Hit and Run

Hit-and-run accidents typically contain some unique elements which need to be handled carefully.

The main challenge in most cases is finding the driver at-fault. In our experience, these drivers often leave the scene because they were drunk, had an invalid license, were illegally in the country or had a warrant for their arrest.

Miss-and-run accidents are similar except that the at-fault vehicle does not actually make contact with anything. Often, the miss-and-run driver is not even aware that he or she did anything wrong. A classic example is the driver who abruptly changes lanes without signaling, causing a car in the other lane to swerve to avoid the collision but ultimately collide with something else.

It is important to act quickly

Report your claim immediately. Many insurance companies will deny a claim if an accident or wreck is not reported within 24 hours. If the negligent driver has left the scene, report the accident to the police immediately.

If there is an accident alert, go to the nearest police department and fill out a "counter report." Sometimes with careful investigation as well as the help of witnesses, security video tapes, 911 transcripts we can find the negligent driver.  


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Potential avenues for compensation

If it turns out the driver was drunk, then he or she may face criminal penalties. This opens up other issues as well as other potential avenues for compensation. Therefore it is important that you give yourself the best chance of finding the at-fault driver. 

For example, when alcohol or drugs are a factor in causing a motor vehicle accident, punitive damages or exemplary damages may be available. Punitive damages may be awarded by Colorado judges and juries for behavior which is willful, wanton or reckless - in other words, for extremely bad behavior. These damages would be payable in addition to any insurance coverage that the driver has. It may also be possible to apply for compensation under county crime victim programs.

However, at the same time, serious criminal violations can make a wrongful death or personal injury claim more difficult. Often an insurance company will attempt to deny coverage under a “criminal acts exclusion" or an "intentional acts exclusion" in an insurance policy. As such, it is important to characterize most claims in terms of negligence or recklessness rather than intentional or criminal acts. 

If the at-fault driver in your case cannot be found, or if the driver does not have enough insurance to cover your full damages, it may become necessary to file a claim against your own insurance company. These claims are usually pursued through uninsured motorist coverage. 

Once your insurer is involved, it will “take the place” of the at-fault driver. This means it will claim you contributed to the collision and will seek to minimize your injuries, damages, and losses. If you and the insurer cannot agree, arbitration may be available, but in most cases a lawsuit is necessary. 


We serve clients on a contingent fee basis. If we don't recover damages for you, there's no attorney's fee. We have extensive knowledge of the insurance industry that gives you extra leverage in resolving your damages claim on favorable terms. For a free consultation about your rights and options in the aftermath of a car crash, contact Colorado Injury Attorneys. Evening, weekend and in-home appointments are available.