It is easy to consider someone who was robbed, murdered, or assaulted as the victim of a crime. But what about someone who suffers because of the results of a traffic crime? Violent crime is not the only transgression that yields suffering. Someone who suffers because of a traffic crime is a victim too.
Victims of traffic crimes should have access to the same resources as all other victims of crime do. The State of Colorado is one of only four states that recognize victims of traffic crimes as victims and provide resources to these individuals. Colorado has several victim assistance programs that provide services in a number of areas.
How Does One Qualify for Victim Compensation?
There are circumstances that guarantee rights to victims of traffic crimes:
- Vehicular homicide
- Careless driving that results in the death of another
- Failure to stop at the scene of an accident that results in death or serious bodily injury
To be eligible for compensation in Colorado, criteria must be met:
- The victim sustains mental or bodily injury or dies.
- The victim cooperates with law enforcement.
- Police were notified within 72 hours of the crime.
- Injury or death was not due to the victim’s wrongdoing or significant incitement.
- The application requesting compensation is submitted within one year from the date of the proposed crime or within six months for claims regarding property damage.
If a traffic crime results in death, family members of the deceased have the right to victim compensation and can file on their behalf. Losses are eligible to family members, often in the form of damages.
How Much Compensation Can A Victim Recieve?
We understand the financial burden that victims of traffic crimes have to carry. At Bachus & Schanker, we want you to be aware of the financial assistance that is available to you. The aftermath of traffic crimes can be financially and emotionally exhausting. Knowing some of the resources available to you can help ease some of the weight you may be carrying and bring some peace of mind. Per Colorado guidelines, the victim compensation program grants victims:
- Up to $30,000 for out-of-pocket costs not covered by insurance or other collateral resources
- Up to $2,000 in emergency funds that are directly related to the crime
Who Investigates a Traffic Crime in Colorado?
Colorado has set up a team in each of the five field districts known as the Vehicular Crimes Unit (VCU). Team members have been specially trained and possess the necessary skills to investigate and reconstruct serious automobile crashes. The VCU is responsible for investigating most crashes involving fatalities and felony charges.
Are There Any Programs That Support Victims of Crime?
Colorado offers a number of supportive services to victims of traffic crimes. Traffic Crimes Victims Assistance outlines specific support and resources pertaining to the aftermath of a traffic crime and the criminal justice system, such as:
- Crisis intervention
- Resources and direct services to vehicle collision victims:
- Assistance at the scene
- Finding towed vehicles
- Assistance obtaining a copy of the crash report
- Assistance filing an insurance claim
- Updates regarding all critical stages of the crime
- Information regarding eligibility for victim compensation
- Assistance completing all relevant forms
Should I Hire an Attorney if I’m a Traffic Crime Victim?
The choice to hire an attorney is entirely yours. Each case is different and should be approached as such. However, hiring a personal injury attorney on your behalf in a traffic crime has many benefits. A personal injury attorney can:
- Help you navigate the ins and outs of your traffic crime case
- Go to bat on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation
- Explain victims rights
- Answer any legal questions you may have
- Ensure your case meets Colorado’s standard for burden of proof
- Help ease some of the load that comes with being a victim of a traffic crime
- Ensure deadlines are met, and the proper procedures are followed
Should you find yourself in a position where a personal injury attorney is in your best interest, contact us. Our team of experienced legal professionals is ready to help you and your family through the arduous journey following a traffic crime. We are more than just a legal team. We are a team that will show you the compassion, understanding, and support you need.
Crime Victim Compensation. (2022).
Weiser, S. (2022). Colorado one of only four states to offer traffic crimes’ victims assistance.