If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you know it can be a stressful and confusing time. Your main goal after healing is usually to get compensated for your medical bills simply, lost wages, property damage, and more, so you can return to a more normal life. When beginning this process, it is essential to know whether your state is a no-fault or at-fault state. This is critical because it will impact how you file your claim and whether you may be eligible to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party without meeting a certain standard for the seriousness of your injuries.
What is the Difference Between a No-fault State and an At-fault State?
Until 2003, Colorado was a no-fault state, but now it is an at-fault state. So what do these distinctions mean for you as a driver, especially if you’ve experienced an accident? No-fault states have structured their laws so that most minor car accidents do not end up in court. They accomplish this by having each party in the accident bill their own car insurance for medical expenses and property damage. In a no-fault state, individuals can usually only sue for damages if they sustain certain severe or permanent injuries. In contrast, in an at-fault state, you will file your car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance. If they do not compensate you fairly, you can always bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for property damage and injuries caused by the accident.
Can I Bring a Lawsuit if I Wasn’t Seriously Hurt in the Accident?
Yes, in an at-fault state like Colorado, you can sue the driver who caused the accident, even if you did not suffer permanent or serious injuries. If the accident was relatively minor, such as a rear-end collision, it is still eligible for a tort claim. This can provide car crash victims with better leverage to negotiate compensation with the at-fault driver’s insurance company because they have more legal options at their disposal. Of course, you must consider the cost and time involved in bringing a minor case to court when deciding whether it is worthwhile. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you and help you determine your best course of action if you’ve been in a minor car accident.
Does Colorado Have Basic Car Insurance Coverage Requirements?
For at-fault insurance to function properly, everyone in the state must carry adequate car insurance to cover accident claims if they cause a crash. In Colorado, there are minimum requirements for the amount of coverage you must carry. A driver must have bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Additionally, they must carry $15,000 of property damage coverage. Of course, you may choose to get more coverage, but these are the minimum requirements. Many drivers elect to get uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This policy kicks in if you have an accident with someone who is disobeying the law and not carrying any coverage, or if they have coverage but your medical bills exceed the amount their insurance will pay.
If you or a loved one have been in a car accident and are unsure how to file a claim or seek compensation for your damages, call our law firm for a free consultation: 303-500-1376.