SETTLEMENTS FOR CAR ACCIDENTS IN COLORADO
Due to Colorado’s no-fault insurance system, motorists must carry a minimum of $5,000 in medical payments coverage (MedPay). This implies that if someone is injured in a car accident, they must first submit a claim under their MedPay coverage or another policy that may be applicable.
In Colorado car accidents, fault does not occur until the injured individual has reached or surpassed their MedPay insurance maximum, which only covers 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost income linked to the accident and injury.
You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, future medical expenses, future lost wages, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium with a spouse, or any other non-economic losses that apply to your situation if your car accident case is settled.
In this tutorial, Warrior Car Accident Lawyers‘ persona injury lawyers present an in-depth look into how car settlements operate in Colorado. Not all car accident lawsuits are resolved in the same manner. In most circumstances, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays the settlement sum to the accident victim.
However, an accident victim may be compensated directly by the driver or another party in rare situations. We’ll go through the car accident settlement procedure in detail, as well as some cautions and insights into special instances that differ from the standard.
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IN THE EVENT OF A CAR ACCIDENT, YOU WILL NEED TO FILE A CLAIM WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY.
Once your MedPay policy limitations have been reached, you must claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. Colorado’s financial responsibility laws compel drivers to provide evidence of $10,000 in bodily injury or death insurance per person and $20,000 per accident.
The great majority of drivers comply with this requirement by acquiring bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance.
These restrictions apply only when a driver owns his or her car outright and has custody of the title. Those who have leased or borrowed money to buy a car must have $100,000 in bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage per person and $300,000 per accident.
You may call the at-fault driver’s carrier by phone to report the accident, whether you acquired insurance information personally at the time of the accident or obtained it via the official crash report.
Some insurance providers offer online portals via which you may register a claim.Your Warrior car accident lawyer will also notify your own insurance company about the collision to alert them to the possibility of a claim. This protects you if the motorist who hit you is uninsured or underinsured.
INQUIRY INTO AN INSURANCE COMPANY
When you submit a formal claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, they will investigate the accident and decide on the claim. Examining the traffic accident report, contacting on-the-record witnesses, and consulting with accident specialists and medical experts are all examples of this.
When you are not the policyholder, insurance firms and their agents are not your friends. They don’t remain in business by accepting every claim since it hurts their financial line.
You should anticipate the insurance company and its designated adjuster or agent to look for any way to reduce the value of your claim. Some insurance firms are so ambitious that they will go to extremes in ethics, even if it means violating your rights.
Your statement will be taken by an adjuster or representative, who may also seek access to your medical records. Before signing any releases or authorizations for the carrier, you should speak with a personal injury attorney.
YOUR CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM HAS BEEN REJECTED
Your claim will be approved or denied when the insurance company has completed its investigation. The carrier may refuse your claim outright in specific instances. This may happen for a variety of reasons. The claim might be denied for procedural reasons or because the corporation determined that the policyholder was not responsible for damages.
If you are refused, the car accident settlement procedure will come to a halt until you contact an auto accident lawyer to assist you in obtaining the compensation you are entitled to.
INITIAL SETTLEMENT OFFER FOR A CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM
If your claim isn’t denied, the insurance company will usually give you a settlement offer for your car accident claim. In many circumstances, the first offer for a car accident compensation is inadequate. Insurance companies are continually looking for methods to pay out as little money as possible.
The initial offer is intended to entice accident victims with enough money to accept it, but it does not cover the whole claim value. When you accept a settlement offer, the insurance company usually requires you to sign a waiver waiving your right to sue in civil court for damages.
NEGOTIATING A SETTLEMENT FOR A CAR ACCIDENT
Consider a settlement offer you get after filing a car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company as a starting point for talks. Insurance firms employ big legal teams and adjusters who are well-versed in their occupations and adept at intimidating accident victims.
To manage tasks, it’s to your best advantage to speak with a personal injury attorney. Auto accident attorneys have dealt with huge insurance companies and their legal teams before. Most are expert negotiators, so there’s a strong possibility they can get you a better settlement than you can on your own.
An attorney can also properly evaluate your claim. It’s simple to tally up tangible losses like hospital bills and lost pay, but appraising future lost wages and medical care linked with serious accidents sometimes need the assistance of a third party, such as a physician or economist.
Personal injury attorneys often have a network of specialists, such as life care planners and accident reconstructionist, who may assist in valuing a claim.
SETTLEMENT OF A CAR ACCIDENT MEDIATION
Mediation is a kind of ADR (alternative dispute resolution). If you and the insurance company can’t agree, one or both of you might ask for mediation. A mediator will meet with you and one or more representatives from the insurance company to discuss your claim and the worth of losses.
