When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in Colorado, insurance can play a major factor in how a case progresses or even how it is resolved. Working with insurance companies can be difficult at the best of times and seem nearly impossible when a major accident has occurred. Many companies will do anything they can to get out of paying, even when the claim is clearly legitimate. This often occurs when another driver is negligent, has auto insurance, but the insurer attempts to get out of paying for the injuries and property damage you suffered.
Working with, and sometimes fighting against, insurance companies requires a great deal of experience and knowledge. A competent and knowledgeable attorney is one of the most important ways that you can fight the "machine" that is a large insurance company. The experienced Denver personal injury attorneys at accidentdenver.com will fight for your rights and work to get you the financial compensation you deserve. You do not have to face this difficult time by yourself.
Automobile Accident Lawyers in Denver, Colorado
When you or someone you care about are involved in a motor vehicle accident in Denver, Colorado or the surrounding areas, you need an experienced legal team to fight for you. Injuries sustained from auto accidents can negatively affect your life in the short-term and the long-term. If you suffered as a result of another person's negligence, you are entitled to financial compensation.
Our team at accidentdenver.com pride themselves on clear, honest, and open communication with each and every one of their clients. No matter how small or how big your case may be, the accidentdenver.com team will keep you informed every step of the way throughout the process and they will handle every detail seamlessly to put you on the road to recovery.
Accidentdenver.com takes cases on a contingency basis. This means that you pay nothing until your case has reached a favorable resolution. Let us put our years of experience to work for you and your loved ones.
Speaking with Insurance Adjusters
An insurance adjuster's primary role, or job, is to quickly settle potential claims and to minimize the payouts as much as is possible. Understanding this role can educate you on how to speak with them after a motor vehicle accident. To fulfill their role and look good with their employer (the insurance company), the adjuster will pour through all of the documents related to the case file in order to find a way to reduce the amount of money the company will have to pay out.
This includes the possibility of an interview with you. Insurance adjusters will often reach out to the victim in a car accident to learn the facts of the case, but always with an eye towards anything that could lead to reducing the potential payout.
When speaking with adjusters, it is important to be careful about what you say. Questions that may seem harmless, like "Were you taking any prescription medication?" could be used to imply you were under the influence while driving.
If an insurance company is making it difficult to get compensated for your injuries, or you believe the company is about to make it difficult, it is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. This will help you avoid the common pitfalls of dealing with large insurance companies that are always out to save a buck.
A settlement is a contractual agreement between parties to agree to financial compensation or other terms rather than going to trial. This means that once the agreement is reached and fulfilled, the pending lawsuit would be dropped by the plaintiff (the injured party bringing the lawsuit).
Under Colorado law, there is no requirement that the parties settle or even have any type of settlement conference before trial. However, settlement talks are a part of nearly every case. Settlement is often a better option than trial, especially when the evidence is clear.
An insurance company often offers a settlement of the claim in the form of an offer of certain compensation (money) that, if accepted, would constitute a final and binding end to the claim. This often comes in the form of an offer letter or even a pre-approved check. If you agree to receive the compensation or cash a check that comes in the mail, you could be accepting the settlement agreement.
Auto Insurance Coverage for Non-Drivers
Not all automobile accidents occur with two people driving a motor vehicle. As is all too often the case, people are injured by auto drivers who were not themselves in a motor vehicle or were simply passengers in the vehicle. This can include:
- car passengers
- bus passengers
- taxi or rideshare passengers
When a driver is insured and causes injury to another person who is not a driver of a car, the negligent party's insurance company should still be responsible for your injuries. Claims adjusters will still investigate and attempt to find a reason why your injuries should not be covered.
Another situation that is common is where there is no multi-vehicle accident, but rather only one vehicle is in an accident because of a negligent driver and the passengers are harmed. When this is the case, it is the driver's insurance company that should be responsible for your injuries. Again, insurance companies will attempt to find anything they can to prevent the payment of a claim.
When non-drivers have to deal with an insurance company, they will face many of the same (and some different) roadblocks in getting an auto insurance company to pay out a claim for your injuries and any property damage. In many cases, a personal injury lawsuit is required to get the insurance company to wake up, listen, and make the appropriate payment. With an experienced lawyer to help, you can fight for your right to financial compensation for your injuries.
