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Hit and Run accidents are on the rise in Denver: Is fear defeating humanitarian instincts?

There is an epidemic sweeping the metropolitan Denver, Colorado area, and it is putting people in hospitals and morgues at an alarming rate. But it is not an infectious disease; it is hit and run accidents. Your Denver Accident Attorney reports that at least one person in the core of the metro Denver area is injured every day by a hit and run driver, and nearly three times a month, someone–usually a pedestrian–is killed in Colorado by a driver who flees the scene. In fact, police report 18,662 hit and run accidents of all types in the past three years–or approximately 17 per day–in Denver. Overall traffic fatalities are decreasing, but deaths from hit and run accidents are increasing. Why?

Obviously, there may be criminal penalties for someone who stays on the scene, particularly if they have been speeding and/or drinking. But what about when the motorist bears no responsibility (legally or morally) for the accident? What if the pedestrian stepped in front of the car, or the bicyclist crossed into the wrong lane? What about the jogger late at night with no reflective gear on who was jogging on the wrong side of the road and too far into the road? Why do motorists not stop and try to render aide in these situations? One of the world’s premiere researchers on primate behavior who recently wrote a book on humanism concluded that “to ignore another human being in crisis…is not just inhuman, it goes against all mammalian behavior which is roughly 200 million years old.” The Week, Feb. 21. The researcher goes on to conclude that hit and run drivers do not completely lack empathy, but they lack sufficient empathy to involve themselves in a life-altering event that is perhaps not of their making. 

Your Denver Accident Attorney suggests another plausible explanation for the increase in hit and run accidents is that people may be afraid to stop and help because they think it could be some kind of ruse set up to rob them, or worse. There have been documented ploys by criminals who either pretend to be hurt or who actually get minor injuries in order to lure a driver to the side of the road for the purpose of robbing them, and/or stealing their car. Pretending to be the victim of a grave misfortune in order to perpetrate a crime is despicable, and all the more so when it acts to discourage people from helping the real victims of the real misfortune. 

It is important to distinguish between the increase in the number of traffic accidents and the number of hit and run accidents. The former can be explained by a more congested metropolitan area, with more bikers and pedestrians. The explanation of the latter involves looking at existing laws, enforcement of those laws, and the whole community. “It has to be the community embracing a culture of looking out for their own safety and the safety of others.”

If you have been the victim of a hit and run accident, contact your Denver Accident Attorney at Levine Law today to find out what potential legal remedies you may have.

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