Navigating Colorado’s car accident laws is a task that you will have to complete as a crash victim. If you wish to collect full and fair financial compensation for your medical expenses and property damage, you will need to understand how these cases work in Colorado and what laws apply. Use this summary of Colorado’s most important car accident laws for general information; then, contact a car accident attorney in Aurora for legal advice tailored to your specific case.
Required Automobile Insurance in Colorado
Car insurance is mandatory for all drivers in Colorado. It is not possible to register a motor vehicle without proof of insurance. Operating a motor vehicle without the required types and amounts of car insurance can lead to fines and driver’s license suspension. It can also make a driver personally responsible for paying for a car accident, meaning he or she will owe the other driver out of pocket. The required amounts of insurance in Colorado are currently $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury or death insurance, as well as $15,000 in property damage liability insurance.
Tort Car Accident Law
Liability insurance is mandatory in Colorado because it is a fault-based or tort-based car insurance state. This is true of most states in the country, with only 12 states abiding by no-fault laws. This insurance law states that the driver or party at fault for causing a car accident is legally and financially responsible, meaning this party must pay for the medical bills, property repairs and other losses of all involved parties.
In a no-fault state, a driver files a claim with his or her own car insurance company regardless of fault and does not have to prove negligence to collect financial compensation. In Colorado, however, it is necessary to prove the other driver is at fault. You may need an attorney to assist you in determining and proving liability. The upside is that third-party insurance claims generally result in greater financial compensation than first-party claims.
Colorado’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law
A common defense strategy used in car accident cases in Colorado is the modified comparative negligence defense. This argument alleges that the plaintiff, or filing party, in a car accident claim also contributed to the accident and that the defendant should therefore not be found 100 percent liable. Colorado uses a modified comparative negligence law to determine liability in these scenarios.
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-21-111 states that in a negligence case, contributory negligence shall not bar recovery in any action if the negligence was not as great as that of the person against whom recovery is sought. In other words, as long as a party is less than 50 percent at fault for a car accident, he or she can still recover financial compensation in Colorado. When a percentage of fault is allocated to the victim, however, his or her financial recovery is reduced by an equivalent amount.
Statute of Limitations to File a Car Accident Claim in Colorado
Like all 50 states, Colorado has a statute of limitations in place on car accident and personal injury claims. Colorado Revised Statute 13-80-101 states that a civil action brought for bodily injury or property damage arising out of the use or operation of a motor vehicle must be commenced within three years.
Typically, the clock starts ticking on the date of the car accident; however, if the victim doesn’t discover his or her injuries immediately, the clock may be tolled (paused) until the date of reasonable discovery. Other exceptions may also apply in limited circumstances, such as car accidents involving injured minors or the negligence of a government agency.
For a comprehensive overview of all Colorado car accident laws that apply to your case, contact Manning Law to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.