After an accident, the person who caused the wreck should pay for the damages and injuries. All drivers must carry minimum auto insurance policies. But what if the person at fault for the wreck isn’t insured or is underinsured, and lack the insurance to cover your damages? Who pays for your medical bills or vehicle repairs?
Colorado insurance laws dictate who must compensate you for an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. A Denver car accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure you get the maximum compensation for your damages.
Uninsured Motorist Laws in Colorado
Colorado passed fault car insurance laws in 2003. That means all drivers in an accident must seek coverage from the insurance company of the person at fault for the accident. All states require drivers to carry at least the minimum auto insurance to ensure that motors at fault can pay for damages to other drivers after a car crash.
However, in Colorado, more than 16 percent of drivers lack insurance. Colorado drivers who do not have the required insurance violate the law and face four points on their driver’s license, a fine of $1,000, and the suspension of their license.
Drivers must carry minimum automobile insurance liability policies in Colorado: $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $15,000 per accident for property damage. Colorado law requires all automobile insurance companies to offer policyholders optional uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. Most people have policies with UM/UIM coverage without realizing it. UM/UIM coverage provides additional coverage after in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured at-fault driver.
If you discover that an uninsured or underinsured at-fault driver driver caused your accident, you could face a complex claim involving multiple parties. Without proper legal representation, an insurance company may take advantage of you by offering much less than your damages and injuries are worth.
If you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, obtain legal counsel as soon as possible.
Common causes of car accidents
Even car accidents that appear minor at first glance can result in thousands of dollars in property damage. Accidents that result in injuries lead to medical expenses, which can add up quickly.
Some serious injuries that may result from a car accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries and brain damage
- Tissue and organ damage
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Contusions and lacerations
Car crash injuries cause more than physical injuries. Mental and financial repercussion can stem from car accidents, especially if the injured person is the family’s primary provider. Medical expenses can escalate quickly, even for those with adequate health insurance. Whether temporary or permanent, crash-related injuries can make it difficult or impossible for you to return to work. You may have permanent pain or disability that diminishes your quality of life. These factors can put an even greater burden on the car accident victim and their family.
Coverage for your damages may not help you heal faster from your physical injuries, but it can bring you and your family peace of mind. A car accident lawyer can obtain compensation for damages, including medical expenses; lost income, including past and future lost income; and pain and suffering.
What to do after an accident?
Drivers in car accidents that result in injury or property damage in Colorado—no matter how minor or severe the damage—must report the accident immediately to law enforcement. If you fail to do so, you could face 10 to 90 days in jail and/or $150 to $300 in fines.
Once you report your accident, exchange insurance information with the other driver. If you discover that an uninsured or underinsured driver caused your accident, call your insurance company and ask if your policy includes uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. UM/UIM coverage bridges the gap between what the uninsured or underinsured motorist can pay and the cost of your damages.
Just because you have UI/UIM coverage doesn’t mean your insurer will voluntarily pay you what you deserve. These companies are more interested in protecting their bottom line and will limit or deny claims by questioning liability. Hire a lawyer after a car accident can prepare and file the strongest possible claim in your case and convince insurers to give you the compensation you deserve.
Car crash investigation
During a car crash investigation, your attorney will determine the cause of the accident.
Many factors can contribute to an accident, including:
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Failure to yield
- Running red lights or stop signs
Filing a lawsuit against a driver may not result in enough compensation, especially if the driver doesn’t have car insurance. But, an experienced car accident attorney can identify other sources of liability.
For example, if a defect caused the brakes to fail, you might hold the vehicle manufacturer liable for any injuries the accident caused. You may hold government entities responsible for poorly maintained highways that contributed to an accident.
Several factors may contribute to your traffic accident—including ones you don’t know about. But if you wait too long, you may miss out on the opportunity to hold others liable for your damages. That’s why you need legal counsel as soon after your accident as possible.
Why you shouldn’t delay seeking legal counsel?
The statute of limitations for a car crash in Colorado gives you three years after an accident to file a lawsuit for compensation. But exceptions apply to this rule.
If the accident results in a death, the case becomes a wrongful death case in Denver, and you face a two-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit.
