Denver, CO, Hit-and-Run Accidents Lawyers Assisting Those Who Have Been Injured by Irresponsible Drivers
Any motor vehicle accident can be a scary, anxiety-producing situation. It becomes even worse if the other party disappears without taking responsibility for their actions, leaving you to pick up the pieces on your own, possibly endangering your health by not helping you after you’ve been severely hurt. Under Colorado law, any car accident which causes damage or injury must be reported to the police. This applies whether the driver hit another vehicle, an object such as a mailbox or street sign, a person, or, in some places, an animal. Furthermore, it is a driver’s legal responsibility to stop and render aid to any victims if they are able and exchange contact and insurance information with the other individuals involved.
If someone neglects to do these things, even if they weren’t the at-fault driver, it is considered a hit-and-run accident. The only exceptions to the rules are if they had to leave the accident scene because they were seriously injured and needed medical care, in which case another passenger of the vehicle should report the incident or if they had to go to a location to call emergency services. However, once they make their call, they are supposed to return to where the accident occurred.
Why Do Hit-and-Run Accidents Occur?
Almost everyone knows they should stay at the scene of an accident and try to help any victims if they can, so why would a driver choose to leave? In some cases, it’s a gut reaction born out of fear or panic, and the hit-and-run driver soon regrets their choices and may turn themselves in. But there are other reasons why a driver may flee the scene of the crash, including:
- Lacking car insurance or fearing increasing premiums
- Driving while underage
- Possessing stolen goods or contraband
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving a borrowed, rented, or stolen vehicle
- Not holding a valid driver’s license
- Having several traffic citations already on their record
While it is an unlikely scenario, it is possible that a driver may not notice they hit another vehicle or person because they were too distracted or preoccupied. Not noticing the accident is much more likely in “near miss” situations where a driver causes an accident through their reckless driving but does not receive any damage to their own vehicle. This variety of hit-and-run drivers can be especially tough to track down unless there is video or eyewitness evidence, and proving their role in the accident can be challenging. In any type of Denver hit-and-run accident, it is crucial to enlist the services of an adept personal injury attorney who can help investigate your case and assist you with the steps you need to take to recover compensation.
What Should You Do After a Hit-and-Run Crash?
The minutes after an accident can be very disorienting, especially after a hit-and-run accident. There may be no one around to help you after the driver fled the scene. It is essential to keep as calm as possible during this time and do the following things to benefit both your health and your case:
- Get medical attention: If you or your loved ones have been hurt, getting medical treatment should be your top priority. Call 911 if anyone has serious injuries. Even if you feel okay, seek a medical evaluation after the accident because there may be injuries that you haven’t noticed yet due to the high adrenaline levels in your body.
- Contact the police: You must report the accident if the other driver leaves the scene. Officers will come and make a police report on the crash. Be clear and to the point when informing the police about the accident and your injuries. Do not discuss fault or make accusations.
- Collect witness information: In a hit-and-run accident, every detail will be helpful when tracking down the other driver. Eyewitnesses can provide valuable information, so make sure to get their names, addresses, and phone numbers when possible.
- Take pictures: Snap photos from many angles. While the police will likely photograph the scene, you may record something they missed.
- Write down details: As soon as you can, write down everything you can recall from the accident while it is still fresh in your mind. Include descriptions of the vehicle and driver, the license plate number, the direction they fled, and anything else you might remember. This information can be useful in the investigation.
- Call a hit-and-run accident lawyer: Because hit-and-run accidents can be complex, it is critical to have a lawyer on your side throughout the process. They will help you deal with the insurance company and ensure you have the best shot at getting full compensation for your injuries.
You or your loved ones should not attempt to follow or track down a hit-and-run driver after your accident. They may be fleeing due to a criminal reason or may not be thinking clearly because of their panic, and you could be putting yourself in danger. You could also delay necessary medical treatment for your injuries, which could worsen them. Plus, it could interfere with the police investigation of the crash. All in all, it’s best to focus on ensuring your safety and well-being and leave the investigation to the police officers and your lawyer.
What Are Your Options for Getting Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Your options for filing a claim for your damages are determined by whether the driver in the hit-and-run accident can be identified. If they are caught or turn themselves in, they will not only face criminal charges and a likely driver’s license suspension, but you will also be able to file a hit-and-run claim with their insurance company to recover damages. If police cannot identify the at-fault driver, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company if you have uninsured motorist coverage. However, not everyone carries this type of coverage, so it is essential to check your insurance policy to see if this is an option for you.
In either case, a hit-and-run accident lawyer can be an important ally in your recovery. They will negotiate with the insurance companies and help you receive the settlement you deserve. While every hit and run accident is unique, common losses that may be covered include:
- Economic losses: Property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and more may be part of your compensation.
- Non-economic losses: These are less tangible damages you experienced as a result of your hit-and-run accident, such as pain and suffering, emotional anguish, permanent disfigurement, or loss of quality of life.
In a court situation, a judge may assess punitive damages as well if the driver’s actions were reckless or showed a wanton disregard for the well-being of others. In hit-and-run cases, especially cases where the driver did not stop to assist injured accident victims, punitive damages will likely be considered due to the lack of responsibility taken by the driver.
Why Hire a Lawyer for Your Hit-and-Run Case?
Hit-and-run cases can be incredibly complicated to litigate because the at-fault driver may attempt to argue that they cannot be definitively identified as the individual involved in the accident. This adds another layer to an already complicated car accident case. Even your own insurance company may try to avoid paying you a fair settlement amount if you are unable to track down the perpetrator of your accident. A skilled Denver hit-and-run attorney from Genco Injury Attorneys can be a formidable ally in your fight. We will work to ensure that you get the fair compensation you need and deserve. Contact our law office today for a free consultation with a compassionate accident attorney who is ready to work for you: 303-500-1376.