Understanding auto insurance laws in Colorado will help protect you and your family in the case you are involved in an auto accident. Especially if the accident involves injuries.
There are two types of law your attorney will use when handling of your case. The first is personal injury law, which deals with the recovery of damages for the injuries you suffer in the accident.
Auto insurance laws are the second type of law your attorney will use. Read on for all you need to know about car insurance law, and how it may impact the negotiations of your auto accident injury attorney.
Auto Insurance Requirements
In Colorado, you must obtain car insurance prior to registering your vehicle. The minimum amount of coverage you may have is:
- Bodily injury coverage $25,000 per person
- Bodily injury coverage has a total maximum per accident of $50,000
- Personal Property damage of up to $15,000
Bodily injury coverage provides you with protection if you are found at fault in an accident and liable for injuries of the other vehicle’s occupants.
Property damage coverage provides coverage for personal property to the other vehicle. This happens if you are liable for the accident.
In addition to bodily injury and property damage, liability insurance provides you with legal assistance. This may be necessary if the driver or occupants of the other motor vehicle take legal action against you.
If the other driver is uninsured, your personal injury attorney may use their negligence during negotiations and at trial.
While the minimum legal insurance will get you on the road, adding optional coverage will provide you personally with better benefits in the event of an accident.
Adding Comprehensive insurance will handle repairs for non-collision damage to your vehicle. This includes items such as broken glass, vandalism, and theft.
Collision insurance covers repairs to your vehicle when it is in an accident with another automobile or object. Medical benefits coverage handles medical expenses or funeral expenses, regardless of who is at fault in an accident.
It is highly recommended that you obtain uninsured/under-insured motorist insurance. This provides conversation in the event of an accident in which the other driver is at fault but does not have insurance. It also provides coverage if the other driver has insufficient coverage for the damages you incur.
Medical costs from injuries can be substantial and permanently impact your life. Before accepting any settlement from an insurance company, schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney.
Auto Insurance Laws in Colorado
Every state has its own insurance laws, and it is important to stay up-to-date on current rules. For instance, prior to 2003 Colorado was a "no-fault" state, but is now an "at fault" state.
Colorado is an “At Fault” State
Beginning in 2003 Colorado became an “at fault” state. This means the insurance company of an at-fault driver in an accident is responsible for covering accident expenses. This includes medical expenses and car repairs.
If the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage, you may need to request compensation from your own insurance company. This is the reason under-insured/uninsured coverage is important.
Insurance companies try to pay out as little as possible. You may need to file a lawsuit if you have extensive injuries due to the other driver's negligence.
Your personal injury attorney will review all accident and insurance records when negotiating a settlement or filing a lawsuit.
Failure to Insure
If a driver fails to insure their vehicle, they may face charges of a Class 1 misdemeanor, “Failure to Hold Insurance.” A conviction may result in you receiving four points on your driver's license.
A minimum fine of $500 and four (4) month driver license suspension may also occur. A driver's license suspension is generally given until you show proof of insurance in court on a first offense.
If this is a second offense you will encounter a minimum fine of $1,000. There will also be a mandatory four (4) month driver's license suspension.
Third and subsequent offenses have a minimum $1,000 fine. Your driver's license will be suspended for eight (8) months. You may also receive up to forty (40) hours of community service.
If the driver does not have proof of insurance on them, they will receive a charge of “Failure to Carry Proof of Insurance.” This charge carries the same penalties as failure to hold. The person’s driver’s license will be suspended until they appear in court and prove they had insurance coverage on the date of the accident.
When filing a claim or making statements to your insurance company, you must make sure that you do not commit insurance fraud. You may be found guilty of insurance fraud if you make a false claim of injury or cause an accident with the intent of filing an insurance claim.
You may also be guilty of insurance fraud if you withhold important information, forge documents, or make a false statement. Filing a claim for damages you had prior to the insurance coverage or using brokers or agents that do not have a license also constitutes fraud.
The Colorado law that prohibits insurance fraud is CRS 18-5-211 and may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony with the following penalties:
Class 1 Misdemeanor is the charge if you apply for coverage by lying. If guilty penalties are 6-18 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000
Class 5 Felony is the charge for all other types of insurance-related fraud. If guilty penalties are 1-3 years in Colorado State Prison and fines of up to $100,000
To avoid suspicion of insurance fraud, you may have your attorney handle insurance communication on your behalf.
Personal Injury from Car Accident
When you suffer injuries in a car accident in Colorado, you may be wondering what type of damages you can recover. A personal injury attorney will evaluate your case for recovery of the following:
Economic Damages are all financial damages you incur as a direct result of your accident, including medical expenses, lost wages, repair to your automobile, long-term rehabilitative care, and more
Non-Economic Damages do not have a financial price-tag but impact your life such as physical pain, emotional trauma, and permanent physical disabilities
Punitive Damages are more of a punishment and are generally only awarded in cases of extreme neglect or wrongdoing
If the other driver is at fault and does not have their vehicle properly insured, they will be personally responsible for all financial losses relating to the accident.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
When you are in a car accident in Colorado, you need an attorney who specializes in personal injury law. A knowledgeable lawyer will handle all aspects of your case.
Your attorney will evaluate the merits of your claim. They will obtain and review the accident report and gather all evidence. This includes police reports, eyewitness statements, medical records, and video surveillance.
If the matter proceeds to trial they will know how to find and subpoena expert witnesses for testimony. They will handle all discovery including depositions, witness and exhibit lists, and preparation of exhibits for trial.
Your attorney will properly value your case, including economic, non-economic, and punitive damages you may be able to recover. They will negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies and/or their attorneys.
Personal injury attorneys are knowledgeable on the statute of limitations and will file any lawsuit timely. They are familiar with civil litigation, the court process, and trial procedures.
If you have injuries from an auto accident the best thing you can do is contact a Denver, Colorado personal injury attorney. They will evaluate your case and begin work on getting you the compensation you deserve.
We Can Help
If you have been in a car accident and are suffering injuries, contact our office in Greenwood Village. Our personal injury attorneys will review your accident and provide you with analysis relevant to personal injury and car insurance laws in Colorado.
We recommend you call us at (303) 567-7981 to schedule a consultation as soon after your accident as possible. Don’t miss the filing deadline for your benefits, call now!