Colorado’s Hit-&-Run Laws

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Colorado's Hit-&-Run Laws

Each hit-and-run accident is unique. Nobody can be sure exactly how they are going to respond to intense emotions such as panic and dread. The exact details of a hit-and-run accident and the way you choose to react are significant determinants in establishing your innocence or, as the case may be, your guilt. 

Following a car accident here in Colorado, you are legally compelled to pull over as quickly as you can safely manage and stay at the accident site. All drivers are required to swap insurance and contact information with one another and, in the event of a serious collision, they are required to stay put until the authorities get there, investigate, and give you permission to leave the scene. On top of all that, you are legally required to offer reasonable help to anybody who was injured during the accident, like phoning the police for emergency assistance and waiting for them to get there. If you neglect to stop, you can be arrested and charged with a hit-and-run.

Penalties for a Hit-and-Run Accident

In the event that you are charged with committing a hit and run, you could be facing a very harsh sentence pursuant to the facts of your case. The law in Colorado distinguishes between four classifications of hit-and-run accidents:

  • If the collision only results in property damage, it is considered a Class-2 misdemeanor, punishable by as long as one year in county jail and as much as $1,000 in administrative fines
  • If the collision results in an injury, it is considered a Class-1 misdemeanor, punishable by as long as 18 months in county jail and as much as $5,000 in administrative fines
  • If the collision results in grievous bodily harm, it is considered a Class-5 felony, punishable by as long as three years in state prison and as much as $500,000 in administrative fines
  • Lastly, if the collision resulted in a death, it is considered a Class-3 felony, punishable by as long as 12 years in state prison and as much as $750,000 in administrative fines

The charges against you may be categorized as a felony or a misdemeanor and, based on the specifics of your situation, punishments might involve the suspension of your driver’s license or possibly even its automatic revocation.

The sentences are usually based on the kind of accident. For example, if your hit-and-run collision resulted in an injury, you are probably going to be charged with a Class-I misdemeanor offense which carries with it a jail term of as long as one full year. If convicted, you will also lose your driving privileges. You might also have to face a civil lawsuit if your victim chooses to file a personal injury claim in order to obtain financial compensation for their damages.

If, however, you flee the scene of the accident and somebody has died, you will then be facing Class-3 Felony Offense charges. Should you be convicted, you could be sentenced to as long as 12 years in state prison. You might also encounter a wrongful death lawsuit, forcing you to financially reimburse the family of the deceased for their loss of consortium, lost income, and pain and suffering.

The sentences will grow increasingly harsh if either drug or alcohol use were contributing factors to the crash. Despite the fact that hit-and-run accidents come under the label of traffic offenses, they might not always be handled in this way. One reason is the ubiquitous public distaste for drivers who choose to flee the site of the accident. These events are extensively reported by the media, and there is almost no compassion for someone who runs into another vehicle and then flees the scene of the accident, recognizing that the collision has most likely caused serious injuries to the people who are in the other car.

Do I Have a Valid Insurance Claim?

If you sustain an injury or your vehicle sustains damage as the result of a hit-and-run accident where the driver remains unknown, then you are able to file a claim against your own car insurance.

The law in Colorado forces insurance carriers to extend the option uninsured/underinsured driver coverage as part of every car insurance policy. So as long as you did not willfully decline uninsured motorists insurance, then you should still be covered.

If you are hit by a motorist who leaves the scene of the accident and their identity is never made known, then uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage will pay for your physical injuries and the physical injuries suffered by and of your passengers. Uninsured motorist property damage will cover any damage done to your vehicle in the event you are in a collision with a hit-and-run driver.

Should your insurance carrier challenge your hit-and-run case or act in bad faith, it is possible that you might need to sue your insurance provider in order to get them to adhere to the terms of your auto insurance policy. Our hit-and-run attorneys are skilled negotiators who face dealing with giant insurance conglomerates every single day.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury as the result of another person’s negligence, then you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for damages. You need a reputable personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling these kinds of cases. 

Seeking Legal Help

If you are seeking legal representation for a pending lawsuit and you want an attorney who is esteemed, qualified, and knowledgeable in handling these sorts of injury cases, then the personal injury attorneys at the Injury Victim Law offices are just who you’re looking for.

If you would like a free consultation with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys regarding your pending personal injury case, we are here to help. Please reach out to us by calling (800) 245-2774 to schedule your appointment for your free consultation today.

 

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