If you are involved in a car accident with a driver who flees the scene, it is important that you know how to proceed. At the Green Law Firm P.C., we’re committed to ensuring you’re not left to face these challenges alone. Our experienced team of Colorado Springs hit-and-run accident attorneys specialize in handling hit-and-run cases, leveraging their deep knowledge of Colorado’s laws to fight for your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been a victim of a hit and run, don’t navigate this tough time solo—let us be your steadfast partner on the journey toward justice. Contact an experienced attorney with experience handling these types of accidents as soon as possible. The steps you take immediately following a hit-and-run could save your life.
When a driver leaves the scene of an accident without stopping to identify themselves or provide assistance, it’s not just a breach of legal duty—it’s a disregard for human decency. Victims of such incidents are left with the burdens of physical injuries, emotional distress, and financial instability.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hit-and-run accidents claim approximately 1,500 lives each year. While many victims of hit-and-run accidents are pedestrians, drivers, and vehicle passengers can also be injured.
Dangers of Hit and Run Accidents
Hit-and-run accidents are especially dangerous for those who are injured.
In a situation where minutes can make the difference between life and death, hit-and-run accident victims are often left behind, while their injuries worsen.
Injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, or heavy bleeding, need swift medical attention.
When emergency help is delayed—even for a few extra minutes—the results can be fatal.
Injuries suffered by victims of serious hit-and-run accidents often include:
- Head and brain injuries – In a hit-and-run accident, victims can suffer from severe head and brain injuries as a result of the impact. These injuries can range from concussions to more serious conditions like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The consequences can be lifelong and include cognitive impairment, memory loss, behavioral changes, and physical disabilities.
- Spinal cord injuries – A hit-and-run accident can lead to spinal cord injuries which can result in temporary or permanent paralysis, numbness, and loss of sensation below the site of injury. These injuries can drastically alter a person’s life, often requiring long-term medical care, rehabilitation, and assistive devices.
- Internal bleeding – The force exerted during a hit-and-run accident can lead to internal injuries, causing internal bleeding. This is a life-threatening condition that can damage organs and requires immediate medical intervention. Symptoms may not appear immediately, making it critical for victims to seek medical attention even if they feel fine after the accident.
- Burns – While not as common, burns can result from a hit-and-run accident if a vehicle catches fire or experiences an explosion. Burn injuries range from minor to severe and can lead to significant pain, scarring, disfigurement, and infections.
- Broken bones – Broken bones are a common injury in hit-and-run accidents, ranging from simple fractures to compound breaks. In severe cases, these injuries may require surgical intervention, physical therapy, and long recovery times, significantly impacting a victim’s life.
Documenting Accidents in Colorado
In Colorado, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident, no matter how minor. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime and punishable by law. You and your passengers can often help police officers catch the hit and run driver. If you are able, give the responding officer all the information you have about the accident. Note the time and location of the accident, and try to identify any possible witnesses. If you saw the car that hit you, record a detailed description, including the make, model, color, and license plate.
Under Colorado law, any driver involved in an accident must notify the police immediately if the accident results in injuries, death, or substantial property damage. This is not a mere formality, but a crucial step for various reasons. Firstly, an official police report provides an authoritative record of the incident, which is essential when dealing with insurance companies during the claims process. It provides them with the necessary details about the accident, such as the extent of the damage, the parties involved, and an initial assessment of who may be at fault. Secondly, if you decide to pursue legal action related to the accident, the police report serves as a vital piece of evidence. It can provide your attorney with insights about the accident scene, witness accounts, and other details that can build a strong case for you.
Additionally, Colorado law stipulates that all drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident must exchange specific pieces of information. This includes your name, address, and the registration number of your vehicle. Sharing this information ensures that all parties involved have the necessary details to initiate insurance claims and to facilitate any necessary follow-ups related to the accident. However, in situations where the other driver is injured and unable to receive this information, it’s your responsibility to provide these details to law enforcement officers at the scene. They will ensure the information is appropriately passed on and recorded. Remember, in the aftermath of an accident, your commitment to these protocols isn’t just about legal compliance – it’s a significant part of a process that ensures all parties involved can work towards resolution and recovery in the aftermath of the accident.
Penalties for Colorado Springs Hit and Run Accidents
Colorado law is very clear that leaving the scene of an accident, often referred to as a “hit and run,” is a serious crime. The penalties depend on the severity of the accident and the resulting damages or injuries.
- Property Damage: If a driver leaves the scene of an accident that results in property damage, it’s considered a Class 2 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense. Penalties can include 10 to 90 days in jail, fines between $150 and $300, or both.
- Injuries: If the accident results in injury to another person and the driver leaves the scene, it is a Class 1 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense. Penalties for this offense can include 10 days to 1 year in jail, fines between $300 and $1000, or both.
- Serious Bodily Injury: If a hit-and-run accident results in serious bodily injury to another person, it is considered a Class 4 Felony. Penalties can include 2 to 6 years in prison, fines between $2,000 and $500,000, or both.
- Death: If a hit-and-run accident results in the death of another person, it is considered a Class 3 Felony. Penalties can include 4 to 12 years in prison, fines between $3,000 and $750,000, or both.
In addition to these potential penalties, individuals convicted of hit-and-run offenses may face increased insurance premiums, civil lawsuits for damages, and potential loss of driving privileges.
Statute of Limitations for Colorado Springs Hit and Run Accidents
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Colorado, including those related to hit-and-run accidents, is typically two (2) years from the date of the incident. This means that if you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, you generally have two (2) years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in court to seek damages.
For property damage claims resulting from a hit-and-run accident, the statute of limitations in Colorado is generally three (3) years from the date of the accident.
It’s important to note that there can be exceptions and nuances to these rules that may affect how the statute of limitations is applied. For example, if the hit-and-run perpetrator was not immediately identified, the time limit might be extended.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Hit and Run Lawyer Today
Unfortunately, while police officers and investigators will make every attempt to apprehend the hit and run driver, the sad truth is that many are never found. Helping injured accident victims obtain justice is our primary concern. When this occurs you need an experienced attorney on your side to help you negotiate claims settlements with your insurance company. If the hit-and-run driver is found and brought to justice, your attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit. If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, don’t delay. Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Colorado Springs, don’t wait to seek the justice you deserve. Contact our experienced Colorado Springs hit-and-run lawyers at the Green Law Firm P.C. today. We have the experience, compassion, and tenacity to navigate the complexities of your case and help you recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to. With our dedication and strategic approach, we can turn the stress and uncertainty of a hit-and-run accident into a path toward recovery and resolution. Reach out to us today for a free consultation and take the first step toward regaining control of your life. Remember, we’re here to fight for you.