When drivers get into an accident in Colorado, the drivers are supposed to exchange contact and insurance information. Auto insurance provides a way to pay for expensive damages and injuries after an accident when the driver may not have enough money to cover the losses. However, when a driver does not have insurance or does not have enough coverage to pay for the injuries, then the injury victim may be left looking for other ways to have their medical bills covered.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance provides coverage for vehicle repair and medical expenses when the other driver does not have insurance or the insurance does not cover the full cost of the damage. UM/UIM insurance is not mandatory in Colorado but insurance companies offer it as optional insurance for drivers.
Just because you have insurance or UM/UIM coverage does not mean the insurance company will offer you full compensation. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com can help you deal with the insurance company and any other parties who share in the liability for your injuries. Experienced Colorado car accident lawyers will fight to get you the money to repair your car, pay your bills, and cover your lost income after an accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Problems with Uninsured Driver Accidents
Under Colorado law, the negligent driver is generally liable for causing the accident. Even if the negligent driver does not have insurance, the negligent driver is still liable for any damages. In filing a personal injury claim against an uninsured driver, the injury victim may still encounter problems with collecting any compensation.
Not Enough Money to Pay
There are a number of reasons why someone may not have insurance. Insurance may be too expensive, the individual may not have a car to insure or rarely drive, or the individual may have a suspended license. If the driver does not have insurance because they don't have enough money to pay for it, the person would not likely have enough money to pay for expensive car repairs or medical bills.
Even if the driver is found liable in court and the court finds in favor of the injury victim for a large award, it may be difficult to collect that money. The injury victim could try and have the other driver's bank accounts levied, garnish wages, or even force the sale of a car or property. However, any money collected may still not cover the expenses.
Other Negligent Parties May Be Liable
Even if the driver is uninsured or does not have enough assets to pay for your injuries, there may be other parties liable for the accident. For example, if the driver was allowed to use someone else's car, the owner of the car may be vicariously liable for any damages. Additionally, driving for an employer, such as a delivery driver, may make the employer vicariously liable for the accident caused by the employee.
There may be multiple causes of an accident and there may be multiple parties sharing in liability. For example, if the uninsured driver had a malfunction with the steering system that caused the accident, the vehicle manufacturer may also be liable for any product defects that caused the accident. Talk to your Denver auto accident lawyer about ways to collect money after a car crash or go after other parties who may be responsible for causing the accident.
Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance Coverage
UM/UIM coverage protects drivers from at-fault drivers who cause an accident and either:
- Do not have insurance, or
- Do not have enough insurance to pay for your injuries and damages.
Without UM/UIM coverage, a driver may be left having to pay for their own medical bills after an accident if they cannot collect from the at-fault driver.
Minimum and Optional Auto Insurance Coverage in Colorado
Under Colorado law, the minimum amount of liability coverage for drivers applies to bodily injury and property damage when the driver is at fault. The state minimums for drivers in Colorado are:
- $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.
Optional UM/UIM Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage gives additional protection to a driver who is the victim of an accident where the other driver's insurance will not cover the damages. UM/UIM coverage may also apply to hit-and-run accidents. If the other driver is uninsured, the UM/UIM policy will generally kick in to compensate the injury victim when the victim has a UM/UIM policy.
UM/UIM coverage is optional. Drivers have to add UM/UIM coverage through their auto insurance company in order to be covered by accidents involving an uninsured or underinsured driver. Drivers cannot purchase UM/UIM coverage after the fact. If you are interested in UM/UIM coverage, contact your insurance provider.
No Insurance and Criminal Charges
Insurance coverage is not just a recommendation in Colorado. Colorado law requires drivers to be covered by insurance if they are operating on the road. If a driver is found to be driving without insurance, that driver could face points on their license, a license suspension, and $500 fine for a first offense.
Drivers who do not have insurance may also be driving without a valid license. In addition to any penalties for driving without insurance, driving without a license may be a misdemeanor. If the individual had their license denied, suspended, or revoked, getting caught driving can result in misdemeanor charges, possible jail time, and a fine.
Denver Auto Accident Injury Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented their clients and families who were involved in accidents caused by drivers without insurance. Contact us today for a free consultation.