Car accident victims are often unaware as to how a claim or lawsuit is filed after a crash. For many car accident victims, this claim or lawsuit is their first experience with the legal system. It is often overwhelming and confusing.
Beware of Deadlines
First, car accident victims should be aware of the deadlines that may affect their cases. In general, there is a three-year deadline to resolve a claim for damages that result from a car accident in Colorado. This deadline is called the statute of limitations.
Accident victims who fail to resolve their claim or file suit before the statute of limitations expires may be barred from obtaining any relief in the court system. This means that these victims will be responsible for their medical expenses and other damages caused by the accident.
The deadline is shorter if a government vehicle is involved in the accident. An experienced Denver motor vehicle accident attorney is able to advise you on the applicable deadlines in your claim.
Make Sure a Police Report is Filed
Immediately following an accident, you should call the police to ensure a report of the accident is filed. You should tell the police what happened and seek medical attention if you are experiencing any pain.
You should also exchange insurance information and driver’s license information with the other drivers involved in the crash.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
One of the most important steps you should take after being involved in an accident is to consult a Colorado personal injury attorney. These attorneys know how to present evidence to insurance companies, negotiate settlements, and conduct court hearings and trials.
Personal injury attorneys are able to file accident claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy on your behalf and deal with the insurance company so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back to normal.
Your attorney will provide several pieces of information to the insurance company, such as:
- The names of the drivers involved in the accident
- Insurance policy numbers
- The nature of the victim’s injuries
- Photographs of vehicle damage and injuries
- A copy of the accident report
- Repair bills
It is best to let your attorney speak with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies may use your statements against you in your claim. In addition, insurance adjusters may try to pressure you to settle your claim too soon for far too little money.
What is a Demand Letter?
When you have completed your medical treatment, your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company. The demand letter lays out the details of the accident, as well as how the accident impacted you—financially, physically, and emotionally.
The insurance company will be given a deadline to respond to the demand letter. Once they respond, your attorney will begin the negotiation process.
The choice to accept or reject the insurance company’s offer is yours. Your attorney will advise you during the settlement process, but, ultimately, it is your decision whether you settle your claim with the insurance company or move forward with filing a lawsuit.
If you decide to reject the insurance company’s offer, it will be necessary to file a lawsuit.
File a Lawsuit
To file a lawsuit, your attorney drafts a complaint. This document includes details about the accident and how the at-fault driver is responsible for your injuries and losses.
After the complaint has been filed in the appropriate court, the at-fault party must be served with it. At this point, the at-fault party will respond to the lawsuit and the lawsuit will move through the court system.
Regardless of whether the claim is handled solely through insurance or requires the filing of a lawsuit, Colorado car accident attorneys are able to provide valuable advice and guidance through this process. Your attorney will make sure that your legal interests remain protected throughout your case.
Contact Denver Car Accident Attorney Jennifer Donaldson Today
Attorney Jennifer Donaldson has represented car accident victims in Denver and the surrounding areas for three decades. To schedule a free consultation with Ms. Donaldson to learn about your legal options, contact us at 303-458-5000.