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Colorado Car Insurance Laws: What Drivers Need to Know

Colorado Car Insurance Laws: What Drivers Need To Know

Auto Insurance Requirements in the State of Colorado

Drivers in Colorado are required by law to hold liability coverage of at least $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $15,000 per accident for property damage.

In the state of Colorado, drivers who are responsible for a car crash are financially responsible for any resulting injuries or property damage.

In Colorado, automobile insurance is a requirement by law. Drivers or individuals who own motor vehicles in the state of Colorado are required to carry certain types of automobile coverage.

Even in situations where an at-fault driver has sufficient motor vehicle insurance, dealing with an insurance company is still often a stressful experience for individuals.

Fortunately, a skilled Colorado car accident attorney can help an individual respond to the various issues related to automobile insurance coverage that might arise.

Contact us online or call today at (719) 249-0541 for a free consultation.

Colorado Auto Insurance Laws

Law in the state of Colorado requires that every owner of a motor vehicle who operates a vehicle on public highways or knowingly permits the operation of a motor vehicle on the public highways of the state must fully comply with various auto insurance requirements.

Drivers are required, for example, to carry a minimum amount of \$25,000.00 in liability insurance to cover the injuries that driver may cause to other motorists or pedestrians as a result of his or her negligence.

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Colorado

If a Colorado motor vehicle driver can afford to carry more insurance than minimum requirements, it is usually a wise idea to do so.

Colorado insurance law, however, requires that motorists carry certain types of insurance coverage with minimum liability limits, including the following:

Bodily Injury Liability

This type of Colorado auto insurance coverage protects individuals who cause an accident in which someone else is injured or even killed.

The state of Colorado requires that motor vehicle operators carry at least \$25,000 per person for bodily injury and \$50,000 per accident for bodily injuries. This type of agreement is often referred to as “25/50”.

Collision Coverage

This type of coverage applies to damage to a car if one vehicle collides with another car, a wall, or any other object.

The state of Colorado does not require individuals to carry collision coverage, but individuals who have an automobile loan from a bank might be required to carry collision coverage as a term of the loan.

Comprehensive Coverage

This type of auto insurance in Colorado applies to any case where an individual’s vehicle is stolen or damaged in ways that do not involve a collision.

Some of the various situations to which comprehensive coverage applies include encounters with wildlife, earthquakes, explosions, falling objects, fire, flood, hail, and theft.

Comprehensive coverage is optional in the state of Colorado but may be required as a term of a loan.

Medical Payments Coverage

As of January 1, 2009, the state of Colorado requires that insurers offer $5,000 in coverage. Individuals can choose not to buy medical payment coverage or purchase a different amount, but must do so in writing or in the same manner that the parties buy insurance like over the internet or telephone.

Property Damage Liability

This coverage protects individuals who damage someone else’s property. This property in question is often someone else’s automobile, but property damage can include buildings, garage doors, utility poles, and other types of physical property.

Colorado car insurance laws require individuals to carry a limit of $15,000 per occurrence.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

This type of protection applies to a variety of personal injuries such as physical injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical and other expenses incurred when an individual is hit negligently by a driver who lacks adequate automobile insurance.

In the state of Colorado, insurers are required to offer Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage of $25,000 for uninsured motorists and $50,000 for underinsured motorists. This coverage can also be waived in writing, but it is important coverage that should not be waived.

Examples of Issues That Create Complicated Insurance Situations

There are many issues that can arise concerning Colorado car insurance coverage, which include but are certainly not limited to the following examples:

Contact a Colorado Auto Accident Lawyer For Help

For assistance navigating insurance and liability issues after an accident in Colorado, please don’t hesitate to reach us online or call (719) 249-0541 today for a free consultation.

How is Fault Determined in Car Collision Cases?

How Is Fault Determined In Car Collision Cases?

Learn how fault for auto collisions is generally determined in Colorado

Some types of car crashes are clearly one driver’s fault. For instance, drivers who rear end another vehicle are almost always found to be liable for any injuries or damage suffered by the other driver. This may be true even when the car in front unexpectedly stops because all drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care when driving, which includes making sure to keep a safe distance between themselves and nearby cars.

However, it is also not uncommon for more than one party to contribute to a crash. In these situations, it can be difficult to determine what percentage of fault each party is responsible for, so if you live in Colorado and were injured in a car crash, it is important to contact an experienced car crash attorney who can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.

