By: Whalen Hersh
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What Options Do You Have in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
The regularly updated Denver hit-and-run crime report that is published by the Denver Post reveals that, in 2021, the city has averaged 521.9 hit-and-run accidents per month, or 17.2 a day. Leading the way among Denver neighborhoods is Central Park with 269 hit-and-run accidents as of mid-October 2021. Second is Baker, followed by Five Points, Montebello, and Lincoln Park, rounding out the top five.
The hit-and-run numbers contained in this report give credibility to what several area news outlets have called a Denver hit-and-run “epidemic” that only seems to become worse each year.
Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal act in Colorado with punishments that correlate to the severity of the crime. For example:
Property Damage hit-and-run
A hit-and-run resulting in property damage is only a class 2 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $300 and up to 90 days in jail
Non-serious Injury hit-and-run
A hit-and-run resulting in non-serious injury is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail.
Serious Injury hit-and-run
This constitutes a felony under Colorado law and is punishable by up to six years in state prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
Fatal Injury hit-and-run
This, too, is a felony. It is punishable by up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.
Steps to Take if You are a hit-and-run Victim
Being the victim of a hit-and-run can be a frightening experience, especially if you’re badly injured. Fortunately, there are specific steps you can take to improve your chances of both locating the perpetrator and obtaining compensation for your injuries and property damage.
The following is a brief look at five actions you should take in the immediate aftermath of a hit-and-run:
1. Call the Police and Your Own Insurance Company
Calling the police and having them write a police report will establish a record of what happened. You should also call your own insurance company to notify them of the accident.
2. Take Photos
Taking photos of the accident scene following a hit-and-run allows you to capture details that can prove highly relevant to your personal injury claim. These photos can be powerful evidence when trying to substantiate your injuries and proving fault of the other party.
3. Locate Witnesses
It is generally the case that witnesses to a hit-and-run accident are willing to tell law enforcement what they saw happen. If you’re able to, politely ask witnesses to remain on the scene until professional help arrives. This is especially important
4. Seek Treatment
Seek a medical evaluation, even if you think you haven’t sustained any serious injuries. Being involved in a hit-and-run can raise your levels of adrenaline, a hormone that can temporarily conceal the pain. And some injuries can mask other injuries. As the hours and days go by, more serious injuries can reveal themselves.
5. Speak with a Lawyer
Perhaps the single most beneficial move to make after being involved in a hit-and-run is exploring your legal options with the help of a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer is very likely going to have access to investigators who are skilled at hit-and-run accident reconstruction, as well as tracking down possible suspects. They can give you advice concerning insurance coverages that may be available to you. Being represented by experienced legal counsel will make it easier for you to navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Contact Whalen Hersh – Colorado Injury Lawyers
Following a hit-and-run, know that Whalen Hersh is a Denver area law firm that is standing by ready to help you explore your legal options. We are accomplished trial lawyers with a strong track record of achieving client satisfaction.