Car accidents are often as frightening as they are stressful. When the negligent driver flees the scene of the accident before they can be identified, they can also be frustrating beyond compare. Not only will you have to deal with the aftermath of your serious injuries, but you will also be left alone to deal with the mess of the insurance situation.
To get much-needed legal help and moral support after a hit-and-run accident in Colorado, come to Klein Frank, P.C. We are committed to protecting the rights of our clients and pursuing the justice they deserve in every type of car accident claim, including complicated situations in which the liable driver hasn’t been identified yet. With more than 60 years of combined experience, you can feel confident depending on the winning duo of Attorney Beth Klein and Attorney Carrie Frank, just as countless other people throughout the state have before.
What are Hit-and-Run Accidents?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver leaves the scene of a car accident before they can be identified or before they exchange their insurance information. Sometimes, if someone is injured in a crash or a vehicle is severely damaged, then all drivers must wait for law enforcement officials to excuse them from the scene before they can depart. Even if a driver did not cause the crash, they are committing the crime of a hit-and-run if they leave the scene before being identified or permitted to leave.
Drivers who commit hit-and-run accidents are often the same drivers who drive while:
In other words, drivers who know they did something wrong but are not willing to accept responsibility for it commit hit-and-runs. They think that running away will help them avoid liability but, with some luck on your part, it will make things much worse for themselves.
What to Do When a Driver Flees the Scene
If you are hit by a driver who seems like they might flee the scene, you have to take action immediately. They could get in their car and drive away before you know it, so move quickly. Of course, prioritize your safety all the while. Do not do anything that would jeopardize anyone’s health.
If a driver flees the scene, you should:
- Call the police: Give the dispatcher as much identifying information about the driver as you can. Try to remember the make, model, and color of their car, as well as a basic description of the driver. Also, tell the police what part of their car hit yours in case it was damaged, and the direction that the driver went while fleeing.
- Write everything down: Use a notepad or an app to write down as many details of the accident as you can while they are still fresh in your mind. With the other driver fleeing the scene, you will have one less person to provide details later, so it pays to make notes right away.
- Talk to eyewitnesses: A passerby or another motorist might have seen the other vehicle clearer than you did. Talk to anyone who stops to help and ask them to write down the details they know. If someone caught the driver’s license plate information, then you could be in a good position to sue them later.
- See a doctor: As with any car accident, you should go to urgent care for a medical examination afterward, even if you feel “okay.” Don’t risk thinking a serious injury is just soreness. Let a doctor diagnose your injuries and create a note in your medical record that your injuries were caused by a motor vehicle collision.
How to Claim Compensation for a Hit-and-Run Collision
Most people who have been hurt in a hit-and-run are afraid that they won’t recover any compensation because the other driver is unknown. Fortunately, that is not always the case. Depending on what happened and how quickly you get in touch with our attorneys, you might be able to make a recovery.
If the driver is caught because you were able to notify the police in time, they will be prosecuted for their crime, which helps protect others from their criminal negligence in the future. But you will be able to file a civil claim against them as you would after any other car accident case.
What Happens If the Driver is Never Caught?
If the driver cannot be found, you will need to file an uninsured motorist (UM) claim with your own insurance provider. If the insurance company fails to provide a reasonable settlement amount or denies your claim altogether, we can step in and take the fight to them. No insurance company can intimidate us.
It is also possible to explore the use of a “John Doe” lawsuit. If the statute of limitations for your car accident claim is approaching – it is only two years from the date of the accident in Colorado – and the hit-and-run driver still has not been found, a John Doe claim can be used to prevent it from expiring. Basically, you name the defendant as John Doe to create the claim before the statute expires. If the other driver is found later, then you can amend the claim to include their name and auto insurance provider as defendants instead.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Hit-and-Run?
The damages that can be recovered in a hit-and-run accident case will vary. Whether or not the other driver is ever identified will affect the damages as well as damage caps.
Damages that can be recovered in either situation include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
The insurance caps will depend on if you are filing against the other driver who ran or through your UM policy. When your damages exceed the caps, we can explore options to pursue further compensation, such as using alternative insurance policies.
Common Defenses to a Hit-and-Run Accident Claim
A common defense to a hit-and-run accident claim is also a simple one: misidentification. The other driver will probably try to argue that they were not the driver who hit you, so your claim must be invalid. You will have to overcome this argument with strong, convincing evidence that they are the right driver and that they did hit you, not the other way around. Our attorneys can look for evidence in many forms, such as police reports and eyewitness testimonies.
Call (303) 448-8884 to Get the Help You Need Today
If you have a legal problem, our Boulder hit-and-run lawyers are only a phone call away. We have the might and the legal authority to help you tackle your case head-on. While we dig into the difficulties of dealing with an insurance company and investigating the accident to make the best possible recovery in your name, you can focus on other parts of your life, like your health and family.
Contact Klein Frank, P.C. and request a free consultation immediately.