A vehicle and a driver involved in a fatal hit-and-run in Commerce City last week have been identified, local law enforcement report. The crash, which occurred around 4:00 am on the morning of Thursday October 4th, resulted in a shutdown of westbound traffic on Interstate 270 from I-70 to I-76. One victim, a male pedestrian, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle which hit him fled.
Later on Thursday, law enforcement officials received information about the vehicle possibly involved in the fatal incident. Police later recovered the vehicle and identified the driver, though the driver was not named nor was it confirmed if they were arrested. The investigation is still ongoing.
Hit-And-Run Accidents & Civil Lawsuits
Thursday’s fatal hit-and-run is a tragic reminder of the risks posed on public roads, particularly to pedestrians. As a personal injury law firm that has been representing injured victims and families throughout Denver and the state of Colorado for many years, we express our deepest condolences to all those affected by this tragedy. The tragic and unexpected loss of life is only exacerbated by the driver’s attempt to flee the scene and escape accountability.
In Colorado, and any other state in the country for that matter, motorists involved in any type of auto accident, including pedestrian accidents, are required by law to stop at the scene and render aid to injured victims if necessary. Failing to do so and fleeing the scene of a crash is a criminal offense. While the investigation is still ongoing, it is possible the driver in this case may face criminal hit-and-run charges for leaving the scene of the accident. Though criminal cases can hold fleeing motorists accountable for their conduct, they do not serve as a viable source of compensation for victims and families.
In order to pursue the full scope of compensation following preventable accidents – even if those accidents result in criminal charges such as DUI or hit-and-run – injured victims and families who lose loved ones in fatal accidents will need to pursue personal injury or wrongful death insurance claims and lawsuits in the civil justice system. These claims require victims and families to meet a lower burden of proof (more likely than not) than what is used in the criminal justice system (beyond a reasonable doubt), focus on financial liability and not criminal guilt, and provide plaintiffs with an opportunity to hold at-fault parties financially responsible for their damages, including:
- Past and future medical bills / medical expenses incurred prior to death
- Lost wages, reduced earning potential, or lost financial support
- Pain and suffering and mental anguish
- Emotional injuries suffered by families
- Funeral and burial expenses
While pathways to compensation are available to victims and families, full and fair financial recoveries are not guaranteed. This is particularly true in cases involving hit-and-run accidents, which require drivers to be accurately identified and adequately insured, and because insurance companies which often represent at-fault policy holders do all they can to pay as little as possible.
It should also be noted that hiring an attorney before the hit-and-run driver is identified can provide great benefits to the family trying to navigate the uncertainties of a hit-and-run crash. Attorneys may be able to assert additional pressure on law enforcement or provide additional resources to identify the hit-and-run driver. Alternatively, many people have insurance coverage that may pay damages if the hit-and-run driver is ultimately unable to be identified.
At Denver Trial Lawyers ®, our award-winning attorneys are available to help victims and families understand their rights and explore available options for recovering compensation, including claims through an at-fault driver’s auto insurance or a victim’s own insurance if they have UM / UIM coverage, during free and confidential consultations. Contact us to speak with a lawyer.