When two drivers are involved in an accident, the drivers usually leave it up to the insurance company to figure out who was responsible for the accident, which insurance company will cover the injury victims' damages, and whether the driver will be personally liable for damages. When the driver hires a lawyer, the lawyer will act as an advocate to get the insurance company or other driver to pay up for damages.
However, when a non-driver is injured in an accident, coverage for injuries or other damages can get much more complicated. Pedestrians, cyclists, and passengers may be covered by the negligent driver's insurance or may be left on their own where the driver is not insured. If you were injured as a pedestrian, cyclist, or passenger in an accident with a car, taxi, or rideshare company, talk to the attorneys at accidentdenver.com. Our attorneys have represented victims in injury accidents and will fight to get you the money to pay your medical bills and cover your lost income after an accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Colorado Accidents with a Non-Driver
In an automobile accident, liability for damages is generally based on negligence. The negligent party may be responsible for paying for any injuries and losses caused by the accident. Negligence is a breach of care of what a reasonable person would do in a similar situation.
Negligence can also be shown through violating traffic laws. For example, if a driver runs a red light and hits a pedestrian who was legally stepping into a crosswalk, the driver would likely be negligent through violating Colorado traffic laws for speeding and/or failure to yield to a pedestrian.
In an accident between a vehicle and a non-driver, the negligent party could be:
- Driver of another vehicle,
- Truck driver,
- Bus driver,
- Scooter rider,
- Animal owner, or
- Government agency.
Automobile Insurance in an Accident with a Non-Driver
Drivers are generally required to carry a minimum level of liability insurance to be able to drive in California. The mandatory minimum coverage required for drivers in Colorado includes:
- $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.
Other drivers, including commercial drivers, truck drivers, taxi drivers, and rideshare drivers may be required to carry additional liability insurance. Most non-drivers are not required to carry insurance. However, the situation can be a bit more complicated if a cyclist or pedestrian also carries auto insurance.
When the Driver is at Fault for the Accident
When the driver is at fault for the accident, the driver's insurance policy will generally provide coverage for other parties injured in the accident. The at-fault driver's insurance policy covers injuries for non-drivers who are hurt in an accident, including the driver's own passengers.
When the Driver is NOT at Fault for the Accident
When the driver is not at fault for the accident, the insurance coverage will depend on what other insurance coverage the injury victims have. If the injury victim has health insurance, their health insurance policy will generally cover the injuries. The medical insurance company may then try and get reimbursed from any responsible parties.
When a Third-Party is at Fault for the Accident
A third-party can also be at fault for causing an accident. For example, if a driver's tire exploded, causing the vehicle to lose control, hitting a pedestrian, the pedestrian may have a claim against the tire company for any product defects.
When an Uninsured Driver is at Fault for the Accident
Just because drivers are required to carry insurance in order to drive on Colorado roads does not mean that all the people on the road carry valid insurance. Uninsured drivers can cause accidents, just like any other driver. A driver may be uninsured because the driver cannot afford insurance, or the driver is unlicensed or has had their license suspended or revoked.
In an accident with an uninsured driver, where the uninsured driver is at fault, the injury victim can file a claim against the driver who is still personally liable. However, if the driver does not have enough money to pay for the damages, there may be little the injury victim can do.
Drivers in Colorado are offered uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This is insurance coverage that will protect the driver if the other party does not have insurance or does not have enough coverage to pay for the damages.
UM/UIM policies may also pay for damages for a driver who is not in their car at the time of the accident. A driver with UM/UIM coverage may be hit by a car while walking down the street or riding their bike through Denver. Even though the individual was not driving at the time, their UM/UIM coverage may kick in if they were hit by an uninsured driver. Individuals should review their policies to understand what kinds of accidents are covered and the limits to liability coverage.
Passengers Injured in a Taxi, Lyft, or Uber
Drivers who carry passengers for money are generally required to carry additional liability coverage. New laws also apply to rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber, who pick up passengers using a ridesharing app.
Taxis and limos that carry eight passengers or less are required to maintain a minimum of $500,000 in liability coverage. If a taxi hits a pedestrian, cyclist, or injures a passenger through driver negligence, the taxi's insurance policy is supposed to cover the injury.
Uber and Lyft are classified as transportation network companies (TNCs). TNCs are required to have $1 million in liability insurance coverage when they are transporting a passenger. In the “gap period” where the Uber or Lyft driver is on the app and looking for rides but has not yet accepted a ride, the driver is required to have a minimum coverage of:
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident; and
- $100,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident
Accident Injury Help for Non-Drivers
When cyclists or pedestrians are injured in an accident, they may be facing an uphill battle to fight for compensation from the driver or other negligent party. Without insurance coverage on their side, the other insurance company may not take their claim very seriously. This is where an experienced Denver accident attorney can make a big difference.
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented their clients and families who were involved in accidents caused by negligent drivers or defective vehicles. Our attorneys understand how the insurance companies operate and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.