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Common Misconceptions About Car Accident Claims in Colorado

Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law June 8, 2023

Colorado has more than 100,000 vehicular accidents each year. In 2022, the fatality toll increased to its highest level in 10 years, jumping up 57 percent during that decade and 6 percent from 2021 to a total of 745, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).  

Moreover, the Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that drivers may be involved in an accident on average every 17 years, or two to three times in one’s driving lifetime. Some drivers, of course, will escape accidents altogether, but they are in the minority. Those drivers unfamiliar with what happens after an accident might wonder how to recover from injuries and damages. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in or around Denver, Colorado, contact Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law, immediately. You have several options, depending on your insurance coverage, to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage.   

We will aggressively pursue the proper course of action and deal with the insurance companies – or file a lawsuit – to protect your rights to compensation for what’s been inflicted on you. Our team at Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law, proudly serves clients in Aurora, Commerce City, Englewood, Arvada, Lakewood, Centennial, Wheatridge, and Thornton.   

My Own Insurance Will Be Responsible for Covering Medical Costs and Damages 

The answer is yes and no. When you purchase your insurance, it comes with what is called MedPay, or medical payment, but you can opt out of that provision. If you don’t opt out, then MedPay will indeed cover your medical and injury-related expenses. But unless you purchased optional collision coverage, damages to your vehicle will not be covered by your insurer. You must seek recovery from the at-fault driver.  

Therefore, you have three options when pursuing a claim for the injuries and damages you suffered because of someone else’s negligence.  

First, if you have MedPay, you can file for your injuries with your insurer. Likewise, if you have collision coverage, then you can make a claim with your own insurer. Your insurer, in turn, will seek a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s policy.  

Second, if you lack MedPay and Collision, or one or the other, then you must file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance to seek compensation for whatever insurance coverage you lack.  

Third, since Colorado is a full tort or at-fault state when it comes to auto insurance, you have the option to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. 

I Don’t Need to Seek Medical Attention Because I Feel Okay 

You may feel okay because an adrenalin rush is covering up whatever aches, pains, or injuries exist in your body. It may take hours or days for the pain to set in. It is vital to seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible. There are both personal and practical/legal reasons for this.  

First, on the personal level, you want to make sure you’re okay and if there are injuries, that you get the treatment and attention you need. Second, if you file a claim and don’t include any documentation about injuries, the insurance company will become quite skeptical if, later on, you suddenly report an injury or two. When you file your claim, you need as much documentation and completeness as possible.  

Remember, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will look for every reason to lowball or deny your claim. You have to be fully prepared, and that includes getting a medical examination and retaining all pertinent documents, including receipts and reports on your condition. 

If It’s a Minor Accident, It’s Not Necessary to File a Police Report 

Not true, you are required to file a report within 60 days, and if the accident results in injury or death, then you are required to call in the accident at the scene. This can be quite useful in your claim, actually. If police come out and investigate, you can request a copy of their report, which can be used to bolster your claim or your lawsuit. 

I Can’t File a Claim Because I Was Partially at Fault 

Colorado follows the principle of modified comparative negligence, a standard by which each of the parties involved in an accident may be assigned a percentage of the fault. If your percentage rises above 50, then, yes, you cannot win your claim. Modified comparative negligence is also known as the “51 percent rule.” Any party whose fault is above 50 percent cannot collect. 

I Don’t Need an Attorney to File a Personal Injury Claim 

The answer is technically no. You can file on your own, but you probably have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. Both insurers and certainly the at-fault driver’s insurer, will assign you a professional known as a claims adjuster. Claims adjusters have many questions and tricks – all subtle -- that are designed to get you to say something that can be used to pin the fault on you.   

Once they get the information they’re seeking, they will then use that to lowball or deny your settlement. Claims adjusters are well aware of the 51 percent rule and will try to get you to surpass that threshold by admitting or conceding some sort of fault.   

An experienced car accident/personal injury attorney knows all the tricks of the insurance trade and can stand up to the claims adjusters and negotiate for a stronger settlement than you can get on your own. 

Need Representation? Contact Us Today 

Filing an insurance claim may seem straightforward on the surface, but insurance companies are for-profit businesses. In other words, they’ll do everything to limit their liability. At times, they can even use borderline tactics that you may not even realize are being employed.   

If you’re in or around the Denver area, reach out to Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law. We are experienced, aggressive, resourceful, and will do everything to protect your rights to just compensation for your injuries.