A hit-and-run accident is one where one of the involved parties flees the scene after the incident in an attempt to avoid responsibility. In almost all hit-and-run cases, the party who flees the scene is the one responsible for the accident. However, a person may also try to get away if they want to avoid prosecution for another misconduct, such as the possession of contraband.
There are different hit-and-run scenarios:
- You park your car in a public area and walk away. A driver hits your car in your absence and drives off without you knowing their identity or when the incident occurred.
- A driver hits your car while you are using the road. After the collision, the driver first assesses your condition and damage to your vehicle before leaving the scene.
- The driver hits or clips your car and drives away without stopping.
In the above scenarios, the driver who played a prominent role in the accident failed to provide the required information. According to Colorado Law, any person who is involved in a road accident must provide the following to the other parties:
- Legal name
- Driver’s license and state of origin
- Identification number of their vehicle
- Their insurance carrier’s details, including the entity name, address, and contact information
If a person doesn’t stop to present the above information, they make themselves guilty of hit-and-run and may face a criminal charges and civil suit.
What to Do if You Were in a Hit-and-Run
If you were involved in a road accident, you might suffer from injuries and shock, which makes it difficult to take immediate action. However, by taking a few critical steps, you can increase the chances of a successful criminal prosecution and civil claim.
The first step is to seek immediate medical attention, even if there are no apparent injuries. If you are not able to call an ambulance, ask a bystander to do so.
Then, contact the police so they can start the process of finding the offender. Police will also begin preparing a report.
After contacting the authorities, try to remember the details of the incident. Information such as the make, color, model, and license plate of the vehicle that hit you can help law information to find and apprehend the offender. Try to get the contact details of eyewitnesses who may have the information you need for a successful case.
As the victim of a hit-and-run, you may be tempted to chase after the vehicle and apprehend them yourself. However, you may make yourself guilty of a traffic offense or another felony in the process. Additionally, trying to find the offender is also not as important as receiving emergency medical attention.
Who is the Liable Party in the Event of a Hit-and-Run?
When a person is in control of a vehicle and an accident happens because of negligence or a lack of care, that person is liable for the accident and responsible for any damages. For example, if person A suffers losses because of person B’s negligent driving, B is responsible for the compensation.
The problem with hit-and-run incidents is that the identity of the potential defendant is unknown, and there is no person against whom you can pursue claims for damages and injuries. The fact that the offending party is absent doesn’t mean that you become liable.
When law enforcement finds the negligent party, you will be able to proceed with a civil action like you would in the case of a typical road accident. However, the offender may face a criminal charge because they left the scene.