Auto Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements in Colorado
Under Colorado law, all owners of automobiles are required to carry liability insurance. Liability insurance is designed to cover bodily injury to other persons or property damage caused by an accident when it is that driver's fault. This law was created to protect the public from negligent drivers who are unable to compensate the people they injure.
To make that goal a reality, the Colorado Legislature enacted certain minimums that every driver is required to have before driving on Colorado roads and highways. These minimums are as follows:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident,
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident, and
- $15,000 for property damage in any one accident.
Bodily injury or death coverage is intended to cover any expenses caused by an accident that causes bodily harm or death to another. Property damage is intended to cover damage to the property of another as a result of the accident for things such as, but not limited to:
- another person's car
- items within the car
- telephone poles
Although these are the minimum requirements, there is nothing that stops drivers from buying coverage above these minimums. In fact, the minimums barely cover the damages caused by even a semi-serious accident. One broken bone will easily cost more than $25,000 in damages. When this is the case, injured people will have to after the individual assets of the at-fault driver or apply to their own insurance company under an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage policy.
Reporting an Accident to Police in Denver
When an auto accident happens in Denver or the surrounding areas, the first important step is to notify the authorities. Colorado law requires it, and it is in your best interest to make sure there is a proper record of the accident. It is also important to make the report as soon after the accident as possible. It may prove crucial to the success and strength of your potential personal injury claim.
The first step you should take is to call 911. This alerts first responders to the fact that there was an accident and that people may be or could be hurt as a result of the accident. Even if people are not hurt, first responders need to be on scene to handle the situation (especially other traffic) and to compile an accident report.
The importance of the police report cannot be understated, as it can help define the facts of the accident and help to prove that the other driver was at fault for your injuries and any property damage. Without a proper report, a jury might have to consider all "he said, she said" evidence, and this could greatly reduce your chances of a successful personal injury claim.
Often, other drivers will attempt to pressure you from calling the police. They may even admit to fault, say they will pay everything privately, and that they don't want to get the police involved. This is not advisable as many will go back on their word. Even if the other driver seems trustworthy, it is important to understand how important a police report can be to your case.
Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers
Sadly, and despite Colorado's requirements, many drivers take to the road without insurance. This can be a major problem for both the uninsured driver and the victim of an accident caused by the uninsured driver.
Uninsured drivers face criminal penalties for failing to obtain the proper mandatory insurance coverage before getting on Colorado roads. Drivers who drive without insurance can be punished in a variety of ways, including:
- a potential fine of up to $1,000,
- up to a maximum of 40 hours of community service,
- ten days or up to one year in jail,
- driver's license suspension for up to eight months,
- reinstatement fee requirements,
- requirement to purchase SR-22 high-risk driver insurance coverage (more expensive than ordinary coverage), and
- four points added to their driver's record.
The Risk to Other Drivers
Uninsured or underinsured drivers pose a risk to all of those around them. Uninsured drivers will not have the help of an insurance company to pay for your injuries. This means that you will be required to go after their individual assets to compensate you for your losses. The other driver's personal assets may be limited, and it may be difficult, or impossible, to get compensation.
An underinsured driver is one who has coverage but the amount of coverage the insurance company can pay is less than the amount of the damages you have actually suffered. In this case, you are left with going after the individual assets of the negligent driver to make up the difference. Again, this can be difficult if the other driver has limited means.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Under Colorado law, insurers are required to offer uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in the same amount as the bodily injury limits you select. While a driver can elect not to carry UM/UIM coverage, most do, and for good reason.
UM/UIM kicks in when another driver does not have insurance or does not have enough to compensate the injured victim. This can be an incredibly important protection for an injured driver. However, even your own insurance company has insurance adjusters that will attempt to pay out as little as possible. You are then put in the awkward position of having to work with your insurance company to go after the other driver, yet working against them when they try to short you on your UM/UIM claim.
With the help of an experienced Denver accident attorney at your side, you can be protected against this type of situation. You deserve to be compensated for injuries that are not your fault. Do not let another driver or an insurance company take advantage of you.
Consult an Experienced Denver Auto Accident Lawyer
Dealing with an insurance company can be a difficult part of a car accident case. However, you don't have to face this process alone.
If you or a loved one has been injured in any sort of motor vehicle accident in the greater Denver metropolitan area, please do not hesitate to contact accidentdenver.com today at 303-642-8888 for a free consultation. We are here waiting to help you.