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Last updated: June 13, 2023

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run in Colorado

Someone hit your car and drove away. Can you get compensated for your losses?

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A hit-and-run is perhaps one of the most cowardly traffic violations. It occurs when someone hits your car and then leaves the scene without exchanging information or filing a police report. In Colorado, it’s illegal on multiple counts. But what do you do if you’re a victim of a hit-and-run? Does car insurance apply if you don’t know who the at-fault driver is? We’ll answer all of your questions and more regarding hit-and-runs in Colorado.

What to Do After Hit-and-Run Accidents in Colorado

  1. Call 911. Get medical help, if needed, and call a police officer so you can file a report. Do not leave the scene of the accident before you contact the police.
  2. Gather evidence. If you saw the car that hit you, write down its general description and license plate number if you can get it. Also, record the direction the vehicle was headed, and take pictures of the scene and any damages to your vehicle. Additionally, it pays to find witnesses and get their contact information so they can share their perspectives on the accident with your insurance provider and the police, bolstering your insurance claim.
  3. File a claim. If you’re unable to figure out the identity of the hit-and-run driver, you’ll need to file a first-party claim, meaning with your own insurance provider, for your property damages and the injuries of anyone in your car. Make sure you do it within three years of the collision, given Colorado’s statute of limitations for both property damage and personal injury claims. For third-party claims, keep reading.


After an accident, stay in place until the police arrive; chasing a hit-and-run driver is dangerous.

Recovering Damages

In the best-case scenario with a hit-and-run, the police are able to identify the at-fault driver. Assuming that driver has liability insurance, your insurance provider would file a third-party claim for your damages and medical costs. But if you’re still not made whole, because Colorado is an at-fault state with modified comparative negligence law, you can sue for damages so long as you were less than 50 percent at fault in the collision.

Another option is to use your insurance coverages, such as the following.

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM): This coverage could pay for your and your passengers’ medical costs, as well as your property damage.
  • Collision coverage: Collision coverage would pay for your vehicle damage.
  • Medical payments coverage: Medical payments coverage would pay for any medical costs you and your passengers incur as a result of the hit-and-run.

If you never find out who hit you, using your own insurance will be the only option for receiving compensation.

Hit-and-Runs and Car Insurance

Car insurance premiums can increase after an accident — sometimes even if it wasn’t your fault. Whenever you file a first-party claim, there’s a chance your premium will increase, even after a hit-and-run. The one exception is if you have an accident forgiveness policy.

But if the only claim you make is with the other person’s insurance company (third-party claim), your insurance premium will not be affected.

Colorado Hit-and-Run Statistics

To find out just how common hit-and-runs are in the Centennial State, we analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. But note that, for state-specific data, only data surrounding fatal car crashes is available; there is no data surrounding crashes with only property damage or injury.1

By Year

From 2011 to 2021 in Colorado, there were 299 fatal crashes involving hit-and-runs, representing 5 percent of all fatal crashes in the state. Year over year, there were 12 percent more fatal hit-and-runs, on average, or a total increase of 56 percent across this decade.

Year Crashes involving a hit-and-run Crashes not involving a hit-and-run All fatal crashes Percentage involving hit-and-runs
2011 18 389 407 4%
2012 33 401 434 8%
2013 15 417 432 3%
2014 20 431 451 4%
2015 24 483 507 5%
2016 31 527 558 6%
2017 28 572 600 5%
2018 41 547 588 7%
2019 29 516 545 5%
2020 32 542 574 6%
2021 28 610 638 4%
Total 299 5,435 5,734 5%
Average 27 494 521 5%

By Driver Involvement

Looking at the most recent data only, nearly half of all drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in Colorado in 2021 were driving under the influence of alcohol, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. No drivers were drowsy, 7 percent were distracted, and 9 percent were speeding.

Driver involvement Number of drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in 2021 in Colorado Percentage of total
Alcohol impairment (BAC of 0.08% or higher) 22 48%
Drowsy driver 0 0%
Distracted driver 3 7%
Speeding 4 9%
Total 46 N/A

By Age

In Colorado in 2021, the plurality of drivers in fatal hit-and-runs whose ages were known were between 25 and 34 years old (38 percent). Eighteen percent were age 45 to 54.