Police Reports

Although it can be difficult, determining who was primarily at fault in causing a crash is critical to the success of a case. This is due to the fact that Colorado adheres to the legal theory of modified comparative fault, which reduces the amount of compensation that an injured party is able to collect by his or her own percentage of fault. For this reason, completing an in-depth investigation into the cause of a crash is may be of paramount importance.

Generally, an investigative team begins this process by establishing whether one of the parties violated a legal duty or a specific state law. This usually begins with obtaining an official copy of the police report written by the officers who responded to the crash. Generally, law enforcement officers stop at the scene of any crash that involves injuries. However, even if the police do not show up, the parties will have to report the crash to a nearby police station. Investigators will also be able to obtain a copy of this report.

The information contained in crash reports can be crucial to a plaintiff’s ability to demonstrate that the other party was at fault. For example, a police officer may include a notation in the report indicating that based on the length of the skid marks at the scene of the crash, one of the vehicles was most likely speeding at the time of the collision. Officers will also indicate whether they issued a traffic ticket to one of the drivers, indicating a defendant violated a law and so is at least partly responsible for the crash.

Additional Evidence

Gathering as much evidence as possible is often key to proving that a defendant caused or significantly contributed to a crash. To this end, investigators usually attempt to collect the following types of evidence:

  • The official police report;
  • Statements from any witnesses who saw the crash occur;
  • Photographs of the scene of the crash, including relevant measurements;
  • Photographs of the damage done to both of the vehicles;
  • Footage from recordings taken by traffic cameras; and
  • Medical records showing the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Investigators also note the exact location of the crash, which can be crucial in determining who was at fault. For instance, if a car turned left in an intersection and was struck by a vehicle coming the other way, investigators can check the records indicating which lights were showing at the time of the crash.

If the car that struck the turning vehicle had a green light, it will be much more difficult for the defendant to establish that he or she was not at fault. However, if camera footage indicates that the driver traveling straight through the intersection was speeding, he or she may be assessed a percentage of fault for contributing to the crash.

Breaching a Legal Duty

All drivers are required to operate their cars in a reasonable way. This includes seeing what can be seen, keeping a lookout for dangers that can be seen (e.g., other cars), maintaining a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you, and complying with all traffic laws. While one driver’s decision to speed or run a red light is evidence that he or she was not driving reasonably, investigators and legal teams also seek to address whether either party had the opportunity to avoid the crash, but failed to do so.

For instance, if one driver rear ended another vehicle that stopped unexpectedly in the middle of the road, but could have avoided the crash if he or she had not been adjusting the radio, he or she may be found to have contributed to the crash.

Comparative Fault

Colorado is a modified comparative fault state, which means that even when an injured driver partially caused or contributed to a crash, he or she can still recover damages. However, this is only possible when the injured party was less than 50 percent at fault. In these situations, the injured party will not be able to collect any compensation from the other driver, even if his or her contribution to the crash was only 51 percent.

Because there is so much at stake in crashes where both parties contributed to a crash, it is especially important that injured parties retain an attorney who can help compile evidence that demonstrates that he or she was only marginally at fault. Proving this will allow a victim to collect compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and the pain and suffering that he or she had to endure as a result of the crash.

Contact us Today to Speak With an Experienced Car Crash Attorney

Determining who caused a car crash is not always as simple as it may seem. Collecting compensation from a party (or their insurer) who refuses to settle requires a thorough investigation as well as an in-depth analysis of all relevant evidence.

Failing to properly collect this evidence, including photographs, witness statements, and police reports can have devastating consequences for victims injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, so if you have questions about your own case, please contact the legal team at McCormick & Murphy, P.C., by calling 719-249-0541 today or by sending us a brief message. Please contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Is Colorado a No Fault State?

Is Colorado A No Fault State?

In 2003 Colorado changed from a “no-fault” state in order to lower car insurance premiums and help prevent claims abuses. Colorado now operates as a tort system

What does Tort System mean?

Although some attorneys and insurance companies refer to Colorado as a “fault” state, this term can be somewhat misleading.

In essence, this term alludes to the legal theory of modified comparative negligence, which means that if someone suffers an injury in a car crash, he or she can sue the party who caused the crash for damages as long as there is evidence to support the claim.

A jury then determines how much each party contributed to the crash and how much the plaintiff can receive in damages.

