Preventing and Handling Denver Car Accidents
Car accidents contribute to an estimated 40,000 deaths annually - every ten seconds there is a new car accident. It’s important that you do your best to stay safe when it comes to your time on the road, for yourself, your family, and others! That being said, you can’t always prevent car accidents, and there are proper steps you can take after a car accident to ensure you’re protected.
Distractions while driving: In Colorado, it’s illegal to tweet, text, email, or do any type of “posting” while driving – and for a good reason. Driving distractions cause between 25 and 35 percent of all accidents. Smartphones are making it increasingly easy to be distracted when driving with text messaging and constant access to the internet. However, these devices aren’t the only distractions that are driving up the percentage of accidents. Messing with the radio, talking to a passenger, and managing children all culprits as well.
Drunk driving: According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, 26,000 people are arrested for DUI and more than 150 people are killed in alcohol-related accidents every year. Colorado has a strict zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. Your license will be revoked immediately if you’re underage and have a BAC of .02 percent. Make sure to always have a sober designated driver, no matter your age, even one drink can impair your judgement.
Driver fatigue: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver fatigue contributes to 2 percent of nonfatal accidents and 2.5 percent of fatal accidents in Colorado. To avoid fatigued driving, take notice if you’re yawning frequently or if you have trouble keeping your eyes open. Make sure to take a break from driving every two hours and avoid long drives after you’ve worked all day. It also helps to drive with someone to make sure that you stay awake or switch off driving.
So You’ve Been in a Car Accident...Now What?
Never leave the scene of an accident - no matter what. This will reflect poorly on you in any legal proceeding, and you may deal with negative ramifications after the fact as a result. You will also want to protect the scene to allow police to properly document the scene of the accident. If you were hit by another driver, you will want to have all information sufficiently documented for legal and insurance purposes. Finally, call the police to get a police report. Even if no one is seriously injured, it can be a good idea to have legal documentation of the incident for your records in the future, in the event that you do need to prove anything.
In the course of a legal investigation and case, documenting everything is absolutely critical to making your case. If you end up pursuing legal action against any other parties, you will want to have as much evidence to back up your claims. The sooner you begin documenting these facts, the better. Take pictures of the scene, document your physical symptoms following the accident, both on the day of the incident and in the weeks following. Anything that will help prove your case is worth writing down and documenting as thoroughly as possible, as this will show the court the extent of what occurred. After you’ve exchanged information with all parties involved, report the accident to everyone’s insurance. Some policies require you to immediately report any incident, so you will certainly want to report the event as soon as you possibly can to ensure you are fully covered by your coverage. If necessary, seek medical attention to address any issues which may have been the result of the accident.
This is just a few of the things you need, but your Denver personal injury attorney can give you a full list. Ultimately, you’ll end up speaking to an adjuster as well to help support your personal injury case. We recommend you approach this knowing you’ll need to convince the adjuster it was the other driver’s fault, and that the bills incurred from the accident were substantial and there was additional pain/discomfort.
Will I Have to Pay?
This one can be tricky, but the short answer is it depends on your auto insurance.
At-fault auto insurance: If found at fault for an accident, your insurance should pay for the other person’s vehicle repair or replacement. Your insurance also may cover medical bills of an injured party. However, if you don’t have collision insurance and are at fault for the accident, your coverage won’t include the costs to repair your vehicle.
Collision or “full-coverage” is usually required if you are leasing a vehicle or if you’re making payments to a bank for an auto loan. While collision insurance covers your vehicle and expenses, liability insurance covers the expenses of the person you were in the accident with. By law, you’re required to have a minimum amount of liability insurance in Colorado. This insurance comes into play when you’re found to be at fault for an accident.
No-fault insurance: No-fault insurance is a more streamlined process that ensures that your insurance company will pay for a claim for your vehicles damage, no matter who is to blame. If the other party involved in the accident also has no-fault insurance, their insurance company will cover the damage to their vehicle, even if you were at fault for the accident. The purpose of no-fault insurance is to reduce the monetary costs that are associated with the insurance claims and litigations. It reduces the likelihood that any of the parties will resort to filing a lawsuit to resolve disputes.
Both drivers are at fault for the accident: When both drivers are at fault for an accident, it’s commonly referred to as a 50/50 accident. When this happens, your insurance company pays for your vehicle’s damage, while the other driver’s insurance pays for theirs. However, if you don’t have collision insurance, your insurance may not pay to fix your vehicle.
Auto accidents happen every day, and it’s important to know that if you’re hurt, Mark Simon, your Denver car accident attorney is here to help. It’s not an easy task navigating car accident claims and options. Call Mark A. Simon today to get the advice and council you need to get the compensation you deserve!