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Understanding Car Accident Compensation In Colorado

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Expenses can add up fast after a serious Colorado car accident – from medical bills to vehicle repairs as well as the financial impact of lost income due to not being able to work as a result of a serious car accident injury. This is why it’s important for injury victims to understand how the compensation system works in Colorado, whether their collision occurred on I-70 in Denver, I-25 in Colorado Springs or another part of the state. Otherwise, they might not get the money they need to get their lives back on track.

On this page, you can find accurate information about how this compensation process works, courtesy of experienced Colorado car accident lawyers who regularly represent injury victims and their families throughout The Centennial State.

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No. Colorado has what’s known as an at-fault car insurance system. This means the person who caused the accident (the at-fault party) is legally responsible (liable in legal terms) for paying injury victims for their accident-related expenses.

Generally, this means the at-fault driver’s insurance company compensates you for your accident-related expenses, although other parties can be liable in some circumstances.

What type of car insurance is required in Colorado?

Colorado requires all drivers licensed in the state to have car insurance. The mandatory minimum car insurance requirements for Colorado are sometimes referred to as 25/50/15, which refers to different minimum amounts of insurance:

  • $25,000 per person for injury-related expenses, other than medical bills for the insurance policyholder.
  • $50,000 per accident for injury expenses for two or more people injured in an accident, not including the policyholder’s own medical expenses.
  • $15,000 per accident for property damage, including money to repair vehicle damage.

What optional car insurance is available in Colorado?

In Colorado, drivers can choose to purchase additional insurance beyond the state’s mandatory minimum car insurance requirements, including:

  • Collision coverage, which provides money to pay for vehicle repairs due to a collision, regardless of who is at fault. This is optional by law but usually required by the lienholder for financed vehicles.
  • Comprehensive insurance, which pays for damage in situations other than motor vehicle collisions. Such events can include weather-related incidents, vandalism, theft, or collisions with animals.
  • Medical payment coverage, also known as "MedPay," which offers compensation for medical expenses and funeral-related expenses as a result of a collision on a no-fault basis.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, which pays for your damages if your accident is caused by a driver who does not have insurance or doesn’t have enough to pay for the full cost.

This question might sound simple. But the answer’s a lot more complicated than you might expect. The bottom line is you should be compensated for all your accident expenses if someone else caused your collision in Colorado. That’s the law and that’s how the state’s at-fault car insurance system works.

Where this can get complicated is different parties might disagree about how much money you should receive for your accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company might claim that your accident is only worth a few thousand dollars. In contrast, your lawyer might argue that you deserve far more money based on evidence support of your car accident claim.

This is why it’s critical that injury victims have an attorney on their side working with them to obtain the money they rightfully deserve. Otherwise, you could end up having to pay for some of your accident expenses out of your own pocket.

Who decides how much my Colorado car accident is worth?

You might be surprised to find out that in many cases, the businesses that have the most to say about how much money you should receive for your accident are the same ones responsible for paying for your accident – insurance companies.

Not surprisingly, the at-fault driver’s insurance company (which is often responsible for paying for your accident) will likely not take into account all of your accident expenses. Their goal is to save money, not to fully compensate you for your losses.

The reality is you should be compensated for all your accident expenses, regardless of whether they occur a few days after your accident or years later. That’s why it’s critical that you have an attorney representing you involved in any discussions concerning how much money you should receive for your accident.

What can I be compensated for?

As explained above, you should be compensated for all your accident expenses. What you might not realize is just how many expenses this can include, especially when you take into account future anticipated expenses due to your accident. This is one area in particular where injury victims and insurance companies are often at odds. Such expenses can cover a wide range, including:

  • Cost of all medical care, including future medical treatment for ongoing medical issues (including chronic pain) due to your accident.
  • Money to repair damage to your vehicle or buy a new one if your car was destroyed in your accident.
  • Replacement income if you need time off from work to recover from your injuries.
  • Future income if you are not able to return to work or can only work in a reduced capacity due to a permanent disability.