Unfortunately, even cases that seem clear cut can be time-consuming and expensive to try in court, which makes it especially important for those who have been injured in a crash to retain an experienced car crash attorney who will aggressively represent their interests.

Determining Fault

In car crash cases, juries are required to address two basic issues, including:

  • How much the plaintiff could have recovered if he or she had not contributed to the car crash; and
  • How much each party’s negligence contributed to the crash, which is expressed as a percentage.

For instance, if a jury finds that an injured party suffered \$100,000 worth of damages, but was 30 percent at fault in causing the crash, it the net verdict would only award the injured party \$70,000.

This is because the total damages of $100,000 would be reduced by the plaintiff’s portion of responsibility, which in this scenario was 30 percent.

However, if the roles were reversed and the jury found that the injured party was 70 percent at fault, he or she would be unable to recover any damages at all, even though another party also contributed to the crash.

This is because under Colorado’s modified comparative fault rules, injured parties are not permitted to collect damages from other at-fault drivers if they were 50 percent or more responsible for the crash.

Potential Damages

Injured parties may be required to foot the bill for expensive medical treatments, such as surgery and medications, as well as vehicle repair or replacement. Many who sustain injuries in car crashes are also required to take at least some time off from work, which can make it even more difficult to cover expenses.

Fortunately, victims can collect compensation from the at-fault parties in court, which can make all the difference in a person’s ability to begin the long process of recovery.

However, it can be difficult to establish who was primarily responsible for a car crash and a failure to present strong evidence can lead a jury to decide that a driver was 50 percent at-fault rather than 49 percent, which can have devastating consequences and leave a victim without further legal recourse.

Call us Today to Speak With an Experienced Car Crash Attorney

If you live in Colorado Springs, Denver, or Pueblo and suffered an injury in a car crash, please contact McCormick & Murphy, P.C. at 719-249-0541 to speak with an experienced car crash lawyer who can help explain your legal options.

Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

Do You Need A Car Accident Lawyer?

Wondering whether you need a car crash lawyer? Here are some situations where an attorney can be helpful.

Some of the situations in which a car accident attorney is often essential include the following:

  • The extent of injuries is uncertain. When there are serious or several types of injuries due to a car crash, an attorney can help determine the extent of the damages in question.
  • There is a dispute about fault. If the car crash in question involves difficult determinations regarding fault for the crash, an attorney can help obtain statements and gather evidence to show exactly how an accident occurred. The other driver was uninsured or underinsured. If the driver who is responsible for the crash lacked adequate insurance, a qualified attorney can help an car crash victim decide what all available options are in order to receive compensation.

Reasons for Retaining the Services of a Skilled Colorado Car Accident Attorney

There are several particular advantages to obtaining the services of a skilled attorney, which include the following:

  • An attorney will be able to better assess the value of an individual’s case. Determining the amount of damages incurred as the result of a car crash is particularly difficult. Insurance companies realize that car crash victims can have a difficult time assessing the value of a case on their own and often use this fact to pay an crash victim less money than is deserved. A skilled attorney will know the worth of an individual’s damages and helpensure that the car crash victim receives a fair settlement.
  • Insurance laws are complicated. A knowledgeable attorney understands insurance laws and how various policies apply much better than most car crash victims. Experienced attorneys also know what it takes to make sure that a case resolves in a positive manner.
  • If a case goes to trial, an experienced attorney can reach the best conclusion. In many car crash cases, an insurance company does not offer a car crash victim a reasonable amount. Individuals who choose to proceed to go to trial require the services of a skilled attorney who can prepare the best case possible.
  • Insurance companies can take advantage of an individual. Insurance companies are profit based entities that are in most cases more interested in saving money than adequately compensating individuals who have been injured in a car crash. Without the assistance of a skilled attorney, individuals are at risk that an insurance will take advantage of the individual.
  • Skilled attorneys know how to use evidence to create a strong case. An experienced accident attorney will know how to prove that the other driver was responsible for the automobile crash by using physical evidence, medical records, police reports, experts, and applicable laws to demonstrate fault.
  • There is a risk of statute of limitations running out. An attorney will know the relevant Colorado laws concerning the statute of limitations for initiating a car crash claim. If individuals do not initiate a claim within this time period, an individual will lose the right to commence a legal action against the responsible party.

Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney

A car crash has the potential to forever change an individual’s life. If you or a loved one is injured in a Colorado car crash, consider retaining the services of a skilled accident attorney at McCormick & Murphy, PC. An attorney can help negotiate matters with the other driver’s insurance carrier, and do the most to ensure that you receive fair compensation.

What to do After a Car Crash

What To Do After A Car Crash

What to do (and what to avoid doing) in the days, weeks, and months after a car crash in Colorado

Making mistakes after a Colorado car crash occurs can create numerous complications including legal difficulties and financial hardships.

Steps To Take Immediately After A Car Crash

Even individuals who are involved in the seemingly most minor of car wrecks should immediately follow some basic pieces of advice:

  • Avoid losing control of emotions. It can be tempting to get angry if a driver feels that another individual is responsible for a car wreck. Rather than release this pent-up anger, drivers should stay calm and focus on protecting the driver’s legal interests.
  • Avoid making agreements to not call authorities. Even in the event that a car wreck appears to be relatively relatively minor, drivers should avoid making agreements to not contact law enforcement. If a car crash occurs, emergency services should be contacted immediately. Agreements to not contact emergency services is not a good idea because the lack of an accident report can later be used by insurance companies to determine how an accident occurred. Individuals should provide law enforcement with a complete narrative of exactly how the accident occurred.
  • Collect important documents. If individuals plan on retaining the services of a personal injury attorney, it is a wise idea to gather copies of several documents including the accident report, insurance policy details, photos of property damage and resulting injuries, and property damage estimates. It is often much easier to collect these documents as an individual’s case proceeds rather than attempting to track down these documents after the fact.
  • Contact a skilled attorney. After a car crash occurs, it is important for individuals to immediately retain the services of a skilled and experienced car crash attorney. A knowledgeable car crash attorney will be able to help determine whether another party should be held responsible for any resulting injuries, fatalities, or property damage.
  • Contacting your insurance company. You have a duty to report the crash to your own insurance company. It is best to do this only after speaking with your attorney.
  • Do not leave the scene of the crash. Individuals who leave the scene of an auto crash are at risk of being charged with leaving the scene of accident. It also deprives you of the opportunity to tell the police officer your side of the story. Exchange information with the other driver. Be sure to exchange contact details, driver’s license information, and insurance information with any other parties who are involved in the crash. Individuals should also attempt to record information from any witnesses who might have seen the crash occur.
  • Exit a vehicle safely. While exiting a vehicle after an accident occurs, individuals should make sure that it is safe to exit the vehicle. Individuals should also turn on emergency flashers when exiting a vehicle. If an individual is safely able to move a vehicle, individuals should move the vehicle to the shoulder of the road.
  • Pay attention to injuries even if the injuries are not immediately apparent. Car crashes are often traumatic in nature and drivers are often so shocked by the event that the drivers forget to stop to evaluate resulting injuries. Even if injuries are not readily apparent or individuals believe that the injuries are only light in nature, it is still a wise idea to seek medical attention.
  • Receive medical attention if anyone feels any injury from a car crash. Having a report of an auto crash is a better idea than not having any resultant injuries documented. If no one requires medical attention, individuals should still call the non-emergency number for a local law enforcement agency to report the accident.
  • Take photographs of the scene. If an individual feels well enough to do so and it is safe to do so, individuals should take pictures of the crash scene and anything that may be important concerning the crash.

Steps That Individuals Should Take in the Weeks And Months Following A Car Crash

There are some essential pieces of advice that individuals should remember to follow in the weeks and months after a car accident. This advice includes the following key steps:

  • Avoid settling in court without the assistance of an attorney. Individuals should avoid settling with anyone before at least consulting with a qualified attorney. If a legal proceeding is complicated in any way, individuals will likely benefit enormously from retaining the services of a skilled car crash attorney.
  • Be mindful of statute of limitations. Every state has statute of limitations that limit the amount of time that a car crash victim has to file a lawsuit. Individuals should make sure that their case is initiated within the applicable statute of limitations because once the statute of limitations “runs out” a legal claim is no longer valid.

When to make an insurance claim. After a car wreck, a driver will likely receive a call from the other driver’s insurance company. Drivers should not trust these other insurance companies even if the company is extremely persuasive. Individuals should avoid making any statements to an insurance company or accepting any settlement for any injury until that individual has consulted with an experienced car crash attorney.