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How Often Are Hit-and-Runs Solved?

By Timothy Bussey on March 15, 2021

If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run recently, you may be holding out hope that the police will be able to solve your case quickly. Sadly, the statistics point to a cold case as the most likely outcome. That does not necessarily mean, however, that you will not be able to recover the compensation you deserve.

How Police Identify Hit-and-Run Offenders

Hit-and-runs can be particularly difficult to solve. The victims of this crime are often turned around due to the accident, and unable to pick out distinguishing features of the at-fault vehicle or driver. On top of that, the at-fault driver is often able to speed away before law enforcement can arrive on the scene, leaving very little evidence behind. That doesn’t mean it is impossible to solve a hit-and-run crime, however.

Police will usually turn to witnesses, security footage, and photos of the scene in order to find key identifying information. In some cases, forensic tests may be run on paint chips or even tire marks left behind in order to narrow down the kind of vehicle involved. In some lucky cases, witnesses or victims may be able to provide a full or partial license plate number, which can go a long way in identifying the driver. Sadly, that kind of evidence is rare, meaning that many hit-and-runs go unsolved.

The Statistics on Hit-and-Runs

Recently, a study was performed by Psychreg on the number of hit-and-runs that are actually solved every year in England and Whales. Their research shows abysmal numbers. Nearly 90% of all hit-and-runs are left unsolved; police usually only have an 8%-10% success rate when it comes to this type of crime. While those numbers are for across the pond, they hold true for the United States, and Colorado.

In fact, the Los Angeles Daily News reported a few years ago that just 8% of all hit-and-runs in the city are ever solved. These finding match those found by Psychreg, so it isn’t a stretch to believe that Colorado Springs most likely has similar numbers. Out of 10 hit-and-run cases, only one culprit will be found, if that.

One of the main reasons behind these numbers, on top of the difficulties we laid out in the section above, is the lack of manpower. All hit-and-run cases in a city are often assigned to a small team of officers, usually only three or four. This means, on top of evidence being hard to come by, officers cannot dedicate much time to each case. Even if there are only 350 hit-and-runs in Colorado Springs over the course of a year, that still means a new case almost every day. That is simply too much work for such a small team to handle.

If you are a hit-and-run victim, then these numbers may have left you feeling hopeless. How will the police ever find the culprit behind your injuries? Well, the numbers may be disheartening, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any resources.

When You are Involved in a Hit-and-Run

The first thing you should do following a hit-and-run is call the police. The faster the police arrive, the more likely they are to find key evidence before it spoils. After that, if you are not hindered by severe injuries, you should write down everything you remember about the driver and the vehicle that hit you. This can include:

  • Make and model of the car, truck, or SUV
  • Distinguishing features of the vehicle (such as dents, scratches or odd paint jobs)
  • Distinguishing features of the driver
  • Partial or full license plate
  • The time and location of the collision

Give all of this information to the officers who arrive at the scene. Of course, considering how often these crimes are solved, you may be wondering what the point of all this is. Well, it is always possible your case will in the 10% that are solved. You should do everything you can to help the police, as having someone to file a claim against will help you recover as much compensation as possible.

However, don’t give up hope on a settlement. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, then you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance provider. Of course, this will be just as difficult as any other claim, and you shouldn’t assume that just because the claim is with your own insurance company that you will get a high settlement. Instead, you should speak with a skilled CO car accident attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us, The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., at (719) 475-2555 to begin your free consultation.

Posted in: Car Accidents


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