Everything You Need to Know About an Auto Accident Lawsuit
May 30, 2018 | Car Accidents
If you’re a Colorado resident unsure of whether you need an auto accident attorney, or if you’re unsure exactly how the personal injury case process works, we’ve provided as much detail as we can to inform your approach to your case. Here are few questions to help you understand how Colorado’s auto accident laws apply to you.
When Do You Need an Attorney For an Auto Accident?
In Colorado, if you suffer injuries, damages, or losses because of an auto accident, the at-fault driver and/or that driver’s insurance company is liable for all costs you incur.
No matter the size of your case, an attorney should review it in these instances:
- You received resulting injuries that required hospitalization
- You incurred a permanent injury, such as paralysis or amputation
- There is disagreement over who is responsible for the accident
- The police report is flawed
- You’re uninsured or were found delinquent on your last insurance payment
- The insurance company has involved its own lawyers
At the very least, consulting an attorney helps remove the hefty paperwork after a motor vehicle collision. They will calculate the amount you are owed and provide trusted counsel to speak to insurance companies on your behalf.
How Do I Establish a Right to an Auto Accident Claim in Colorado?
You’ll want to bring your accident report, insurance claim numbers, and copies of your own insurance policies to your initial interview with an attorney. Take these precautionary steps:
- Take pictures at the scene of the accident to capture damages to you and your car, proving your difficulties.
- Seek immediate medical attention and document any payments, including bills, prescriptions, and co-pays. You should also request a copy of your medical records and keep any casts or braces as evidence. Any delay in filing or seeking medical attention will be used against you by insurance companies to help them avoid payment.
- Review your insurance coverage. Your insurance company may pay a portion of your costs up to your policy amount.
- Document all contact with the insurance company, including identifying information of the representative you speak with. Get their name, job title, number, the time you called, and what was discussed.
What Can Be Recovered in a Car Accident Claim?
Before estimating what your injury is worth, understand that there is no flat amount paid, and you may owe taxes on the amount you receive. Larger amounts will take longer to settle (even months) and insurance companies may pay the amount in increments over several years.
There are two main types of claims you can file for in the event of a motor vehicle collision.
- Property Damage: Coverage for any damage to your vehicle, paid by the at-fault driver or their insurance.
- Bodily Injury: Coverage for injuries you sustained in the collision. In Colorado, every driver is legally required to have up to $25,000 in this type of insurance. Within this category, there are also two types of bodily injury claims that can be made.
- Economic: This includes expenses for medical treatment, car repair and rental, or lost income (due to doctor visits or inability to work).
- Non-economic: This includes expenses for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment, or physical impairment.
Who Will Cover Medical Expenses After an Automobile Accident?
All reasonable and medically necessary expenses should be provided by the at-fault driver (or their insurance), negotiated after your full recovery from injuries. You may need another source to pay for costs until settlement. Here are potential sources:
- Your own car insurance coverage if you selected medical payment benefits
- Medical lien with your health care professional, meaning you pay them when you reach your settlement
Can There Be a Legal Witness to an Auto Accident?
Yes. Every piece of evidence offers validity to your case, including the other driver’s testimony. You might call upon variety of experts to discuss your auto accident claim.
- Your doctor to discuss your prognosis
- Any other pedestrians or drivers present at your accident
- An accident reconstruction specialist to digitally demonstrate the events
- A civil or mechanical engineer to discuss how vehicular malfunction or geographical features impacted the accident
What Mistakes Should You Avoid During an Auto Accident Claim?
- Insurance adjusters will investigate your online presence, including blogs and social media, to investigate the extent of your injuries. Don’t post anything that would indicate your damages are not equal to your claim.
- Don’t sign a settlement before full recovery. An insurance company’s first priority is paying you the least amount available.
- Don’t miss your doctor’s appointments. This could discredit the severity of your injuries.
Bachus & Schanker, LLC are happy to discuss your case and options at no charge to you. Contact us today to receive the compensation you deserve.