The laws that impact car accident claims vary from state to state. These laws affect how much compensation an accident victim may be entitled to, as well as the source of that compensation. Learn more about car insurance.
There are two primary categories of states regarding car accidents: those with a fault-based system and those with a no-fault system. The primary differences between these states are whether the accident victim has the ability to sue the at-fault party for damages and where the money for the victim’s damages comes from.
In a fault-based system, the at-fault driver is responsible for the victim’s losses. These losses may include medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
In a no-fault system, each driver’s own insurance policy generally covers their medical bills. In most cases, it is still possible to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver for any bills not covered by no-fault, or for loss of income, pain, and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent impairment, and permanent disfigurement.
Colorado follows a fault-based system for car accident claims. Accident victims must pay for their own medical treatment. They can use their health insurance and in some cases may have medical payments coverage through their auto insurance policy. Once all treatment is completed, the insurance company will make one lump sum payment that covers all medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffer, and permanent impairment.
Accident victims may be paid up to the at-fault driver’s policy limits in an accident claim. Many cases can be resolved with the insurance company, but In some cases, it will be necessary to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover damages.
For example, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable offer that compensates the victim for their losses.
There are a variety of damages that may be available in a motor vehicle accident claim. Damages may include any of the following:
- Medical expenses, including future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of employment benefits
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent impairment or disfigurement
Other damages may also be available, depending on the circumstances of the case. Colorado motor vehicle accident attorneys know what damages are available in a claim, and, most importantly, how to pursue those damages on behalf of their clients.
Colorado requires that all drivers have minimum amounts of liability coverage.
All Colorado drivers must have at least $25,000 per person for bodily injury or death.
Drivers must also have at least $50,000 in liability coverage per incident for total bodily injury and death claims.
Drivers must additionally carry $15,000 in property damage liability coverage, to cover damage to vehicles and other types of property in an accident.
Drivers are free to purchase additional coverage if they like. Colorado drivers should remember that, once their policy limits have been paid out, the at-fault driver may be responsible for any additional damages that are sought by the accident victim.
Get an Attorney Who Can Help You
Insurance claims are complex and often confusing. There are numerous deadlines, dozens of possible pieces of evidence, and a variety of documents that must be filed. However, an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney can help you with your claim.
Personal injury attorneys can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Instead of worrying about saying something to an insurance adjuster that could hurt your claim, you can (and should) turn these conversations over to your attorney.
In some cases, the claim may settle with the insurance company. If a lawsuit becomes necessary, your personal injury attorney is able to represent you and protect your legal interests. Your attorney will keep you well-informed throughout your case and will prepare you for any necessary court hearings.
However, there is a limited amount of time available to file a personal injury claim in Colorado. Therefore, it is important to meet with an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney as soon as you are able after your accident.
Attorney Jennifer Donaldson Has Three Decades of Experience in Accident Claims
Colorado personal injury attorney Jennifer Donaldson has been serving the Denver area for thirty years. To schedule a free consultation with Ms. Donaldson to learn about your legal options and the services the firm offers, contact us at 303-458-5000.