It takes time for lawyers to investigate car accidents to determine all the factors that contributed to the crash. That’s why you need legal counsel as soon as possible if you suffered injuries in an automobile crash.
Once you meet the filing deadline, no limitations apply to how long it takes to resolve the case. Getting the claim filed in time is the most important issue. Once you file your lawsuit, your lawyer will serve the other party with a copy of the documents, build the evidence, and work toward a fair resolution.
Strengthening your claim
You pay a lot for car insurance—and the costs continue to rise. You would expect your insurer to deal fairly with your claim. However, insurance companies challenge claims by questioning liability or blaming you. The best way to avoid these issues and convince insurers to pay you what you deserve is to build the strongest case possible.
Here is how you and your lawyer can work together to present a strong and persuasive claim.
Document your injuries
You will want to present a clear picture of your injuries to insurers so they understand the proper value of your claim. The first step is getting immediate medical treatment to establish an official medical record showing your diagnosis and treatment protocol. Keep up with the necessary treatments to reinforce the validity of your injury claims.
Expenses can add up quickly following an accident with injuries. You’ll want to keep a record of your medical bills as well as the cost of medications, transportation to medical appointments, medical equipment, home health care, and other expenses.
You can receive compensation for lost income due to injuries you suffered in your automobile accident. So, you’ll want to track all the hours or days you miss from work and income lost while you recover from your injury. Even if you use vacation or paid sick days during that time, you may recover compensation for it.
Gather witness statements
Your lawyer can collect copies of the police report and witness statements from people at your accident scene. You and your lawyer can discuss whether other witnesses can provide information to add more credibility to your case.
Prepare to refuse the first settlement
Your insurance company may offer you a settlement shortly after your accident. Prepare to reject it. Insurance companies make notoriously lowball offers to quickly resolve your case to silence you. A Denver car accident lawyer experienced in settlement negotiations may advise you to refuse initial settlement offer and fight for more compensation.
After a traffic accident caused by an uninsured motorist, you may face mounting expenses and feel the need for a quick resolution.
Reaching a reasonable settlement offer or verdict will take time. Instead of accepting a payment that doesn’t adequately cover your damages, hold out for the settlement you deserve.
How a Denver car accident lawyer can help you?
After an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you will need to negotiate with your insurance company to receive compensation. But insurers rarely have your best interests at heart. Furthermore, more parties may be at fault, including other drivers or manufacturers of defective auto parts.
An experienced car accident lawyer can identify liable parties and improve your odds of receiving a fair payment for your damages.
An experienced car accident lawyer can:
Establish your claim’s worth
A Denver car accident lawyers can evaluate the full worth of your claim, including all out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries. They can organize your documents so your claim reflects all costs and will consider intangible losses such as pain and suffering.
Investigate your accident
Even if the cause of your accident seems cut and dry, many other factors could contribute to the accident, including the fault of other drivers, hazardous roads, or defective vehicle parts. An experienced car accident attorney can determine whether other parties may have caused your injuries.
Give you advice
Insurance companies may conduct their own investigation by searching your social media profiles without your permission and collecting video evidence. An experienced traffic accident lawyer can develop a strategy to prevent insurance companies from gathering evidence against you.
Handle all communicators with insurers
Insurance companies may contact you for more information, including a recorded statement. But they will use your own words against you. An experienced lawyer will advise you to refuse all communication with the insurance company and instead inform them to speak with your attorney.
Negotiate better settlements
A Denver car accident lawyer can negotiate a settlement that fairly represents your injuries and losses. They will know when insurers lowball you and can negotiate with them for a higher payment. If negotiations don’t succeed, insurers know that having a lawyer on your side means a real threat of litigation.
Denver car accident lawyers
When an uninsured driver injures you or someone you love, you need a Denver car accident lawyer on your side. An attorney experienced in Denver insurance laws can assess your options for building a case and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Your attorneys can guide you through negotiations with insurance companies or presenting your case to a judge and help you regain control of your life.
After a traffic accident with an uninsured driver, consult a good personal injury law firm in Denver to get you the compensation you deserve.