After a hit and run collision, you may be left feeling confused and alone. Who was responsible for your accident and your injuries? What happens next? Worse, the hit and run may have exacerbated your injuries caused by the accident, or created a longer gap between injury and treatment, increasing your pain and suffering. Once the individual who caused your hit and run accident has been identified, it may be time to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you were injured in a hit and run accident, contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC today at (303) 665-2929. Our knowledgeable, compassionate Boulder car accident attorneys are standing by to help you better navigate the details of your hit and run case.
At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we don’t just want to ensure that our customers are able to get the full compensation they’re owed—though in many cases, we’ve managed to obtain settlements totaling millions of dollars for our clients. More importantly, we want to be sure that our clients get the funds that they need to properly recover from injury and ensure a productive return to ordinary activities. We provide caring, compassionate legal services as we work with our clients, and work to help ensure full compensation for their injuries.
What Are Hit and Run Accidents?
A hit and run accident occurs when one driver involved in an accident leaves the scene of the crime; while the collision may have been accidental, fleeing the scene is usually not. When involved in an accident, drivers are required to stop, exchange insurance information, and contact the authorities or medical providers if necessary. Leaving the scene of the accident can lead to significant legal trouble for the driver involved, including criminal prosecution.
Hit and run accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, whether they’re between two or more drivers, a driver and a pedestrian, or a driver and a bicyclist. These may include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord trauma
- Broken bones
- Internal damage
- Sprains, strains, and other soft tissue damage
- Significant lacerations
Any type of injury sustained in a hit and run accident is the responsibility of the drivers involved. More importantly, hit and run accidents may also involve increased injury as a result of failure to provide aid following the accident; when a victim’s injuries or pain and suffering is enhanced by the other driver’s failure to observe proper post-accident protocol, the extent of these damages should be the responsibility of the driver who left the scene.
Responsible Parties in a Hit and Run Accident
Leaving the scene of an accident in the state of Colorado is a crime and may be prosecuted as such. In Colorado, it’s legally required that drivers involved in an accident stop and provide needed assistance if someone was injured as a result of an accident in which they were involved. This includes, but is not limited to, making arrangements for emergency transportation to a medical facility if needed, and complying with law enforcement or emergency personnel dispatched to the scene. If more significant injuries were sustained as a result of the driver leaving the scene, these injuries are considered to be the responsibility of that driver.
What Happens if the At-Fault Driver is Never Caught?
A lot can happen at the beginning of an accident and that initial chaos can allow the at-fault driver to leave the scene before their information can be documented. Victims may be too injured or distressed to make note of the other vehicle’s license plate or there might not be any security footage to help track down the at-fault driver. If victims do not have the information of the at-fault driver, then it is nearly impossible to file a claim against their insurance company. In this situation, the victims’ own insurance policy should step in to cover the damages.
However, the state of Colorado only requires a minimum mandatory coverage of $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per person for property damage, and $5,000 per accident for medical payments. If you are seriously injured in a hit and run accident, minimum coverage may not be enough to cover the costs of your injuries and recovery.
This is why insurance providers are required to offer drivers Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage. These optional additions to your insurance policy are designed to increase the amount of damages you can receive from your own insurance company in specific accidents:
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: This policy provides coverage if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, including in cases of phantom driving and hit-and-run accidents. Adding this policy to your current insurance plan will provide additional coverage for any injuries or damages caused as a result of a hit-and-run, ensuring that you are not forced to pay out of pocket when you are recovering from an accident.
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Many motorists only apply for the minimum mandatory coverage, which may not cover all the damages sustained in an accident. A UIM policy provides additional coverage for such scenarios. If the other driver’s insurance policy does not fully cover bodily injury or property damage, a UIM policy will cover the difference up to your policy’s limit.
Both policies can go a long way to helping you recover compensation from an accident, but it is important to review all your options after an accident. Insurance companies are focused on maximizing their profitability and will attempt to get out of providing coverage if it can save them money. An experienced Colorado car accident attorney will understand their tactics and be ready to counter them, ensuring their clients receive the compensation they are owed. The attorneys at Tenge Law Firm, LLC will review options in a case, including our clients’ own auto insurance policy.
What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Hit and Run?
After a hit and run, there are several types of damages that can be recovered depending on the circumstances of the victim’s injuries. These may include:
- Medical bills, including compensation for reasonably anticipated future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Funeral and/or burial expenses
Working with a lawyer is the most effective way to determine exactly what damages you may be entitled to following a hit and run accident. Your lawyer will be able to help identify damages associated with the accident, assemble the proper documentation and testimony to prove those damages, and help you present a case or negotiate a settlement from the strongest position possible.
Common Defenses in Boulder Hit and Run Accidents
The most common defense for a hit and run incident is that the driver didn’t realize what occurred: that is, he didn’t know that property was damaged or that someone was injured as a result of his actions. Note that it may not be considered a hit and run accident if the driver was too injured to remain at the scene, or if he left the scene of the accident in order to summon police or medical help. A driver who is guilty of a hit and run may attempt to prove that he left the scene for one of these reasons, rather than acknowledging responsibility for his actions.
You may also find that the driver’s insurance company attempts to prevent you from collecting the full value of your injuries pursuant to a settlement. Immediately following the accident, you may receive a settlement offer that doesn’t reflect the full damages you’ve suffered as a result of the accident; this settlement can deny you future compensation if you accept it. Working with your lawyer is the most effective way to prevent unfair settlement offers and ensure that you are fully compensated for the amount of your injuries.
How Much Will a Boulder Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Cost Me?
After a hit and run accident, you may be worried about the associated legal fees. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we’ll set up a free consultation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident and learn more about whether or not you have a case. If we agree to move forward together, we often take clients on a contingent fee basis. This means we’ll only collect attorney’s fees as a portion of any settlement or judgment obtained, allowing us to get to work on your case immediately.
Get the Legal Support You Deserve
If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident, don’t wait to get the legal help you deserve. Contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC online today or call at (303) 665-2929. We can set up your free consultation, learn more about your case, and help support you through the often-challenging legal process following your hit and run accident.