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Deadly hit-and-run accidents may be at an all-time high

According to a report issued by the American Automobile Association, or AAA, deaths from hit-and-run accidents are at an all-time high. The last statistics available indicated that in 2016, 2,049 people across the country died in hit-and-runs.

This marks a disturbing 60 percent increase from just 7 years ago, in 2009. The number of deaths attributable to hit-and-runs has been increasing over 7 percent annually. Unfortunately for those in the Portland area who enjoy bicycling, bicyclists and pedestrians made up 65 percent of all hit-and-run fatalities.

Averaging out the years, about 682,000 hit-and-run accidents happen annually, which comes out to about one hit-and-run accident happening each minute. This is a rather surprising statistic given that every state in the country, including Oregon, imposes significant criminal penalties on drivers who, for example, hit a pedestrian or bicyclist and then leave the scene. This is true even when the driver who flees the scene was not at fault in the underlying accident.

While one hopes that this trend will eventually be reversed with stepped up enforcement and other action, bicyclists and pedestrians in the Portland area are simply going to have to recognize that they could find themselves in a situation in which they do not know, and will not be able to find out, who caused their injuries in a bike accident or pedestrian accident.

Although not being able to identify the responsible driver makes recovering compensation more challenging, it can still be done. For example, other parties may be responsible for the bicycle accident and can also be held liable for the bicyclist's injuries. Moreover, depending on the insurance coverage the injured bicyclist has available, he or she may be able to recover compensation from his or her own insurance company.

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