How is car accident compensation calculated in Colorado?

Compensation for car accident injury victims in Colorado is calculated based on a variety of factors, including the extent of someone’s injury, the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident.

Insurance companies for everyone involved often have the most to say when it comes to determining how much money should be awarded to car accident injury victims. But they shouldn’t be the only ones involved in such important discussions.

An experienced car accident lawyer should be part of this process and make sure that injury victims’ rights are respected. An attorney can help injury victims understand the different types of compensation available. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that anyone hurt in an accident caused by another driver receives fair and full compensation for the harm they suffered.

Soon after your Colorado car accident, you might receive a settlement offer from an insurance company. You might be tempted to accept such an offer. But remember, once you accept a settlement offer for your Colorado car accident, you can’t ask for more money in the future, even if your accident expenses go up more than you expected years later.

As a result, you could end up having to pay for some future, accident-related expenses out of your own pocket. And in some cases, such expenses can be substantial. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider any settlement offer before you agree to accept it.

Can I ask for more money for my car crash claim?

Yes. If you believe your settlement offer does not cover all your car accident-related expenses, you can and should ask for more money. But actually getting the money you rightfully deserve can often be a very complicated legal process.

The reason why is because you may be entitled to receive a lot more money than you were offered by the other driver’s insurance company. And rather than agreeing to negotiate with you in good faith, many insurance companies do everything they can to pay injury victims as little as possible.

An experienced attorney can help you negotiate a better car accident settlement offer. They understand how the process works and know how to deal with insurance companies. And if they act in bad faith and refuse to offer more money, your lawyer can file a car accident lawsuit on your behalf seeking damages, the legal term for financial compensation.

Yes. As briefly explained above, anyone injured in a collision in Colorado caused by another driver has the right to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their accident expenses. What you might not realize is you only have a limited amount of time to take legal action.

In Colorado, car accident injury victims only have three years from the date of their accident to file a lawsuit in a civil court. This deadline, known as the statute of limitations, is spelled out in Colorado Revised Statute § 13-80-101(1).

Three years might seem like a long time. But the reality is the longer you wait to take legal action, the harder it often becomes to find the evidence you need to build a strong and successful legal case. That’s why it’s important to act fast after a collision in Colorado and talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Can I sue for pain and suffering for a car accident in Colorado?

Yes. Colorado allows car accident injury victims to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. Non-economic damages is a legal term used to describe money awarded for injury-related expenses that do not have a specific price tag, like car repairs or medical bills. Instead, non-economic damages are compensation for the overall impact an accident can have on someone’s life.

But there are limits in Colorado for how much money car accident injury victims can receive for pain and suffering. With few exceptions, these damages are capped at $500,000. However, only an attorney can explain which caps apply in your situation.

What options are available if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance?

Depending on what type of car insurance you have, you may be able to file an accident claim with your own insurance company if you’re injured in a collision caused by an uninsured driver. If you have UM insurance, it will stand in for the other driver’s insurance. You may also be able to file a collision or MedPay claim if you have those types of coverage.

But even if you have UM insurance coverage, don’t simply assume that your insurance company will pay for you for your accident-related expenses. In many cases, insurance companies – even your own – are more focused on making money and that can come at your expense.

As a result, instead of getting the money you deserve for a collision caused by an uninsured driver, you could find yourself in a fierce battle with your own insurance company. This is why you should talk to an attorney right away after your Colorado car accident.

So many different legal issues often come up after a serious collision in Colorado. And if you don’t have an attorney on your side who understands how the legal process works, you might not get the money you deserve for your accident.

This is critical since injury victims only have one opportunity to obtain the compensation they need for a lifetime’s worth of accident expenses. And if you suffer from chronic pain or other long-term medical issues due to your accident, such expenses can be significant.

It’s also important to understand that Colorado car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means you only have to pay them if they secure a financial settlement or verdict for you. If they don’t win your case, you don’t have to pay them. There’s no risk and no downside to talking about your options with a lawyer in your area. Schedule your free consultation today.

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