Car accidents are one of the most common causes of injuries and deaths in Colorado. As a Colorado driver, getting into a car accident is most likely a question of when, not if. Our team of Denver car accident lawyers recommend all drivers to understand how to file a car accident claim in case you get involved in a vehicle collision. Otherwise, you could be at risk of making a mistake that hurts your chances of recovering financial compensation.
Is Colorado a Fault or No-Fault State?
There are two main types of auto insurance systems: fault and no-fault. In 2003, Colorado changed from a no-fault state to a fault state. Today, it follows most other states in that the driver at fault for an accident is financially and legally responsible (liable). In a no-fault state, on the other hand, both drivers seek financial benefits from their own auto insurance providers, regardless of fault.
Colorado’s fault-based system comes with pros and cons. One of the advantages is the amount of compensation available; a third-party claim against another driver can result in a greater award than a first-party claim, in most cases. One of the disadvantages is that the injured victim must prove that the other driver was negligent or at fault to qualify for coverage. Proving negligence is not a requirement in a no-fault state.
Colorado Auto Insurance Requirements
If you get injured or suffer property damage in a car accident and the other driver is to blame, his or her car insurance policy will be responsible for your medical bills and property repairs. All motor vehicle drivers in Colorado are legally required to carry at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance, as well as $15,000 in property damage liability coverage. You can use this coverage to reimburse you after establishing that the other driver is to blame.
Steps to Take Before Filing a Colorado Car Accident Claim
Before you begin the car accident claim process, however, you should take preliminary steps to start gathering information and building your case. This can make the claims process easier and more productive in the future. Some of these steps are optional, while others are legally required:
- Stop at the scene of the car accident immediately.
- If you or anyone else is injured, notify the police.
- Call 911 to report the crash if there are injuries or property damage of at least $1,000.
- Do not admit fault for the car accident.
- Exchange information with the other driver.
- Take pictures and videos while still at the crash scene.
- Go to the nearest hospital for prompt medical care.
- Request copies of your accident report and medical records.
Before you contact an insurance company to initiate a claim, gather at least the essential information about your crash. A representative known as the insurance claims adjuster will ask you questions about the car accident. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers in Aurora, CO recommend to always answer to the best of your ability without giving away too much information.
How to File a Car Insurance Claim in Colorado
As soon as you can, contact the other driver’s insurance carrier using the information you gathered at the scene. Most insurance companies require prompt or immediate reporting. Explain that a crash took place and follow the adjuster’s instructions for filing a claim. Do not give the adjuster a recorded statement, however, and do not discuss your injuries until you’ve seen a doctor. The insurance company will investigate the accident to determine if its policyholder is to blame.
If you face allegations of fault, a claim denial or a settlement offer that seems too low, contact an experienced Aurora car accident attorney before continuing with the claim process. While most claims reach settlements, or agreements with car insurance companies, some require trials to result in fair compensation for the victim. An attorney can help you with every step of the car insurance claims process in Colorado.