A car accident can cause expensive property damage and medical bills for those involved. Each state has its own unique system for how to deal with a car accident, including who is legally responsible for paying for the wreck. Most car insurance systems fall into one of two categories: fault or no-fault. Colorado, like most states, is a fault state.
Fault vs. No-Fault Car Insurance States
Colorado is not a no-fault state. It operates on a fault-based or tort-based car insurance system, which means the driver or party at fault for the car accident is who must pay for the damage. With this type of insurance system, an injured accident victim must prove that the other driver is to blame for the crash to qualify for financial compensation. If fault is established, that driver’s insurance carrier will pay for the other party’s medical bills and property repairs.
All motor vehicle drivers in Colorado are legally required to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance. Currently, these amounts are $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person, $50,000 for bodily injury or death per accident, and 15,000 for property damage. Liability car insurance will pay for the losses of another party after the policyholder causes a car accident. Drivers also have the option of purchasing additional types of insurance to pay for their own losses after a collision.
In a no-fault state, on the other hand, all drivers involved in a car accident contact their own car insurance companies for damage coverage, regardless of who caused the crash. With a no-fault system, it is not necessary to prove that another driver is at fault to receive insurance benefits. Each driver carries personal injury protection insurance to pay for their own medical bills after a collision. Most no-fault states only allow crash victims to sue someone else if their injuries are severe. The Aurora personal injury attorneys at our firm understand fault-based car accident claims and have helped injured victims recover compensation from negligent parties.
How to File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in Colorado
If you get injured in a car accident in the state of Colorado, you will seek financial compensation from the insurance provider of the at-fault party. The claims process will begin with notifying the police that a crash has taken place. Obtaining a police accident report can strengthen your insurance claim. It can help you prove that the other driver is at fault. The police report may include the probable cause of the crash, such as reckless or dangerous driving.
When you contact another driver’s car insurance company to file a claim, someone known as the insurance claims adjuster will be assigned to your case. This person’s job is to save the insurance company as much money as possible. Protect your rights by declining to give the adjuster a recorded statement, keeping your answers to questions short and simple, and not admitting fault for the crash.
If you are found to be at fault for a car accident in Colorado, you will have no choice but to seek coverage from your own insurance provider. First-party insurance coverage will only be available if you purchased additional insurance beyond Colorado’s minimum required amounts. This may include medical payment insurance, personal injury protection insurance, and collision or comprehensive insurance.
Proving a Car Accident Claim in Colorado
In a fault state, you are required to prove that the other driver caused or greatly contributed to your crash to recover compensation from his or her car insurance provider. Proving fault typically means establishing negligence, or the failure of the other driver to use reasonable care. This may mean evidence of distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, reckless driving or other dangerous driver behaviors.
You may need to hire a skilled car accident attorney in Aurora to help you prove fault and negotiate a fair insurance settlement after a crash in Colorado. Most car accident cases reach settlements and do not have to go to trial. A case may have to go to court if the other driver’s insurance company rejects the claim or refuses to offer a fair settlement value, however. For more information about how Colorado’s car insurance system works, contact an attorney at Manning Law. We offer free initial case consultations.