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What To Do After A Hit and Run

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February 15, 2022 Car Accidents

Unfortunately, Colorado has a lot of hit-and-run accidents- about 500 a month! Even if it’s never happened to you, everybody should know the basics of what to do after a hit and run. After an accident, it’s frustrating and stressful when you don’t have all the answers. So, here are some tips and pointers for what to do after a hit and run in Colorado.

How to prepare for the worst

One of the best things you can do to prepare for a car accident is to make sure you are covered by uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects drivers when they get into an accident with others who are either uninsured or whose policy limits are not sufficient to cover the damages. It’s required in the state of Colorado to have these minimums, but as we’ve learned from previous cases, the minimum sometimes doesn’t cover all the bills. Residents of Colorado can also waive this minimum requirement by signing a waiver with their insurance company, leaving you with no insurance coverage from the at-fault party. Learn more about Colorado’s car insurance requirements here.

What to do in a hit-and-run if you’re insured

Is everybody okay? Check on everyone in the car, and if there are no injuries, call the police and stay at the scene. The law actually requires everybody to stay where they are and call the police in order to preserve the official record for your insurance company. If there are injuries, provide basic first aid and if there are more serious injuries that require professional help, call for and wait on emergency medical services to arrive. If it’s possible, try to also get your vehicle towards the shoulder or side of the road.

While you’re waiting at the scene, collect as much information as you can that could be significant to your insurance company and personal injury attorney. This could be things like taking photos, videos, or audio of the scene, injuries, road or scene conditions, damage, and/or photos of people present.

What to do in a hit-and-run if you’re not insured

Penalties for driving without insurance can include steep fines, community service, and suspension of your license. If you don’t have a copy of your insurance card when you get into an accident but have active coverage, the police officer might be able to look you up in the insurance database, but they may also give you a ticket for not having it on hand. The State of Colorado mandates that drivers carry the following minimum limits on their policies: Bodily injury coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and Property damage coverage of $15,000 per accident. Uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage is also required by default in Colorado. However, you can opt out by signing a waiver. 

A minimum of $5,000 in Medical Payment (often called Medpay) in coverage is also required in Colorado. (Again, you can opt out by signing a waiver.) But it is highly recommended to have both UM/UIM and Medpay because if you are hit by an uninsured driver, this will be the only insurance coverage available. Medical Payment coverage can provide reimbursement for medical bills for you and any passengers in your vehicle at the time an accident occurs and will be paid regardless of which party causes the accident.

Who pays for medical bills in a hit-and-run?

Anytime someone is involved in an accident, insurance questions arise. If you elect to have uninsured motorist coverage, the insurance company can step in when you have property damage and medical bills after a driver leaves the scene of the accident. In most cases, your own uninsured motorist insurance policy will pay for your car and medical bills after a hit-and-run accident. In the event that law enforcement solves the hit and run, the person responsible may face criminal charges in addition to liability for your car and medical bills.

Key Takeaways

  • The best way to prepare for a hit-and-run situation is to make sure you have UM/UIM and Medical Payment coverage
  • Do not chase after the person at fault; stay at the scene and call the police
  • Take pictures and record as much information as you can for insurance and legal purposes
  • For a list of things to photograph or record, reference this list:
    • License plate number
    • Vehicle make, model and color and any distinguishing features (bumper stickers, custom paint, decals, rust spots, etc.)
    • Any damage to the other vehicle you may have seen
    • The direction the vehicle sped off in
    • An accurate description of what happened and when
    • Location details (are there any traffic cams or security cameras nearby?)
    • Any other information you can provide about the other driver or vehicle (speeding, reckless driving, etc.)
    • Photos of the scene, damage to your car, and any other property
    • Witness contact information and reports

We hope this prepares you for what to do after a hit and run! If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, contact our Denver Car accident attorneys for a free case evaluation. We are dedicated to ensuring you receive full, fair, and complete compensation for your injuries.