Colorado has seen an “epidemic” of hit-and-run crashes, according to a recent report by 9News Denver and Rocky Mountain PBS’s I-News. Reports indicate that there have been 132 hit-and-run fatalities in Colorado since 2008. This averages out to two people losing their lives each month in car accidents in which the at-fault driver fled the scene.
The cities of Denver, Aurora, and Lakewood experienced an average of one hit-and-run injury accident per day between 2011 and 2013, according to the report. These figures do not take into account the number of hit-and-run accidents that cause only property damage. Denver had approximately 17 non-injury related hit-and-run accidents reported per day during this same period.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident
Anytime a vehicle-related accident occurs, it is important for all involved parties to remain at the scene until police and emergency personnel arrive. This allows those who have sustained injury to receive medical attention and officers to begin investigating the cause of the accident, as well as documenting injuries and losses for insurance purposes.
While there are many reasons a driver may attempt to flee the scene of an accident (being drunk, driving without a license, no insurance, an outstanding warrant, a criminal history and more), it is vital that victims know what to do following this type of accident.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, here are some steps to take:
- Remain at the scene of the accident. Do not attempt to follow the other driver.
- Write down as much as you can about the driver and vehicle he or she was driving. If you are able to take pictures of the vehicle, obtain the license plate number, make and model, color and any other distinctions, it could help officers locate the vehicle and driver.
- Call 911 to report the accident. Be sure to let them know the other driver fled the scene.
- If there were any witnesses to the accident, find out what they saw and gather their contact information so investigators can interview them later.
- Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, the accident site itself, the surrounding area and any other objects or locations you feel may be pertinent to your claim. Make sure you take pictures of any areas where paint from the other vehicle may have rubbed off on your car, or of any part of the at-fault driver’s vehicle which may have come off during the accident.
- Make notes of any other information or details, such as time and date of the accident, so you can refer to it when speaking with the police, talking with your insurance provider or discussing your legal options with your attorney.
How Can I Recover Damages If the At-Fault Driver Is Never Found?
While there is no guarantee the at-fault driver responsible for causing your injuries and losses will ever be found, there may be other ways for you to recover damages after a hit-and-run accident.
Hit-and-run accident victims who reside in Colorado and who have not rejected uninsured motorist / underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage in writing may be eligible to seek compensation from their own insurance provider. Regardless of whether the at-fault driver is ever located and brought to justice, this may still give you a way to recover damages for injuries caused to you and your passengers.
However, even when you are dealing with “your” insurance company, you may still find that the adjuster is unwilling to offer you a full and fair settlement for your damages. Some insurance companies may even try to deny a valid claim for UM/UIM benefits. That’s why it is important to work with a car accident attorney who can explore all potential sources of coverage and work to ensure that you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Colorado Car Accident Law Firm
Attorney Steve Ray of Steve Ray Law, PLLC is a former Marine Corps judge now fights for the rights of car accident victims in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, he brings more than 35 years of legal experience and military discipline to pursuing your claim for compensation.
He will meet with you to discuss your case and, if a claim is possible, pursue the maximum financial recovery available. If we cannot recover money for you, you will pay nothing for our legal services.
Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.
- Rocky Mountain PBS News: Colorado’s Hit and Run Epidemic and 9News Posts Interactive Graphic Depicting Hit-and-Run Deaths
- 9News: Colorado’s hit-and-run epidemic