Mediation is non-binding, and the mediator’s role is to assist the talk and preserve a record. This implies that the mediator cannot compel the insurance company to pay a certain settlement amount or you to accept a specific offer.
SETTLEMENT OF A CAR ACCIDENT ARBITRATION
Another kind of alternative conflict resolution is arbitration. Arbitration, like mediation, is a meeting between you and one or more insurance company representatives, but unlike mediation, arbitration is legally binding.
This means that the arbitrator, like a court, listens to your case and makes a final judgment on how much you will get in a car accident settlement. Arbitration must be agreed upon by both you and the insurance company; you cannot be compelled to participate.
Arbitration has several potential advantages, making it a popular choice among individuals who prefer not to court. The parties are solely responsible for the arbitrator’s fee, not court fees or any costs involved with a trial.
Because the arbitrator has the last say, the insurance company is unable to dispute the verdict. If you are satisfied with the arbitrator’s settlement sum, this is an appealing bonus.
JEREMY D. EARLE, JD, IS A COLORADO PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER WHO SPECIALIZES IN CAR ACCIDENTS
A personal injury lawsuit is a final recourse for car accident victims seeking compensation for damages suffered due to their injuries. If you engage a personal injury attorney to represent you and file a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist, you may still get compensation. In reality, almost 95% of car accident claims are settled before they get to court.
Insurance companies often don’t take claims seriously or grossly undervalue them. When you file a personal injury case, it attracts their attention and frequently encourages them to negotiate more quickly. If mediation or arbitration were not an option before the lawsuit, the insurance company might agree to participate after the case is filed.
UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED MOTORISTS, AS WELL AS OTHER SCENARIOS
In most severe car accident cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be the one to give you a settlement. However, there are certain unusual circumstances in which another party may reimburse you. Here are a few examples:
Severe car accidents are expensive, and there’s a potential your losses may surpass the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability insurance policy limitations. When these scenarios occur, if you have acquired an underinsured motorist policy, it will kick in. However, you will only be compensated up to the limits of your insurance coverage.
If your injuries and losses are more than your underinsured motorist coverage, you will most likely need to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek further compensation. When an accident results in costly, life-altering injuries, this is all too easy to happen.
Accident victims with chronic impairments, particularly those who need continuing treatment and care, may rapidly rack up medical bills.
Underinsured motorist insurance and uninsured motorist insurance function in the same manner. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you must claim with your uninsured motorist policy if you have one. If you seek further damages, you may get a payment from your carrier and compensation from the at-fault motorist.
The approach described above assumes you were involved in a single-car collision. Multi-car crashes are unfortunately common. When there are several parties engaged, there may be multiple insurance companies involved.
Because each side frequently seeks to transfer responsibility to other parties, these circumstances may be confusing. You must tell your insurance company and give any relevant information about the other parties involved in the collision. Some insurance companies will pay a portion of a policy’s payout and then pursue recovery from the at-fault drivers.
THE SITUATION WITH THE SAME CARRIER
Finding out that you and the at-fault motorist share the same insurance provider is one of the most frustrating aspects of a car accident claim. Insurance firms must handle these claims with caution to prevent a conflict of interest. In most circumstances, this entails assigning each side to a distinct representative or adjuster. The investigating process will proceed in much the same way as before.
EVEN MORE CRUCIAL
Speak slowly and clearly with your adjuster. Even though you are a policyholder, the insurance carrier will almost certainly try to reduce the amount of your claim as much as possible. In these sorts of instances, having a personal injury lawyer manage communications may assist shield you against insurance company scams.
Colorado does enable drivers to furnish their insurance if they have enough money to cover damages in the event of an accident and do not need to purchase a policy. You will avoid the insurance procedure if you are in a collision with a self-insured motorist.
Remember to notify your own insurance provider about the car accident; many carriers have provisions that compel drivers to report an accident if their coverage applies. When you submit a claim under your MedPay coverage, you will usually meet this condition.
If you are in a collision with a self-insured motorist, your lawyer will negotiate directly with him or her. In certain cases, the driver may deny responsibility and refuse to pay. This implies you’ll have to launch a lawsuit to get any money.
SEEK THE ADVICE OF A SEASONED CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
In Colorado, most car accident settlements follow the same pattern, but there are a few exceptions.
In any instance, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer who can walk you through the claims process and advise you on whether you need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist, or even your own MedPay carrier, to be compensated.
This may make the settlement process move more easily and save you from dealing with insurance companies directly, who are unlikely to be on your side.