Truck Accident Claims in Colorado and Uninsured Drivers
All Colorado drivers, even heavy truck drivers, are required to obtain car insurance. When a car is registered in Colorado, the amount of liability insurance the state needs depends on the kind of goods the truck transports. It may vary from $300,000 to a million dollars.
In addition to Colorado’s regulations, all trucks must be insured by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) guidelines, which stipulate liability coverage limits ranging from $750,000 to $5 million.
Despite these laws, some unscrupulous truck drivers fail to carry the required insurance. When uninsured truck drivers collide with passenger cars, the consequences may be disastrous.
Because of the size differential between trucks and passenger cars, the passenger car and its passengers are almost always more seriously injured than the driver and his truck. It’s not unusual for passenger cars involved in truck accidents to be destroyed. Victims of truck accidents may have to live with the consequences of their injuries for the rest of their life. Physical discomfort may never go away completely.
In addition to the physical suffering truck accident victims experience, they are also forced to cope with the financial misery of mounting medical expenses that they cannot afford. And the longer the injury lasts, the more money you’ll have to pay.
Victims of truck accidents in Colorado may file a personal injury claim against the motorist who damaged them with the aid of a truck accident lawyer. A personal injury claim may enable victims to receive compensation in the form of monetary damages for their injuries and the long-term repercussions of the event if filed within four years of the date of the accident (the statute of limitations).
Truck accidents are no exception since most personal injury claims include the guilty driver’s insurance company. But what if the motorist who caused your injuries was uninsured? Is it possible that you’ve just run out of options? Thankfully, the law prohibits it.
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After a Truck Accident Caused by an Uninsured Driver
When you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured truck driver, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most money out of your claim. Some of these activities may be hard for you to accomplish right away due to your injuries, but start as soon as you can or request assistance.
Claim your insurance.
You must have auto insurance with medical payments coverage (MedPay) coverage if you have a licensed Colorado car. Colorado is a no-fault state, which means that regardless of who was at fault, your insurance plan compensates you for losses you incur resulting from a car accident in the form of reimbursement of medical bills and disability payments (essentially lost income). If a loved one was killed in a car accident, family members might be eligible for death benefits.
The legislature defines minimum coverage levels for all three categories of benefits: $10,000 for medical, $10,000 for disability, and $5,000 for death benefits. Drivers may choose to have larger maximum coverage levels, and policy maximums impact the monthly cost. However, it’s important to realize that MedPay insurance does not cover all medical expenses or lost earnings. It reimburses 80% of medical expenditures up to the plan’s maximum benefit and 60% of income up to its maximum wage.
Even if your MedPay coverage falls well short of paying all of your expenses, especially if you need a lengthy hospital stay, are a high-wage worker, or need significant treatment or rehabilitation, you must make a claim and be reimbursed by your plan before seeking alternative remedies.
Injured drivers must file their MedPay claims within 14 days after the collision. Otherwise, their claim will be refused completely. Insurance companies are required to pay claims within 30 days after they are received. The goal of MedPay coverage is to assist drivers in getting back on their feet as fast as possible—you won’t collect a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit in 30 days.
Obtain the services of a truck accident lawyer.
It’s almost always a terrible idea to launch a personal injury case without first hiring an attorney to guide you through the process. These lawsuits are difficult, and they include teams of lawyers on the opposite side whose only purpose is to ensure that their employers pay the wounded the least amount possible. However, it’s an awful decision if the truck driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance.
Truck Accident Lawyer Jeremy D. Earle, JD
This further complicates the situation since your case gets more complicated. It’s not as simple as pursuing the specific truck driver who caused you harm. You’ll almost certainly be able to file a claim against the trucking business that hired the driver.
Call an expert truck accident attorney or have someone you trust contact them on your behalf as quickly as possible. Your attorney will need more time to prepare your case since litigation requires more work when one side is uninsured.
That three-year statute of limitations may fly by, and if you miss it, your lawsuit will be dismissed outright—thrown out and not examined by the court—leaving you with no way to collect the compensation you are legally entitled to (just because you missed a deadline!).
Keep track of your expenses.
From the beginning, you should keep track of all expenditures related to diagnosing, treating, and recuperating from a collision with an uninsured truck driver. Your MedPay coverage will not pay your medical expenses unless you can show them, and you won’t be able to collect medical expenses from the other party in a personal injury case if you can’t prove them.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your mailbox is swamped with bills, and it’s tempting to just put them in the garbage. Don’t: Open all of them and store them safely.