Age group Number of drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in Colorado in 2021 Percentage of total known drivers
16-20 3 9%
21-24 3 9%
25-34 13 38%
35-44 4 12%
45-54 6 18%
55-64 4 12%
65-74 1 3%
Unknown 12 N/A
Total known 34 N/A
Total 46 N/A

By Sex

Of the drivers whose sexes were known, men were driving in fatal hit-and-runs 76 percent of the time.

Sex Number of drivers involved in fatal hit-and-runs in Colorado in 2021 Percentage of total known drivers
Male 26 76%
Female 8 24%
Reported as unknown 12 N/A
Total known 34 N/A
Total 46 N/A


In Colorado, it’s legal for insurance companies to base pricing on your sex, as men are statistically more likely to get into accidents and cost insurers more money.2

Hit-and-Run Laws in Colorado

Technically, if you hit someone’s car, flee the scene, and don’t report the accident to the police, you’re committing two offenses: failure to stop and failure to report.

If you’re involved in an accident that causes injury, serious bodily injury (which we define below), or death, you must immediately stop at the scene or as close as possible to the scene. Then, Colorado law requires you to exchange the following information with the other driver and occupants, if any:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Driver’s license information

On top of that, you must provide “reasonable assistance,” helping any injured parties access medical treatment. Next, you must report the accident to the police immediately, provided it involved injury, serious injury, and/or death.3

Failure to Stop

But what happens if you hit a parked car, for example, and keep on driving? This is known as failure to stop. In that case, and any time you engage in a hit-and-run, you could be guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the consequences of the crash.

Consequences of hit-and-run in Colorado Injury Serious bodily injury Death
Conviction Class 1 misdemeanor Class 4 felony Class 3 felony
License revocation Yes Yes Yes
Length of imprisonment 10 days-1 year 2-4 years 4-8 years
Fine $300-$1,000 $2,000-$500,000 $3,000-$750,000
Restitution Yes May be required May be required
Community service May be required Only if you fail to pay fine Only if you fail to pay fine
Length of parole None 1 year 1 year

What’s the difference between injury and serious bodily injury? Unlike a regular injury, Colorado statutes define serious bodily injury as having, at the time of the actual injury or later, a substantial risk of:

  • Death
  • Serious permanent disfigurement
  • Protected loss or impairment of the function of any part/organ of the body
  • Breaks, fractures, and second- or third-degree burns

Failure to Report

Failure to report a car accident with any injuries or deaths to the police is a Class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado, punishable by 10 to 90 days of imprisonment, a fine of $150 to $300, or both. You may also be required to pay restitution or perform community service.4


Want to learn more about hit-and-runs? Read our in-depth hit-and-run report, which covers every state in the U.S. Even though it may seem like an easy way out, hit-and-runs aren’t just unethical; they’re also illegal and can result in fines, license revocations, and even imprisonment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What evidence is needed to convict a hit-and-run in Colorado?

To convict a driver of a hit-and-run in Colorado, the prosecutor must provide evidence of the following:

  • Voluntary act: The act was voluntary, or the person omitted to perform an act they were physically capable of performing (in this case, stopping after an accident, exchanging information with the other driver, and reporting it to the police).
  • Culpable mental state: The hit-and-run driver was mentally culpable, meaning they committed the act intentionally, knowingly, willfully, recklessly, or with criminal negligence.


  1. Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2023).

  2. Auto Insurance Premiums Report. Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. (2023).

  3. 2016 Colorado Revised Statutes Title 42 – Vehicles and Traffic Regulation of Vehicles and Traffic Article 4 – Regulation of Vehicles and Traffic Part 16 – Accidents and Accident Reports § 42-4-1603. Duty to give notice, information, and aid. JUSTIA US Law. (2016).

  4. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 42-4-1701. Casetext. (2023).