Car accidents happen every day from all types of causes. Some accidents occur because of negligence behind the wheel, while others are the results of intentional misconduct. No matter how an accident happens, the drivers involved are legally required to remain at the scene of the crash and report the incident to 911, waiting for first responders to arrive. When a driver causes an accident and flees the scene, it is known as hit and run.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries and economic losses in a hit and run accident, it is natural to have many pressing legal questions. You may wonder how you can locate the at-fault driver and whether you will be able to hold them accountable for the damages they caused. Your first steps after a hit and run accident are critical to your recovery efforts, so it is essential for all drivers to know what to do in this situation.
How to Resolve a Hit and Run Accident
One of the most important first steps you can take to preserve your ability to recover compensation for a hit and run accident is to consult a Denver car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The right attorney can provide invaluable guidance in the early stages of your recovery efforts. They may coordinate with local law enforcement to help you identify and locate the driver who caused your accident. Your attorney can obtain traffic camera recordings, identify witnesses who saw the accident happen, and assist you in gathering other forms of evidence to help you prove liability for a hit and run.
Once the at-fault driver is located, you can not only proceed with filing an auto insurance claim and a personal injury suit against them, but the state will likely open a criminal case for their violation of the hit and run law. All drivers are required to report accidents that cause property damage, injury, or death, and failure to do so can lead to severe penalties. When a driver leaves the scene of an accident they caused, resulting in property damage, it is likely to lead to a misdemeanor charge. Fleeing the scene of any accident resulting in injury or death will qualify as a felony and lead to more serious penalties for the defendant.
Your Denver car accident attorney can guide you through the insurance claim filing process to help you secure as much compensation as possible as quickly as possible after your accident. Once you exhaust your recovery options through insurance, you can proceed with a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. Because they failed to take proper responsibility for their actions, you could potentially recover punitive damages in addition to your other claimed losses.
Q: What Happens if You’re Injured in a Hit and Run?
A: Your first priority after any accident should be your health and safety. If you can remember any details about the car and/or driver that hit you, be sure to record them and provide them to the police. You should consult an attorney who can help you build a cohesive legal strategy, and they may coordinate with local law enforcement to identify and locate the at-fault driver. Once a hit and run driver is identified, you can proceed with claiming compensation for your damages; they will also face criminal prosecution from the state.
Q: How Much Compensation Can I Claim for a Hit and Run Accident?
A: Once you prove fault for a car accident, the driver who caused the accident can be held liable for your economic damages, including vehicle repair costs, medical expenses for treatment of your injuries, and any income you are unable to earn after the accident. You can also seek limited pain and suffering compensation, and punitive damages could be awarded because the at-fault driver broke the law by attempting to flee the scene of the collision they caused.
Q: What Is the Reporting Law for Car Accidents?
A: State law requires the drivers involved in an accident to stop and remain at the scene of the accident and report it to 911 immediately. This law applies to any accident resulting in property damage, injury, or death. Failure to report an accident can qualify as a hit and run offense that carries severe penalties. If there is any doubt as to whether you need to report a minor accident, it is always smartest to err on the side of caution and report it.
Q: Why Should I Hire an Attorney After a Hit and Run Accident?
A: Although it is not technically required for you to hire an attorney after a hit and run accident, doing so will dramatically improve your chances of success with the recovery efforts you pursue. Your attorney can assist you in gathering the evidence you will need to identify the at-fault driver and hold them accountable for your damages. They can make filing an auto insurance claim easier and assist you in building a personal injury claim if insurance cannot fully compensate you for your damages. They can also help you understand how the illegal nature of the defendant’s actions can influence your recovery.
Q: How Long Will It Take to Locate a Hit and Run Driver?
A: When you report an accident immediately and provide the police with a basic description of the hit and run driver and/or their vehicle, they should hopefully locate them within a few days at most. Traffic camera footage and eyewitness testimony can be incredibly helpful in your efforts to accurately identify and locate the driver who caused your accident.
Experiencing any car accident can be traumatic and damaging, but when you suffer a hit and run accident, it can be incredibly frustrating as well. The sooner you connect with an attorney you can trust, the more likely you are to ensure accountability for the at-fault driver and secure recompense for your losses. Contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal today to schedule a free case evaluation with our team. Learn how we can help you recover from a hit and run accident.