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Can I be sued for a hit and run months after my insurance paid for the damadges and then some..?

Eugene, OR |

I was charged with failure to perform duties of a driver in november. Yesterday I recieved a letter that from my understanding is saying that I am being sued for more money out of a personal injury. My insurance already paid for the damadges to the car. and in the court hearing there was said to be no substantial injuries to the victim. Am I going to have to pay these people more money?

Attorney Answers 8

  1. Not if you have bodily injury coverage on your policy. If you do, then your insurance company will defend you and handle the injury claim. I wouldn't worry about it, the insurance will take care of all of this for you.

  2. Report to your insurance carrier. The personal injury part of the case may not have been settled.

  3. Report to your insurance carrier. The personal injury part of the case may not have been settled.

  4. Currently Oregon law requires your auto insurance company to pay as much for the property damage promptly after the accident as they agree is due to the injured party. This is done without getting the other party to release their rights to request additional damages so additional damages remain a possibility. Until either the party signs a release for damages or the time to file a lawsuit expires, a civil lawsuit remains a possibility. The statute of limitation for a lawsuit for personal injury in Oregon is two years. It is six years for property damage.

    Since you had insurance coverage at the time of the accident your company will still need to cover you if there is a lawsuit, even if it is years after the accident. They will need to hire and pay an attorney to defend the lawsuit. You have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company. So just report to your insurance company if a lawsuit is initiated or threatened.

    The fact that the victim reported no injuries to the court during your criminal proceeding isn't conclusive. They may have started having symptoms after that date. However their statements might be used to show that the accident didn't cause the injuries they now complain of because they didn't have symptoms until much later. Hard to say as it will ultimately be up to medical doctors to testify as to the relationship of their present complaints and the accident.

    Talk to your insurance company.

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  5. Property damage and bodily injury claims are separate, so even though your insurance paid the property damage, you may still have liability for bodily injury. I'm not sure what the hearing was in which it was found there was not substantial injuries, but it is likely not binding in a civil suit. You should forward the suit to your insurance company immediately so it can hire a lawyer to defend you in a timely way.

    Good luck.

  6. It is possible that the injuries to the plaintiff were not fully known at the time of the criminal hearing. So yes, your insurance may have to pay for the personal injury claim. But your insurance company should provide an attorney to handle the case for you, so talk to your insurance.

  7. I agree generally with the other responses that you have received and comment separately to suggest that you consider retaining your own "personal" counsel; particularly if you happen to only have very modest liability coverage limits (pursuant to Oregon law the minimum amount is $25,000 per claim). If it should turn out that the person asserts a claim for an amount greater than the amount of your insurance coverage, you would be well-served to have personal counsel to assist you in avoiding or minimizing the extent of your own personal exposure to the claimant and/or to oversee your insurance company's efforts to settle the claim for an amount within your insurance coverage limits.