options for seeking compensation.
Filing an insurance claim – First, you may file a claim with the liable driver’s insurance company for the losses you incurred. It is important to have an attorney during this process for the same reasons an attorney can help with your own insurer as they can negotiate a favorable settlement. However, in many cases, drivers will leave the scene because they do not have insurance. In such situations, you will need to file an uninsured motorist claim with your own policy.
Filing a lawsuit – If a driver’s insurance will not offer a sufficient amount to cover your losses and you know the identity of the driver, you can file a legal claim against them for personal injury. These claims are heard in civil court and can provide compensation for more losses than an insurance claim may cover. For example, a lawsuit may provide compensation for the following:
- Past and future medical costs;
- Past and future lost income;
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering;
- Permanent disability;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Punitive damages.
You need a lawyer on your side who thoroughly understands the personal injury process. This case will be separate from any criminal charges the driver may face for leaving the scene of the accident, though a skilled lawyer will know how to use any criminal convictions to support your claims.
Free Consultation for Portland Hit & Run Accidents
Cases involving hit and run accidents can have unique legal issues that may not arise in regular car accident cases. At the Johnston Law Firm in Portland, Oregon, our hit and run accident lawyers understand how to handle these cases whether the driver has been identified or not. We will use all of our resources and legal tools to ensure you receive the financial settlement or award that you deserve. If you have been the victim of a hit and run crash, call our office for a free consultation today.