An auto accident, regardless of how minor, is stressful and frustrating to say the least. In most cases though, both drivers, even the at-fault driver, will stop and remain at the scene of the accident until it’s been properly reported.
But if the other driver doesn’t stop – known as a hit and run – the stress and frustrations of getting into an accident can double. This accident on Hwy 24 in Park County is just one example of many.
Penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are pretty stiff in Colorado. If it’s a minor fender-bender, it’s only a misdemeanor. But if the accident causes a major injury, a hit & run jumps to a felony offense. If a death occurs, the penalty is even more severe.
Another feeling common in a hit & run is a feeling of despair. Who will compensate me for treatment, lost wages and damages?
Before we explain what you should do if you’re involved in a hit & run collision, one thing you should never ever do is chase the other driver. One, you have no way of knowing the driver’s condition and what they’ll do if you confront them. You will also be driving at a high rate of speed with your adrenaline pumping, which can also lead to an accident you would be held responsible for.
Of course the first thing you must do in any accident is make sure you and your passengers are okay. Besides contacting the police to file a report, the best thing to do in a hit & run auto accident is to get as much information as you can. We certainly understand that may be hard to do in this situation, but a description of the vehicle (color, make, model) and the driver should be your first priority. A license plate number is even better if you can get it.
At the very least, try and write down as many details of the events as you can…location and time are also good points to document. If there are any witnesses, try and get their contact information.
Once you’ve filed the police report, you can then try and file an insurance claim. At this point, it’s advisable you consult with a Denver auto accident attorney to determine the best option for your individual situation.
For example, if you have a tag number, you may try and file a claim with the other driver’s insurance, assuming they have the necessary coverage to pay your claim.
If that isn’t an option, which sadly is the case most of the time, you can turn to your own insurance company. In this case though, you will need to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you do, you may be able to “stack” your policies in order to obtain the full amount to compensate for your damages.
If you do not have uninsured/underinsured coverage, you may have to absorb the costs of the accident, which is why it’s absolutely critical you agree to this coverage when you sign up for a policy.
Hit & run auto accidents can be troubling, but if you’re able to get information about the other driver, you can increase the odds of obtaining some sort of compensation for your injuries, damages and lost wages.