Every day in Colorado and throughout the United States, a pedestrian is involved in an auto/pedestrian accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2016 – which made up 16% of traffic deaths that same year. The severity of an accident may vary from minor injuries to fatal. If death is the result, this may be a case for a wrongful death action. Regardless of whether you are a pedestrian, bicyclist, or driver, a hit and run is an issue that requires serious attention.
Colorado does not take a hit and run lightly
Unfortunately, in recent years, the number of drivers fleeing the scene of an accident has increased. Fortunately, however, Colorado has become increasingly serious about prosecuting and charging individuals involved in a hit and run. Under the Colorado Revised Statute §42-4-1601, a hit and run may result in any of the following:
- A Class 1 misdemeanor conviction, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine;
- If the victim suffered serious injuries, the driver may face up to a Class 5 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison, and fines that can reach up to $500,000;
- If the accident results in death, the driver may face a Class 3 felony and up to 12 years in prison and fines.
The severity of the punishment depends on the facts of the situation.
To further reduce the number of hit and run accidents for pedestrians, aside from enacting strict hit and run laws, Colorado has enacted right-of-way laws that require Colorado drivers to stop and yield for pedestrians. Many other states have followed suit in implementing such laws. According to the Colorado Driver Handbook at section 10.2, the most important points to take away regarding pedestrians are:
- When driving, you should yield the right-of-way to pedestrians under all conditions.
- Be particularly watchful for children, elderly and blind persons.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way at all intersections and crosswalks.
- Drivers must come to a complete stop and let the person pass safely.
The law states who must yield the right-of-way. It does not give a driver the right-of-way, even if the driver’s traffic signal is green.
What if a car hit me and fled the scene?
If you have been involved in a hit and run in Colorado, try to remain calm, stay at the scene immediately following the accident, and do the following:
- Contact emergency medical services if the injury is serious or you think you may require medical attention or seek medical attention as soon as possible even if you think your injuries are minor;
- Contact the police. It is the law to remain at the scene of the accident. It will also be important to file a police report of the incident for your insurance company. Provide the police with as much information about the driver, vehicle, license plate, etc. as possible. This information may help police locate the hit and run driver.
- If possible, try to move your vehicle out of traffic to the side of the road.
- Take pictures of the scene of the accident. Any damage to your car, the weather conditions, the intersection, and anything that may be relevant to the accident.
- If any witnesses were present, ask whether they can provide you their contact information and any information they may have regarding the accident.
- Write down every bit of information you can recall shortly before or during the accident. It will be much harder to recall this information at a later time.
- Contact your insurance company to file a claim and see what your insurance policy covers. If you have underinsurance and uninsurance coverage, it may help you cover some damage that resulted from the accident.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case. Call the experienced personal injury attorneys of Alhasoon, Glidden and Glidden for a free consultation to see how we can get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
If you are a witness, it is important to provide support and help to an individual who has been harmed. Providing any information that may be useful for a hit a run will greatly help to hold those who may be responsible for an individual’s injuries and harm.
A hit and run is a serious crime – the law treats it as such and we certainly do, too! If you are a pedestrian, bicyclist, or driver in Colorado that has suffered damages or injury from a hit and run, call the experienced personal injury attorneys of Alhasoon, Glidden and Glidden for a free consultation on your options for compensation We get paid only when we recover compensation for you!