The Lakewood hit and run accident attorneys at The Fang Law Firm can help you work through the legal process after this type of disaster. Discuss your rights in detail during a free, no-obligation consultation with our local Lakewood lawyers today.
When a driver strikes a moving or parked car and flees the scene without stopping or exchanging information, they have committed the crime of hit-and-run. If you get in a hit-and-run accident, the consequences can be severe, as there may be delays in getting medical care. It can also be more difficult to obtain the financial compensation that you deserve.
Hiring an attorney to represent you during a hit-and-run accident case can provide many benefits during and after the legal process. During a car accident claim, a lawyer can handle legal legwork for you, such as crash investigation, conferring with police officers, gathering accident reports and other sources of evidence, evaluating your losses, and negotiating for maximum compensation. A Lakewood hit and run accident lawyer can also improve the final outcome of your injury claim, helping you and your family get the results that you need to move on.
A hit and run accident is a motor vehicle collision where one or more parties involved in the crash fail to pull over at the scene. In other words, a driver illegally flees the scene of a car accident. State law requires all drivers involved in accidents to stop immediately as close to the scene of the crash as is safely possible or to return to the scene of the accident right away.
Failing to stop at a crash scene – as well as exchanging information and rendering aid – is a crime in Colorado that can result in jail time depending on the severity of the damage. A hit and run is an especially dangerous type of car accident because the other driver doesn’t call for an ambulance. This can lead to an injured accident victim waiting – sometimes for hours – for the medical care that he or she desperately needs.
You may not have to pay for your own vehicle repairs and medical expenses after a hit-and-run accident. Even without identifying the at-fault driver, you may be entitled to financial reimbursement from your own insurance company or a third party, such as the state or local government for a dangerous roadway. The police may also be able to catch the driver who hit you, allowing you to bring a lawsuit with the help of a Lakewood personal injury lawyer.
A successful insurance claim or personal injury case in Colorado for a hit-and-run car accident could result in damages, or financial compensation, for the following:
If you’re wondering how much your case is worth, ask a Lakewood accident attorney at The Fang Law Firm for a case evaluation. The value of your personal injury claim will depend on factors such as the gravity of your injuries, whether you have a permanent disability, if the police locate the driver and the insurance policies available. In some personal injury cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages.
You should report a hit and run accident to the police immediately by calling 911 while you are still at the scene of the crash. Then, you have 60 days to file an accident report with the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. You can do this online or in person. To file a car insurance claim, you should contact the correct insurance company as soon as possible. Some car insurance companies have tight filing deadlines, but most require “prompt” reporting.
To file a personal injury lawsuit for a motor vehicle accident in Colorado, you must bring your claim within three years of the date of the crash. Although Colorado’s statute of limitations is two years for other types of personal injury cases, it is three years for car accidents. The three-year window applies to both bodily injury and property damage claims connected to an automobile accident in Colorado.
It is against the law not to stop at the accident scene. According to Colorado Revised Statute Section 42-4-1603, all drivers in Colorado have a legal obligation to pull over, render aid to those who are injured, exchange information and report the accident to the police. This law states that the driver of any vehicle directly involved in an accident must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene or as close to the scene as possible, or immediately return to the scene of the accident.
A driver must remain at the scene until he or she has fulfilled the legal requirements. Even if an accident is not serious enough to warrant a call to the police, all involved drivers must stop at the scene and check everyone involved for injuries. They must also exchange contact and insurance information. If a driver strikes an unattended parked vehicle, they must leave a note that has a brief description of what happened and the driver’s contact information. The note should be secured to the unattended vehicle in a conspicuous place.
Driving away from the scene of a car accident without stopping is a crime under Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1601. It is not a hit-and-run, however, if the driver has to leave the scene to report the crash. A hit-and-run can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony crime, depending on the severity of the accident and injuries inflicted. The penalties for breaking these laws can include fines and jail time. The driver can also face points on his or her driving record, a revoked driver’s license, and civil liability for a victim’s losses.
Colorado uses a tort-based car insurance law. This law states that the driver responsible for causing a crash – the driver who committed a tort, or wrongdoing – is responsible for paying for related losses. All drivers in Colorado must meet the state’s financial responsibility requirements, meaning they must carry car insurance. This insurance will pay for another driver’s medical bills and property damage repairs if the policyholder causes an accident.
In a hit and run accident, the at-fault driver doesn’t stick around to give his or her information to injured victims or take responsibility for the wreck. While there is a chance that the police will find the driver, you may not have the opportunity to collect compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Without knowing the identity of the hit and run driver, it can be difficult to receive payment for your injuries and damage.
Since you can’t hold the other driver accountable, you may need to turn to your own car insurance for coverage. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance on your policy, this will cover a hit and run. Your insurance company will treat your claim as if the at-fault driver remained at the scene but did not have insurance. Other types of first-party insurance that may cover your crash includes comprehensive and collision coverage.
If you don’t have the correct type of first-party insurance, an attorney can explore the possibility of holding a third party liable instead. A third party is someone who was not at the scene of the accident but who contributed to your crash or injuries, such as the manufacturer of a defective car part or the government agency that is in charge of roadway maintenance. Holding a third party liable can result in payment for your losses even if the other driver is never found.
It can be hard to know what to do to protect your rights after a hit-and-run collision. If you can, take the following steps:
These actions can allow you to seek fair financial compensation for your bills and vehicle repairs after a hit-and-run crash. A lawyer can help you with each step so that you can rebuild your life.
You may need a hit-and-run accident attorney if you or a loved one suffered serious or catastrophic injuries in the crash. A catastrophic injury is one that will affect you for a long time or permanently, such as the loss of a bodily function or brain damage. A lawyer can help you demand maximum compensation for a life-changing injury. Even a mild to moderate injury may entitle you to financial compensation for medical bills and other losses. Injuries that are often connected to hit-and-run accidents in Lakewood include:
One of the reasons why hit-and-run accidents are so devastating is that the injured victim does not receive medical care immediately. Rather than stopping at the scene and calling for help or an ambulance, the at-fault driver flees and leaves the victim unattended. This can exacerbate injuries and result in wrongful death. Our attorneys at The Fang Law Firm can help you bring a claim regardless of the nature of your injury. We can also help with a hit-and-run wrongful death case in Lakewood.
You don’t have to handle the legal process on your own after getting injured in a hit-and-run accident. Our Lakewood hit-and-run accident lawyers at The Fang Law Firm can help you understand your rights and pick up the pieces after a harmful vehicle collision. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a recent hit-and-run crash, please contact us at (303) 993-4323 to request a free case consultation. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and are passionate about helping injury victims recover compensation for their serious injuries.