It’s also crucial to note how much time you’ve had to miss work due to your ailments. Keep track of the days and hours you’ll be away, as well as any other remuneration you’ll be missing out on, including tips, commissions, or retirement contributions.
To collect MedPay disability payments, you must provide evidence of your wages to your insurance carrier. Since MedPay only covers 60% of your earnings, be sure to record the gap between your full paycheck and what MedPay pays. After the MedPay disability benefit term expires, you will have no financial cushion to assist you in getting by until you win a settlement or judgement from your case, therefore maintaining thorough records. If you work on an hourly basis, this is extremely significant.
Who is to Blame for the Car Accident?
Of course, the at-fault motorist in an accident is legally accountable for any injuries caused to others on the road. In most cases, it implies the driver’s insurance company—after all, the objective of having insurance is to shift the financial burden to the insurance company.
Because policymakers recognize that few individuals can afford to pay for the harm they cause out of their wallets, the law compels people to obtain insurance coverage.
Victims may be left without a legal compensation method if someone disobeys the law and do not have insurance. “You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip,” goes the ancient adage. Even if you sue an uninsured motorist and win a monetary award, if the individual you have a judgement against is unable to pay, you are unlikely to obtain compensation.
“Respondeat Superior” is a phrase that means “respond to superiority.”
Employees may be held legally accountable for their activities when operating within the scope of their job. The theory of respondeat superior, sometimes known as vicarious responsibility, governs this situation.
Don’t be put off by the Latin. It’s an idea that dates back to the dawn of English law and means “let the master respond.” Employers, in other words, have a responsibility to ensure that their workers operate in a non-negligent manner while acting on their behalf.
So, suppose a truck driver is delivering merchandise from one location to another and causes an accident. In that case, the trucking business is legally responsible for the driver’s carelessness since the driver was working within the scope of his employer’s obligations.
Fighting a trucking firm and, by implication, its insurance company on your own is not a chore you want to embark on. No matter how genuine your claims against them are, neither the corporation nor its insurance carrier will lie down and open their coffers for you. You need someone on your team who has dealt with employers and insurance companies before intervening on your behalf and ensuring that you obtain all of the financial compensations you are entitled to.
Damages and their Types
Each personal injury case is unique and needs a thorough investigation and legal analysis by a qualified attorney. Injured plaintiffs in Colorado may seek a variety of monetary damages via a personal injury lawsuit. Which kind of damages a victim is entitled to and how much of each form of harm a victim is entitled to depend on the circumstances of the case.
Economic, non-economic, and punitive damages are the three types of damages recovered under the law.
Economic damages are intended to reimburse an affected party for actual monetary losses—think of them as bills. Of course, the amount of damages you may get from the other party in your case is restricted to the expenditures that your MedPay plan hasn’t previously covered.
Initial medical costs (ambulance transportation, emergency care, and your initial hospital stay), post-discharge costs (follow-up appointments with specialists or future surgeries), therapy (physical, occupational, or speech), rehabilitation (inpatient or day treatment), the cost of any specialized medical equipment your injuries require you to use, and the cost of paying someone to perform household services you can no longer perform on your own are all examples of economic damages (an actuary can calculate these by taking into account various factors specific to you and your life expectancy and earning potential).
These losses are more difficult to show since they do not result in a bill in the mail. Experts may, however, be called in to help place a monetary value on these losses. Physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, deformity, and physical handicap may all be recoverable.
Additionally, some family members (often a spouse) may file a claim for loss of consortium at the time of your lawsuit, which tries to compensate them for the loss of companionship caused by your injuries.
Punitive damages are meant to punish offenders for their actions and dissuade others from repeating them. Only Colorado’s most extreme activity is subject to these penalties (usually the intentional infliction of harm). They are uncommon in personal injury lawsuits, but depending on the circumstances of your case, they may apply.
How Can Uninsured Drivers Be Held Accountable?
When the motorist who injured you was responsible enough to hold insurance, truck accidents are already problematic. When he doesn’t, your case becomes much more difficult, and you’ll almost certainly have to battle the driver’s company to achieve justice.
It’s tough to hold irresponsible commercial truck drivers and their companies accountable for their acts, and it sometimes requires a long battle with opposing parties, agents, lawyers, and insurance.
Consulting with an expert truck accident attorney who can explore your alternatives, safeguard your rights, and design the best strategy for going ahead is one of the best ways to guarantee your claim is successful. Call our Colorado Springs office at 719-300-1100 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free consultation on your case with Warrior Truck Accident Lawyers.