Serious Hit-and-Run Accidents: What Are the Laws?
While being involved in a motor vehicle accident--whether a small fender-bender or a more serious crash that occurs at high speeds--is something that no driver ever wants to deal with, the majority of drivers who are involved in crashes in Colorado do the following:
They stop their vehicle, check to make sure everyone is okay, and exchange information with the other driver.
After all, doing so is not only the law, but a basic courtesy.
However, there are those drivers who fail to stop after being involved in a crash, labeling themselves as hit-and-run drivers.
When a serious hit-and-run accident occurs, the other driver may have questions about what their rights are, especially if they are facing injuries and property damage.
If you are a driver in Colorado, here’s an overview of what you should know about hit-and-run laws in our state. And, if you’ve been involved in an accident with a hit-and-run and suffered major injuries, be sure to call our experienced serious car accident injury attorneys at Denver Trial Lawyers ® today.
Colorado Hit-and-Run Law
In Colorado, drivers who are involved in an accident are not only required to stop at the scene, but also to report the accident to the police when anyone is injured (and certainly if anyone dies) or/and the value of property damage resulting from the accident totals $1,000 or more.
Colorado Statute Section 42-4-1601 reads that any driver who is involved an accident that results in injury, serious bodily injury, or death is required to immediately stop their vehicle and return to the scene of the accident. Then, the driver is required under law to remain at the scene of the accident and:
- Provide reasonable assistance (if required);
- Provide the other driver with their name, address, and vehicle registration number; and
- Immediately report the accident to a police officer.
Penalties for Committing a Hit-and-Run in Colorado
Per the same section of Colorado code cited above, the failure to stop at the scene of an accident is a crime. The crime is classified as a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the degree of injury suffered by the victim of the accident.
- If the accident results in injury to any person, the offense of leaving the scene of the accident is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- If the accident results in serious bodily injury, the offense is upped to a Class 4 felony.
- If the accident causes death, the Colorado hit-and-run law holds that the offense is a Class 3 felony.
In addition to criminal consequences for the misdemeanor or felony charge, which may include a period of incarceration and a fine, a person who is guilty of a hit-and-run can also face civil consequences, too.
Your Rights if You’ve Been in a Hit-and-Run Accident in Colorado
The hit-and-run laws in Colorado can help you to bring criminal charges against the person who fled the scene of the accident in which you were involved, but a criminal conviction will not help you to recover monetary damages for your harm; instead, you must bring a civil action against the responsible party.
At the law offices of Denver Trial Lawyers ®, we can help.
Our lawyers can assist by opening an investigation and partnering with law enforcement to track down the responsible driver.
If the driver is located, we can assist you by filing a claim directly against the at-fault driver for damages and help you to prove that your injuries would not have occurred but for the other driver’s negligence.
If the driver does not have insurance coverage (as is common in hit-and-run accident claims), we can aid by guiding you through various other recovery options, including recovering compensation through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
We Know How Terrifying Hit-and-Run Accidents Can Be
At the law offices of Denver Trial Lawyers ®, we know how terrifying hit-and-run accidents can be, and that if you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run crash and suffered major bodily injuries, you may have dozens of questions about what happens next and how you will be compensated for your injuries, especially if the other driver cannot be found.
Our Denver serious injury lawyers are passionate about providing you with competent representation.
We work on a contingency fee basis, and never charge you for our services if we are unsuccessful in recovering a settlement on your behalf.