Like all other states, Colorado requires drivers to maintain a minimum liability insurance coverage and stop after an accident. Sadly, not everyone does what they should do. Sometimes, drivers fail to purchase insurance and refuse to stop during an accident.
While you can’t control their actions, you can protect your legal rights and interests after a hit and run accident. Contacting a Denver car accident attorney as soon as possible is one of them.
Why Do Hit and Run Accidents Happen in Denver?
Hit and run accidents occur in Denver for various reasons, similar to many other large cities or metropolitan areas.
Several factors contribute to the occurrence of hit and run accidents in Denver:
- Fear of consequences – In some cases, drivers may flee an accident scene because they fear the potential consequences of being involved in a collision. They might lack valid license, have outstanding warrants, or overconsumed alcohol or drugs.
- Lack of insurance – Some drivers may lack valid insurance or fear their insurance premiums will increase significantly after an accident. Instead of facing financial repercussions, they choose to flee the scene and attempt to avoid responsibility for the accident.
- Panicking and shock – Accidents can cause panic and shock. This may lead some drivers to make irrational decisions, such as leaving the scene without considering the consequences.
- Unawareness of the severity – Some drivers may not realize the extent of the damage caused by the accident and might mistakenly believe it is safe to leave the scene.
- Distracted driving – Driver distraction causes many accidents. In a hit and run accident, distractions might prevent the at-fault driver from fully comprehending the situation—in fact, they may not even realize they hit another vehicle, person, or bicycle or caused any damage.
- Fear of retaliation – In certain instances, motorists might fear retaliation or confrontation from the other party involved in the accident, causing them to leave the scene to avoid potential conflicts.
- Speeding and reckless driving – Speeding and reckless driving increase the likelihood of accidents. Drivers engaged in such behavior may try to escape accountability by fleeing the scene.
- Uninsured or underinsured motorists – Like many cities, Denver has its share of uninsured or underinsured motorists. When an accident occurs, these drivers might be more likely to flee due to their inability to cover the damages.
- Lack of witness or surveillance – Hit and run accidents might happen more often in areas with minimal witnesses or surveillance cameras, making it easier for drivers to escape unnoticed.
Colorado drivers can face strict penalties for leaving the accident scene and, therefore, should fulfill their legal responsibilities.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident in Denver
A hit and run accident can leave you with injuries and property damage, but without anyone to hold accountable for them. Take immediate action to protect your rights after a hit and run accident.
Contact Law Enforcement
Even if no one suffers an injury in the crash, always contact law enforcement to report a hit and run accident.
By contacting law enforcement, you officially report the hit and run accident. This creates an official incident record essential for insurance purposes, legal proceedings, and potential investigations. After taking your report, law enforcement officers can conduct an investigation to identify the at-fault driver who fled the scene.
To help apprehend the responsible party, they may:
- Collect evidence
- Review surveillance footage
- Interview potential witnesses
Police officers and sheriff deputies know how to handle all sorts of accident scenes, including hit and runs. They can gather crucial information about the incident. They will document the scene and collect evidence to benefit insurance claims or legal actions.
By involving law enforcement, you protect your victim’s rights. Law enforcement officers and other support staff can help guide you through the appropriate steps to take following the hit and run, ensuring you don’t miss anything crucial steps to protect your rights.
Hit and run accidents are criminal offenses. By involving law enforcement, you increase the chances of holding the at-fault driver accountable and seeking justice for their actions. If the at-fault driver is identified and apprehended, law enforcement’s involvement can be crucial in any potential legal proceedings or criminal charges against the responsible party.
Insurance companies often require an official police report when processing a hit and run claim. Reporting the accident to law enforcement ensures you have the documentation to file your insurance claim successfully.
Reporting hit and run accidents sends a strong message that fleeing the scene of an accident is unacceptable and will not go unpunished. This can act as a deterrent, potentially reducing future hit and run incidents.
