Colorado law requires that drivers involved in accidents stop and render aid to anyone injured. At a minimum, they must call the police and emergency services to come out and assist. Unfortunately, hundreds of drivers flee the scene of an accident each year, leaving behind injured victims to fight for themselves.
At McCormick & Murphy, P.C., our Pueblo hit and run accident lawyers have helped many injured motorists just like you get compensation after a collision. The process is never easy, so it is best to have an attorney by your side who can fight for the compensation you need.
Colorado’s Law on Hit & Run Accidents
Colorado law is very clear about a motorist’s duties after an accident. If the vehicle hit was unattended, then the driver who struck it must either track down the owner or leave an attached note in an obvious place informing them of their identity and the fact that they hit the vehicle.
If someone was in the car at the time of the collision, the motorist must remain at the scene of the accident. Colorado Revised Statutes § 42-4-1603 further requires that a driver give “reasonable assistance,” which can include calling for an ambulance or taking them to the hospital, if necessary.
Violating these laws is a crime, which carry stiff penalties. Unfortunately, many people continue to flee each year, either because they are intoxicated, have criminal histories, or simply panic.
Obtaining Compensation After a Hit and Run Accident
If you knew the identity of the person who hit you, then you could make a claim on their insurance policy for benefits. Most liability policies will pay out compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other losses.
Unfortunately, because the driver fled the scene, it is much harder to get compensation to help defray the cost of the accident. A driver cannot use his or her liability insurance since that only pays benefits to other people injured due to the policyholder’s negligence. Many victims are left to shoulder thousands of dollars in expenses all by themselves because a driver hit the gas pedal after crashing into a motorist.
If you have medical or other bills, you might be able to use the following to get some compensation:
Uninsured motorist insurance. Colorado law requires that insurance companies offer this insurance with any liability policy they sell. However, motorists can decline it in writing. If you have it, you can tap this coverage after a hit and run.
Collision insurance. This insurance can pay to fix your car after a hit and run in Pueblo. Collision insurance is an option, however, so check to see if you purchased it.
Health insurance. You can usually use your health insurance to help pay for medical care following an accident. Should you identify the at-fault driver and make a claim, then your insurer will typically have a right to be reimbursed out of your settlement.
Medical payments. This no-fault insurance will pay for medical care after an accident. It is optional in Colorado.
Of course, if your Pueblo hit and run accident lawyers can identify the driver who hit you, then you can make a claim on their insurance or sue them in court. This option is usually ideal, since our clients can often receive more in compensation.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident in Pueblo
The steps a motorist takes after a hit and run can increase or decrease the chances of catching the driver and receiving compensation for the accident. Our Pueblo hit and run accident lawyers recommend that a person do the following:
Write down a description of the vehicle. Include things like the make, model, and color of the vehicle, as well as any numbers on the license plate you could see. Provide as much detail as you can.
Note the direction the vehicle was traveling in.
Describe the driver as much as possible. Male or female? Hair color? Race? Distinguishing features?
Report the accident to the police. Do so in a timely manner and share as much information as you can. An officer will probably come out to the scene.
Locate any witnesses to the crash and get their name and contact information. These could be bystanders on the sidewalk, people inside nearby stores, or occupants of other vehicles on the road. Ask them to describe as much as they can about the car that hit you and its driver.
Check with nearby businesses to see if they have security cameras pointed to the road. Many surprisingly do This video footage could have captured the accident.
Remember to get medical care in a timely manner also, which will fully document your injuries. If you were so badly injured, you should call the ambulance out to take you to the hospital.
You should also notify your own insurer of the accident. This is particularly important if you have uninsured motorist coverage since they want to be sure that you were involved in a legitimate crash with a driver who fled the scene.
Your Odds of Catching the Criminal
Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime, and it is a felony if someone is physically injured. The police have an incentive to catch criminals since they might commit the same crime again.
On the other hand, Pueblo’s police force may be overwhelmed with calls, so if no one was badly injured in the accident, then they might not make your case a priority. You should speak to a Pueblo hit and run accident lawyer to discuss next steps for finding the culprit. If you find them, then you can possibly sue this person.
Contact a Pueblo Hit & Run Accident Lawyer Today
The lawyers at McCormick & Murphy, P.C., understand how difficult it can be to recover from a hit and run accident, but we are committed to helping our clients get the maximum compensation they are entitled to under Colorado law. For more information, please schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers today.