How to Handle my Colorado Auto Insurance Claim
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO speak with a colorado car accident lawyer for free
Car accidents happen far too often, and they can leave you with serious injuries, a damaged or totaled vehicle, and unable to work to earn a living. Most drivers depend on their insurance policies to help them pay the bills that may result from car accidents; however, many people may not fully understand their coverage or the process for filing a claim with an insurer after an accident. As a result, they may struggle to pursue the compensation they may be entitled to or may fail to seek the maximum compensation owed to them under their policies.
If you have been involved in an auto accident in Colorado, you should contact a Colorado car accident attorney by calling Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
COLORADO Auto INSURANCE LAWS
Colorado is an At-fault State
Most states are no-fault states, meaning after an accident, a driver will generally seek compensation from their own insurance company. Under Colorado auto insurance laws, no fault was the system used until 2003 as well. However, in 2003, Colorado adopted the at-fault system, which requires victims of car accidents to pursue compensation for injuries and property damage due to a car accident through the insurance of the at-fault driver.
This change requires that accidents must now be studied to investigate who may have been at fault for the accident to determine how compensation can be sought. Motorists involved in an accident may file a claim with their own insurance company, who will then generally file a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer, or they may file a claim directly against the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Colorado Insurance Requirements
Colorado state law requires that all vehicle owners carry liability insurance. Colorado state law also places the following minimum requirements on the coverage that must be carried:
- $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.
Drivers may choose to purchase policies that exceed this coverage, but they are required to have a policy that meets this minimum of coverage. Drivers who do not have the required coverage will face fines and points added to their driving records, in addition to having their license suspended until proof of insurance is demonstrated.
Leaving the Scene of the Accident in Denver, Colorado
If you are involved in an auto accident in Denver, Colorado, you must almost always stop and remain at the scene of the accident; no matter how minor the accident may seem, even if there appears to be no injuries and minimal damage, you cannot leave the scene of an accident. Fault does not factor into laws regarding leaving the scene of an accident, as you may still be charged with fleeing the scene even if you were not at fault for the accident. Under Colorado law, Colorado Revised Statutes Section 42-4-1606 places a mandatory requirement that drivers involved in any traffic accident must submit a written report on the accident within ten days unless the accident was immediately reported to law enforcement, if the accident resulted in:
· any injury to, serious bodily injury to, or death to any person, or
· any property damage.
In Colorado, you are also required to share information, such as contact information and insurance information, with any other drivers involved in the accident, and you are required to render assistance within reason. This means calling 911, seeking medical attention, and rendering first aid if possible. The penalties for fleeing the scene of an accident vary, depending on the severity of the crash and injuries that may have been suffered. If you are involved in an accident, you should always follow these steps if possible:
- Always stop and do not flee the scene even if the damage seems minor or you were not responsible for causing the accident.
- Exchange information.
- Render aid if necessary.
- Contact local law enforcement to report the accident.
Followings these steps will not only help to provide your Colorado car accident attorney with critical evidence and documentation of the accident and who may have been at fault, but it ensures you do not face charges for fleeing the scene. Finally, if you are the victim of a hit-and-run, you will generally need to make a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage, at least until the at-fault driver may later be found.
TYPES OF Auto insurance COVERAGE in colorado
Insurers offer different types of vehicle accident coverage. These policies offer a variety of options, with the main difference being who and what may be covered. Motorists may only have one, or multiple types of coverage, depending on the policy they choose.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Bodily Injury (BI) liability coverage is used to provide compensation for injuries and medical treatment of drivers or passengers who may have been injured in a car accident you caused. This type of coverage does not cover your own medical costs. Colorado law requires all drivers to carry this type of coverage, providing for at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Property Damage Liability Coverage
Property damage liability coverage is used to provide compensation for damage to vehicles that may have been sustained by other drivers in an accident you caused. This type of coverage does not cover property damage to your own vehicle. Colorado law requires all drivers to have at least $15,000 per accident covered by this property damage liability coverage.
Collision coverage covers damage to your vehicle in the event of a collision, regardless of who may be at fault; while this type of coverage is not required by law, it may be required by lenders if your vehicle is financed. Collision coverage only covers damage caused by a collision with another vehicle; it will not provide compensation for damage caused to your vehicle by other means, such as a collision with wildlife, hail, fire, theft, or vandalism.
Comprehensive coverage is used to provide compensation for damage that is not caused by a collision. Unlike collision, this type of coverage specifically covers damages caused by fire, wildlife, hail, theft, and vandalism, and other means. This insurance coverage may also pay to repair a broken windshield caused by a rock or other object hitting your windshield while driving.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage
While it is required by law that all motorists carry certain amounts of liability insurance, there are still some drivers who skirt the law and are not insured, while others may have the minimum of insurance required by law, but this coverage may fall short of fully covering your medical bills and damages. UM/UIM coverage can help make sure you receive compensation for your injuries and property damage if you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Colorado law requires that insurers offer UM/UIM coverage, equal to the bodily injury limits of your own policy; drivers may choose to opt out of this coverage, but they must do so in writing.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage provides compensation for injuries you may have sustained as a result of an accident, regardless of who may have been at fault. Colorado law requires that insurers offer at least $5,000 in medical payment coverage, though drivers may choose to opt out of this coverage as well, so long as they present their request to opt-out in writing to the insurer. Drivers may also choose higher coverage plans to further protect themselves and their passengers in the event of an accident.
Policy holders who have personal liability umbrella coverage may be able to receive additional compensation through their insurer if their Bodily Injury or UM/UIM is inadequate to cover the full amount of their medical bills or property damages.
HOW INSURANCE DEDUCTIBLES WORK AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Most insurance policies require a deductible, which is an amount to be paid out of pocket by the insured, before the insurer will pay the remainder of the claim. For instance, if you have $4,000 in medical bills, and a $500 deductible, you will be required to pay the $500 deductible out of pocket, and then the insurer will cover the remaining $3,500. Generally, the deductible is agreed on upon purchasing a policy.
The amount of deductible required by your insurer is inversely related to your monthly premium. This means the higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be, and vice versa.
Compensation for Deductible Payments
You may be able to claim compensation for your out-of-pocket auto insurance deductible in Colorado from the at-fault driver or their insurer. If it is determined that the other driver is at-fault for the accident, your insurer may be able to make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer to cover your deductible costs in addition to compensation for injuries and property damage.
CONTACT A COLORADO CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TODAY
After months or years of diligently paying your premiums, you expect your insurer to keep their end of your contract by paying any costs allowed under your policy, up to your coverage limits. Unfortunately, laws governing Colorado auto insurance claims can be complex and difficult to understand. Most Denver drivers may not even be aware of these laws but they are bound by them nonetheless, whether they are aware of them or not. “Ignorance of the law is not an excuse,” as the old saying goes.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Denver, Colorado, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group as soon as possible. Our attorneys have years of experience handling car accident cases for clients in the Denver area, and they will use this knowledge to thoroughly investigate your accident to help determine who may have been at fault. Insurers will attempt to pay out as little as possible, but our attorneys can help level the playing field with the insurer’s team of lawyers as they help you pursue the maximum compensation you may be entitled to under your policy.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.