Finally, reporting the accident to law enforcement helps to initiate a process of closure and resolution. It provides a formal avenue to address the incident, seek justice, and potentially obtain compensation for damages and injuries. You must contact law enforcement after a hit and run accident for legal and insurance purposes. It plays a significant role in seeking accountability, protection, and assistance for those affected by the incident.
Get a Medical Evaluation
Next, seek medical care. Even if you don’t feel like you suffer an injury or experience any pain, you should still get checked out anyway. For some accident victims, this might mean going via ambulance to the emergency department, going to urgent care, or making an appointment with their own physician. It all depends on their symptoms’ severity and physical condition immediately after the accident.
Getting a medical evaluation after a hit and run accident is of utmost importance for several reasons:
- Identifying injuries – Some injuries sustained in a hit and run accident may not be immediately apparent due to the adrenaline and shock motor vehicle accident victims often experience in the aftermath of the crash. A medical evaluation can help identify any underlying injuries, even those with delayed onset symptoms. Some injuries, such as soft tissue or internal trauma, may not be immediately visible. A medical professional can conduct thorough assessments and diagnostic tests to uncover these hidden injuries.
- Prompt treatment – Early diagnosis and treatment of injuries are essential for a quicker and more effective recovery. A medical evaluation can lead to more timely medical interventions, reducing the risk of complications and promoting a faster healing process.
- Documentation for insurance claims – Seeking immediate medical attention provides the necessary documentation for insurance claims. Insurance companies usually require medical records as evidence to process and validate claims for medical expenses and other damages.
- Proving causation – Medical records from a timely evaluation can establish a direct link between the accident and the injuries sustained. This documentation can be vital in proving causation in any legal proceedings or insurance disputes. You won’t win your case if you or your Denver hit and run attorney can’t prove causation—a direct connection between the accident and your injuries.
- Preventing long-term issues – Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately but can worsen over time if left untreated. An early medical evaluation can help prevent long-term health issues and chronic pain from untreated injuries.
- Compliance with insurance requirements – Some insurance policies have strict requirements regarding timely medical evaluations after an accident. Failing to seek medical attention promptly might jeopardize your ability to claim compensation for injuries later on.
You need a medical evaluation after a hit and run accident. It ensures timely and appropriate medical care and provides valuable documentation to support insurance claims and any potential legal actions related to the accident. Seeking medical attention promptly after a hit and run accident protects your physical and financial interests.
Consult a Denver Car Accident Attorney
A car accident lawyer can explain your legal rights and pursuing compensation for your losses. It can identify the sources available to pay for your damages. Since you may never identify the liable party, you cannot rely on them or their insurance company, if they even have one, to reimburse for your damages.
Many states mandate uninsured motorist insurance coverage, which protects drivers after a hit and run accident or an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance. In some states like Colorado, you receive this coverage on your policy unless you elect to reject it in writing. You can use uninsured motorist coverage for medical expenses, lost income and income, and pain and suffering after a hit and run accident.
If your insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, you can use it for a hit and run accident. However, even though you are insured, many auto insurance companies may still resort to unfair tactics to deny or devalue your claim. Hiring a skilled Denver car accident lawyer can help ensure you get full and fair compensation for your hit and run accident damages.
A lawyer can be instrumental in helping with an uninsured motorist claim. They will guide you through the legal process, ensuring you understand your rights and options. Your car accident lawyer will investigate what caused the accident, gather evidence that someone else was at fault, and build a strong case to establish fault and damages. Your uninsured motorist policy will not cover your losses unless you prove the hit and run was not your fault.
Your attorney will also negotiate with the insurance company to seek fair compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering. After a dispute or denial of your claim, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against your insurer and advocate for your rights in court to secure the maximum possible settlement or verdict.
Even if you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you might still file a claim under other types of coverage on your policy, such as collision or medical payments coverage. After a hit and run accident, always check with a Denver personal injury attorney to find out your coverage or options for compensation.