Car Accident Lawyers in Colorado Springs CO Answer FAQs
There are few life events that are more stressful than car accidents. Not only is accident itself jarring and traumatic, but now you have to deal with medical bills, treatment, and you’re likely missing time from work. The insurance company won’t make this process any easier either. They will provide as low a settlement offer as they think they can get away with. That’s why you need experienced car accident lawyers in Colorado Springs CO to help you negotiate a fair settlement. We take the pressure of dealing with the insurance company off of you and allow you to focus on your recovery. Here, we’ll answer some of our clients’ most common questions when dealing with a pending claim.
Do I need a car accident lawyer to deal with a car accident insurance claim?
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you will very likely want to have a personal injury attorney manage your claim. It won’t matter as much when you’re just dealing with property damage and your injuries are minimal, but the stakes are very high in cases where you’ve sustained serious injuries and are missing time from work. You’re better off having an attorney with the ability to leverage litigation over the insurance company’s head manage your claim.
What can I recover in a personal injury claim against a negligent driver?
Injured parties can recover what are called damages. Damages include any loss you suffered at the hands of a negligent driver. Economic damages include things like medical expenses, wages lost from missed work, and any other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. Noneconomic damages are different. They can be quantified easily. These include pain and suffering, trauma, loss of enjoyment, and anything else related to your diminished quality of life.
In cases where an injured party suffers a permanent impairment or disfigurement, noneconomic damages can go up into six or seven figures. There is one caveat, however. The insurance company will only cover damages up to the at-fault driver’s policy limit. In Colorado, all drivers are required to carry a minimum of $25,000 for injury liability per person, $50,000 per accident, and then $15,000 for property damage.
What happens if my damages exceed the at-fault driver’s liability coverage?
The insurance company is only liable to pay up to the policy limit. If your damages are in excess of the policy limit, you can sue the driver directly for the difference or file a claim against your own underinsured driver policy. In the case of the former, you may win a massive award against the defendant but they can then turn around and declare bankruptcy discharging the debt. On the one hand, you’ve driven them into bankruptcy; on the other hand, you have no more money than you had before. Your attorney will probably research the defendant to find out what (if any) assets they have against which to draw.
If you have to file a claim against your underinsured driver insurance, your personal injury attorney can help ensure that you are compensated in accord with the terms of your policy.
The driver fled the scene of the accident or did not have auto insurance. Now what?
In some cases, a driver who flees the scene of an accident can be tracked down. Sometimes, however, they either can’t be or the reason they fled the scene of the accident was because they did not have any auto insurance. In that case, your options would be the same as if your damages exceeded the at-fault driver’s policy limit. You can either sue them directly, make a claim on your own uninsured driver policy, or both.
What if the accident is partly my fault?
Let’s say you weren’t wearing your seatbelt or you were speeding when another car struck you. The other driver is partly to blame for the accident, but you might also be to blame for the extent of the injuries you suffered. So long as your percentage of the liability is less than 50%, you can still recover damages in Colorado. However, your total damages are diminished by your portion of the blame. Let’s say it’s determined that the other driver is 90% responsible for the accident and that your damages are $10,000. You would be able to collect 90% of $10,000 or $9000.
The insurance adjuster asked for my medical records. Should I turn them over?
Don’t turn anything over to anybody or even talk to the insurance adjuster before consulting an attorney. Ideally, your attorney would field all questions by the insurance adjuster and be able to tell you exactly what information you should hand over and what information you can provide the insurance adjuster. The insurance adjuster should never attempt to make contact with you outside of your attorney.
Will I end up in court if I file a personal injury claim?
It’s rare that a personal injury claim against an insurance policy goes to trial. The cases sometimes go into litigation. It is generally when the facts are disputed or there are ambiguities in the record, that the insurance company will double down. Here, having a good personal injury attorney works to your advantage. Insurance companies generally don’t like the prospect of rolling the dice before a jury.
Should I go to the doctor after an accident?
Even if you’ve never felt better in your life, the shock of the accident can disguise symptoms that you can’t yet feel. This is especially true in the case of a head injury. You may not experience symptoms until 24 hours later. You should always have a doctor check you out. If you don’t, the insurance company will use that information against you when you file a claim.
Something went wrong with my car. Now what?
Sometimes airbags fail to deploy or tires blow out for no reason. In that case, the manufacturer of the part or the manufacturer of the car may be partly responsible for your injuries meaning that you can file a lawsuit against them.
Speak to Experienced Car Accident Lawyers in Colorado Springs CO
Brylak Law represents injured parties in car accident claims. Contact us today to learn how we can help.