When you retain an attorney, your settlement amount or jury award is likely to be higher than if you handled the claim on your own.
Following a car accident, one of the first things you have to deal with is getting treatment for your injuries. Then you have to figure out how you will pay for everything. There are medical expenses, vehicle damage, time off from work, and more.
Understandably, you may be wondering if the responsible party will pay for your losses. Fortunately, Colorado is an “at-fault” state, which means you can file a claim through the other driver’s insurance company. While this may seem easy, pursuing a claim can be complicated. This is why many people take time researching different Denver car accident attorneys to help them with their claim.
Colorado Car Accident Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the amount of time that can pass before the law requires you to bring a lawsuit. If you do not bring your claim in time, it will be barred. One of the reasons for establishing a legal deadline is to protect others from unfair lawsuits that are brought years down the line. There is also an incentive to act fast while all the evidence is still fresh and there’s a better likelihood of tracking down witnesses.
Fault in Colorado
Colorado is what is known as a modified comparative negligence state. That means you can get compensation for your losses even if you were partially at fault for the accident. Your damages will be calculated in proportion to your percentage of negligence. For example, if a jury finds you 25% at fault, you will receive up to 75% of your damages. However, if a jury finds you 50% or more at fault, you will not receive any compensation.
Colorado Car Insurance Requirements
In an at-fault state like Colorado, drivers must carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Drivers may opt to carry higher limits, but the state says you must not have lower limits. Colorado limits are 25/50/15. That means you must have minimum coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person, $50,000 in coverage for all injuries or deaths in an accident, and $15,000 for property damage per accident.
What if Another Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
Do you have uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage under your policy? UM/UIM coverage is a type of coverage that you pay separately from any liability coverage you have. If you have UM coverage, you can present a claim to your carrier for your damages. However, remember that this will not be treated as first-party coverage. Your insurance company will step into the shoes of the uninsured driver. They will be looking for ways to assign a higher percentage of fault to you and reduce your potential compensation.
Reporting an Accident
X-ray of broken collar bone; image by Harlie Raethel, via Unsplash.com.
Once you report the accident to your own insurance company, you should consider speaking with an attorney. When you retain an attorney to represent you in an auto accident, they will be the ones who handle all the difficult tasks and negotiate on your behalf. All communications with the other driver’s insurance will go through your attorney’s office. This can allow you to concentrate on recovering from your injuries and getting back to work.
Also, auto accident attorneys will fight for the compensation you deserve. When you retain an attorney, your settlement amount or jury award is likely to be higher than if you handled the claim on your own.