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Denver Personal Injury Law Blog

Insurance coverage after hit-and-run accident

In our last post, we began speaking about seeking punitive damages in hit-and-run cases. As we noted last time, even when they are awarded, the collection of punitive damages—or compensatory damages for that matter—isn’t always possible due to offending motorist’s lack of insurance and financial solvency.

The reasons why motorists flee from the scene of an auto accident that they caused vary, of course, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the rate of uninsured motorists is higher in hit-and-run cases than in ordinary crashes. Uninsured motorists know that, in addition to possible criminal charges, they can face personal financial responsibility if they remain at the scene of an accident. So what happens, then, when the motorist flees and isn’t caught, or when the motorist is caught but is unable to pay a judgment? And how can an attorney help?

Seeking punitive damages in hit and run cases

Recent posts on this blog have focused on the issue of what damages may be available in hit-and-run accident cases in Colorado. We’ve already spoken briefly about economic and non-economic damages. There is another type of damages, though, that we would like to discuss in this post: punitive damages.

Punitive or exemplary damages are a unique category of damages because they are only available in certain types of cases, and for a purpose quite different from compensatory damages. While compensatory damages are intended to compensate the accident victim for his or her injuries and other losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the offender in a civil context and to deter other from acting the same way. 

How do I obtain non-economic damages in Colorado?

In our last post, we began speaking about the distinction between economic and non-economic damages. As we noted, non-economic damages include a variety of losses that cannot be readily measured in monetary terms, and many states put caps on these damages in order to make sure that juries don’t come up with excessive awards.

Here in Colorado, non-economic damages are generally capped for personal injury cases at $366,250, though courts are given the discretion to award more than this depending on the circumstances. For wrongful death awards, non-economic damages have a slightly lower cap of $341,250, though the possibility of upward deviation exists in these cases as well.

Damages in Colorado hit-and-run cases

Last week, cycling champion Lance Armstrong reportedly pleaded guilty to charges connected to a hit-and-run accident last year in Aspen. Nobody was injured or killed in the crash, though there were property damages when Armstrong side-swiped two parked cars near a ski resort. Sources said Armstrong paid fines and court costs through the mail, and was able to avoid a public appearance.

Hit-and-run doesn’t always end so well for offenders, of course, particularly when somebody is injured or killed. Criminal charges for hit-and-run are an important part of the achieving justice for accident victims, but personal injury litigation can also be an important part of the picture.

Victory for Flesch Law Client!

Dominic Pasquale suffered injuries at the hands of Denver's sheriff deputies, causing him to require surgery and miss work for an extended period of time. Attorney Kevin Flesch filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court on behalf Mr. Pasquale, prevailed, and the Denver City Council approved the settlement.

Fouls at Home During & After Superbowl

Denver Metro Police prepare for up to an 8% increase in 911 calls in the few hours following a Denver Broncos loss. Calls include harassment, property damage, domestic violence, riots, drunk driving and assault. Alcohol contributes to the sharp increase. Superbowl Sunday alcohol consumption is second only to New Year's Eve.

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