Car accidents are a leading cause of property damage and personal injuries throughout the United States each year. Every state has different rules for resolving car accidents, but not all drivers uphold their legal responsibilities when they cause accidents. A hit-and-run occurs when a driver causes a collision and then flees the scene, attempting to avoid responsibility for their actions. A hit-and-run may occur when the victim’s vehicle is parked and unattended, and these accidents can also happen in active traffic.
When a driver hits a parked vehicle, state law requires them to stop and try to find the vehicle’s owner. If they cannot locate the owner, they are required to leave a note with their contact information and insurance details. Failure to do so would constitute a hit-and-run offense under state law. If you accidentally hit a parked car, be sure to try to locate the vehicle’s owner and leave them a note if you cannot so you will not be criminally charged for hit-and-run.
How to Recover From a Hit-and-Run
Colorado’s fault rule dictates that the driver responsible for an accident is liable for all associated damages. However, before the victim can recover any compensation for their losses, they must first prove liability. When it comes to hit-and-run accidents, this means locating the at-fault driver. If you return to your parked vehicle to notice that someone hit your car and left without leaving a note, it’s easy to feel lost when it comes to proving fault and securing compensation for your damages.
An experienced car accident attorney is an invaluable resource in this situation. The right attorney can consult local police to help locate the driver who hit your vehicle. This might require interviewing any witnesses who saw them hit your car, which may yield a description of the driver and/or their vehicle, security camera footage from nearby businesses, and traffic camera footage if any cameras nearby captured the moments leading up to the crash.
After you identify the at-fault driver, they will probably face prosecution for a hit-and-run while you can proceed with your recovery efforts. Your attorney can help file a claim against their auto insurance. Depending on the scope of their coverage, this could be enough to fully cover your vehicle repair costs, but if they do not have insurance or your losses exceed their coverage, you can proceed with a personal injury claim to recover your remaining damages. Working with experienced legal counsel can not only make your recovery efforts easier to manage but also more likely to generate positive results.
Q: What Is the Penalty for Hit-and-Run of a Parked Car?
A: If a hit-and-run of a parked vehicle only results in property damage, the at-fault driver faces a class 2 traffic misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $300. They will also be responsible for repaying the owner of the vehicle for repairs. If your vehicle was hit while parked and the at-fault driver fled the scene, it is important to consult reliable legal counsel as soon as possible so your attorney can help identify the at-fault driver and hold them accountable.
Q: Is Colorado a No-Fault Accident State?
A: The state follows the fault system for resolving motor vehicle accidents. This means the driver at fault for causing an accident is liable for all damages they cause to others. Whether you believe you can recover from a recent accident through insurance alone or will need to file a personal injury case against the at-fault driver, proving fault is an essential first step in recovering compensation for your damages.
Q: Do You Need to Call the Police to Report All Car Accidents?
A: Colorado law states that drivers must report any accident that results in death, injury, or property damage. Do not assume that if an accident only caused minor cosmetic damage, you do not need to report it. Even if your recent accident only caused minor vehicle damage, it is necessary to report the incident to the police and remain at the scene until they arrive. Failure to do so can lead to criminal penalties, and reporting the collision will mean you can secure a formal police report of the accident. This will be important to your recovery efforts if another driver is responsible for the crash.
Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim for a Car Accident?
A: If you plan to file a personal injury suit against another driver for your recent accident, you must do so within two years of the date the accident happened, or you lose the right to seek compensation from the victim. Once you have determined that another driver is responsible for your damages, you should seek legal representation from an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you start the claim filing process, the more likely you are to maximize your recovery.
Q: How Do I Locate a Hit-and-Run Driver?
A: If your parked vehicle was hit and the driver did not leave a note, or if you were hit and the at-fault driver fled the scene, it is important to report the incident to the police and consult an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can coordinate with local law enforcement to help identify and locate the at-fault driver. This typically requires witness statements, physical evidence from the scene of the accident, and traffic camera footage from the area near where the accident occurred.
Returning to your parked vehicle to find it has been damaged by a hit-and-run driver can be a distressing and frustrating experience. If you find yourself in this situation, working with an experienced car accident attorney offers the greatest chance of correctly identifying the at-fault driver and holding them accountable for their actions. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal can assist you in this situation, so contact us today and schedule a free consultation with our team to learn more about the legal services we offer.