Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
After a car accident, it is difficult to know what to expect. The Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson has provided a list of frequently asked questions about car accidents. Jennifer Donaldson and the Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson welcome the opportunity to answer any specific questions about your case.
Denver Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it can be a confusing and frustrating experience. Jennifer Donaldson with the Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson will be there to guide you through the entire process. The Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson has extensive experience with all types of car accidents, including rear-end collisions, hit and run accidents, reckless driving accidents, and more.
Contact the Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson or submit an outline form to schedule a confidential consultation. Jennifer Donaldson proudly represents individuals throughout Colorado, including Denver, Boulder, Longmont, Lakewood, Arvada, Aurora, Thornton, Westminster, Centennial and Littleton.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Colorado Car Accidents
- What does it mean to be “at-fault” in a car accident?
- What damage is a person “at-fault” responsible for?
- What options do Colorado drivers (and passengers) have when pursuing damages against an at-fault driver?
- Is it ever clear which driver is at-fault in a car accident?
- What do if the other driver’s insurance fails to cover all the damages suffered in an accident?
- I attempted to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance, but it does not appear I will receive enough to cover my damages and injuries. Can I sue the at-fault driver?
- Following an auto accident, what steps should I take?
What does it mean to be “at-fault” in a car accident?
A driver or drivers may are determined to be “at fault” in a car accident if their negligence contributed to the accident. Colorado is a modified comparative fault state.
This means each party is responsible for only their percentage of negligence. If a plaintiff is found to be more than fifty percent at fault, he or she is barred from recovery.
What damage is a person “at-fault” responsible for?
The at-fault driver is typically responsible for the damage caused by his or her negligence. This can include medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. The exact type of damage an at-fault driver is responsible for depends on the facts of the case.
What options do Colorado drivers (and passengers) have when pursuing damages against an at-fault driver?
A driver who sustained damage as a result of an accident with an at-fault driver has several options when attempting to recoup damages, including:
- File a claim with his or her own insurance company
- File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- File a lawsuit against the other driver
It totally depends on the facts of the case. Car accidents may have several contributing factors, including inclement weather conditions, speeding, road conditions, and other drivers. However, there are some accidents where insurance companies will not dispute who is at fault.
Generally, fault is clear in rear end accidents and left-turn accidents.
Rear-end accidents/collisions: In a simple rear-end collision situation, the driver who rear ends the other is considered negligent and at-fault for the accident or at least partially negligent.
According to (C.R.S. 42-4-1008(1), a driver shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon, and the condition of the highway. Under normal conditions, drivers should use the three second rule.
It is generally accepted than the driver that causes the rear-end collision did not adhere to this rule and is negligent. However, there are exceptions, including chain reaction accidents and accidents caused by erratic driving or sudden stops by the lead driver.
Left –Turn Car Accidents: Generally, the driver making a left turn is considered at-fault when he or she collides with a driver driving straight. Most street signs require the left-turning driver to yield to oncoming traffic. Failure to adhere to this street sign can result in a car accident.
There are exceptions to this general rule, including when the left-turning driver has the “right of way” or signal to turn left. Generally, the straight, oncoming driver is running a red light or otherwise violating a traffic signal.
What do if the other driver’s insurance fails to cover all the damages suffered in an accident?
It is common for the at-fault driver’s auto insurance to not cover all the damages occasioned by an at-fault driver, especially medical costs. The other driver may incur serious injuries in an accident and need to recoup the cost or be compensated for the following:
- Past medical costs
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Future medical costs or lifetime medical care
- Loss of earnings, including future or anticipated earnings
- Loss of work benefits
- Permanent disability or scarring
The costs of the aforementioned damages generally exceed the coverage of the at-fault driver’s private insurance. When this is the case the other driver must file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The other driver must act quickly following an accident. Colorado law requires a driver file the lawsuit within three years of the accident.
I attempted to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance, but it does not appear I will receive enough to cover my damages and injuries. Can I sue the at-fault driver?
Generally, the other driver can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, it is important to do so within three years of the accident and before signing a release of legal recourse against the insurance company.
The state of Colorado has a statute of limitations (SOL) of three years for actions related to an automobile accident. A statute of limitation is the time constraint during which an individual may file a lawsuit. The other driver may file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver within three years of the date of the accident.
Generally, an insurance company will make an offer of a specific amount to a driver to compensate for all the damage occasioned by the at-fault driver. Should the other driver accept the other, generally signs a document provided by the insurance company. There is generally a clause releasing the insurance company from further liability and prohibiting the other driver from bringing a lawsuit later for the same cause of action.
It is highly recommended to consult an experienced personal injury attorney following an accident during which you suffered injuries. Leave the negotiating to an experience attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney will know whether the insurance company offer is fair or whether pursing a lawsuit is a better option.
Following an auto accident, what steps should I take?
An auto accident can be a frightening and disorienting experience. It is important to take the following steps after an accident.
- Make sure you are in a safe environment– Following an accident move the accident to the shoulder. This prevents other drivers from colliding with your vehicle, increasing the damage and chance of injury.
- Contact emergency personnel and police– If you have incurred injuries or suspect you are injured, contact emergency personnel or EMT. Also, contact the police regardless of whether injuries resulted from the accident.
- Make a police report– A police report is important evidence following a car accident. The police report is created at the time of the accident or shortly thereafter. The police report will contain personal information for all the drivers, statements made by drivers, passengers, and other witnesses immediately following the accident, and information about the conditions surrounding the accident (i.e. road conditions, weather conditions, speeding, and other factors).
- Take Pictures– Sometimes the police will take pictures of your vehicle, the other vehicle(s), and the scene. However, it is best to have your own photos as well.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver– Following an accident take a photo of the other driver’s insurance and get information about the other driver’s insurance company and policy information.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney– Based on the unique facts of your case, it may be necessary to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney will pursue your claim within the time allotted by law and seek the necessary compensation to make you whole after an accident.
Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson ǀ Colorado Car Accident Lawyer
Each individual car accident is different and will require different legal action. It is highly recommended to consult an experienced car accident attorney following your accident. Jennifer Donaldson of the Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson has 30 years of experience helping car accident victims record what they loss.
She proudly represents car accident victims throughout Colorado, including Denver County, Boulder County, Jefferson County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, and the surrounding areas.