What To Do If You’re Injured In A Hit-and-Run Accident

March 7, 2024 | Car Accidents

Getting into a car crash is scary and painful. Seeing the other driver peeling away from the scene adds another layer of uncertainty and frustration to the incident. If you’ve been hurt in a hit-and-run accident, calling the police right away is your best bet.

What else can you do after a hit-and-run? As the victim, you may have more options than you think, especially if you hire an experienced Colorado hit-and-run accident lawyer, like the ones at Earl & Earl, PLLC. We’re a legal team of tenacious, determined litigators, and we can help victims of hit-and-run accidents – like you – pursue justice and compensatory damages from the at-fault driver. Call our offices today for a free case review to learn more.

Why Do Hit-and-Run Accidents Happen?

A hit-and-run accident refers to a traffic accident where one party flees the scene. Colorado law requires all motorists to stop if they get in a crash and remain at the scene until police dismiss them. The law also requires that any accident be reported immediately. You can report the accident online, at the Colorado DMV website, or your local police station.

Because the law requires immediate reporting of the accident, many people who don’t want to get involved with the police would rather flee the scene than stick around and answer awkward, possibly incriminating questions.

Some reasons someone may commit a hit-and-run include:

  • They don’t have insurance
  • They don’t have a driver’s license or are driving on a suspended license
  • They have a warrant out for their arrest
  • They didn’t realize they hit you
  • They don’t want to pay for damage they caused

There’s a pretty good chance a hit-and-run driver doesn’t have insurance, which can make collecting compensation for the damage they caused trickier.

Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Crash in Colorado

It’s always best to call for emergency assistance after a car wreck, even if you don’t feel badly hurt. Some car accident injuries may not show up right away or be masked by the adrenaline your body produces after the crash. You may not realize you have internal organ damage or a hairline fracture for a day or longer after the wreck. By the time the symptoms present, your health could be at risk.

When you call 911, you’ll get emergency medical responders trained to quickly assess hidden injuries. The medical report from EMS also directly ties your injuries to the crash, becoming a valuable piece of evidence in a car accident lawsuit.

Alerting the 911 dispatcher about the other driver leaving the scene may give the police a better chance of catching them, especially if you can describe the car or a partial plate.

While waiting for the police to arrive, you can start gathering evidence. Take photos of the damage to your car and any injury you suffered, if you can. Make notes of everything you remember about the vehicle that struck you and the events leading up to the crash. Note any witnesses and get their contact information. You may also ask witnesses to stay until police arrive, to give their statements.

Once your medical condition has stabilized, you can turn your attention to the legal issues a hit-and-run presents. You should report the accident to your insurance company, alerting them that it was a hit-and-run and that you contacted the police.

It’s also a good idea to get legal advice sooner rather than later. You may have problems with your insurance company and need advice to approve your claim. Or, if the police do locate the other driver, a lawyer can help you file a lawsuit to recover your losses.

The Role of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Colorado does not require drivers to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM). Per Colorado law, this insurance can cover your bodily injury losses (medical bills, surgery, and rehabilitative therapy) if you’re hit by an uninsured driver or involved in a hit-and-run.

UM/UIM coverage does not always cover the damage to your vehicle, though. Getting a police report to detail the extent of the vehicle damage can come in handy if the other driver is apprehended. You may also talk to your insurance company about your options for covering damage to your vehicle. Each carrier differs in what it will and won’t cover, so your policy may have options for fixing or replacing your car.

How Can a Colorado Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer Help Me?

Even if no defendant is readily available right after the hit-and-run accident, they could be caught later. A car accident lawyer can help you recover your losses after the accident. They can conduct an independent investigation into the crash, gathering evidence to help identify the other driver and prove that their negligence caused the crash.

Many car accident claims are settled out of court in negotiations between the two parties. However, these negotiations usually involve the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the other driver left the accident scene because they didn’t have insurance, there’s a good chance they won’t be able to cover all your losses out-of-pocket. In these cases, your attorney may advise taking your case to court.

If your case goes to court, your lawyer advocates for your interests, presenting proof of the other driver’s negligence and their liability for your damages. A jury likely won’t look favorably on someone who flees the scene of a crash, making your claim look more substantial. If you win your case, but the defendant has no insurance, the court may find other ways to get you the money you’re owed, including garnishing the defendant’s paycheck.

Skilled Legal Advocacy After a Hit-and-Run

If you’ve been hurt in a hit-and-run car accident, you may be able to get compensation from the driver who left the scene, even if you didn’t get their name. Working with a skilled car accident attorney can improve your chances of a positive outcome after a crash. We know Colorado insurance law well and can help find a solution for your problems. Call Earl & Earl, PLLC, today for a free consultation after being hit by a hit-and-run driver.