Ski trails, mountain hiking, and other outdoor activities make Breckenridge a popular tourist destination, and residents may also be on the road for recreational activities.
Unfortunately, it only takes one split-second mistake to turn an enjoyable car ride into a collision that leads to painful injuries. In fact, more than 5.4 million people sought medical care for car accident injuries in 2021 alone.
These injuries can also change your life very quickly. Many people develop chronic pain or disabilities even after they recover from their initial injuries.
You might be out of work and find it hard to pay your bills, in addition to dealing with invoices for your healthcare costs. Additionally, the damage to your car could be expensive to repair.
If you or a loved one have experienced a car accident, you might be looking for a way to deal with these financial setbacks and afford the care you need to recover.
Call a Breckenridge Car Accident Attorney Today
We understand that some people don’t love the idea of contacting a lawyer about their car accident.
Some people may think it’s too expensive or that they can handle their own claim with the insurance company. Others might think they don’t need an attorney because they already received a settlement offer.
Unfortunately, these assumptions cost many car accident victims time and money. There are multiple reasons why engaging a Breckenridge car accident lawyer is beneficial to you and your claim:
Your Chances of Recovering a Fair Settlement Are Higher with a Lawyer
People with attorneys tend to recover larger settlement amounts following a car accident. This is primarily because insurance companies will do everything they can to either avoid paying your claim entirely or undervalue your claim.
Common tactics insurance companies use include:
- The insurance company refuses to pay your claim because they say you caused the accident. If this has already happened to you, don’t call the insurance company and argue with a representative – there’s a good chance you could unintentionally worsen the situation. Insurance companies usually record all their calls and will scrutinize every word you say for an opportunity to claim you admitted fault in some way. However, claim denial is far from final with the proper legal assistance. It’s not too late – call a lawyer and let us help you fight the denial.
- The insurance company undervalues your claim because they say you were partially at fault. Under Colorado statutes, drivers can share blame for an accident. The motorist who is more than 50 percent responsible for an accident is considered at fault, and other injured parties can collect damages from them (or their insurance carrier in most cases). But any percentage of fault attributed to the victim is taken off their final award. In other words, if you were 10 percent responsible, you’d lose 10 percent of your damages. As a result, if the insurance company doesn’t think there’s enough evidence to convince you the accident was entirely your fault, they may try to convince you it was partly your fault and you should pay your share. But it may turn out that you had no responsibility or less than the amount the insurance company decided. Your lawyer can help fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
- The insurance company undervalues your claim by ignoring some of your damages. Most people have damages from an accident that they haven’t even realized. A typical situation involves the injured party gathering their medical bills and maybe an estimate for car repairs and seeking compensation from the insurance company. But this often ignores additional damages like future medical costs if you need more care, related expenses like mobility aids or accommodations, travel expenses if you need to see a specialist, lost income from missing work, diminished value of your vehicle even after repairs, and your pain and suffering – all damages you’re entitled to seek in a car accident case! If you think the insurance company will bring these damages to your attention and offer you more money, that won’t happen, but your lawyer will work to recover all your losses.
- The insurance company nitpicks your claim, deciding some medical treatments weren’t necessary or disagreeing about repair costs. This is another method of undervaluing your claim that the insurance adjuster hopes you’ll accept. Arguing with them is unlikely to change their mind, and many people will give up and accept whatever the insurance company offers. But that leaves you with only some of your bills paid! An experienced attorney will review the insurance policy, remind the insurance company of their legal obligations, and take them to court if necessary.
It’s also helpful to understand that the insurance company can use more than one of these tactics. For instance, they might undervalue your current medical bills while ignoring the possibility of future treatment or related costs.
Your Breckenridge Car Accident Lawyer Should Offer a Free Consultation and Charge on a Contingency Basis
When people think that lawyers are too expensive or can’t afford one, they may not realize that different types of lawyers use different fee structures.
Personal injury attorneys generally work on a contingency basis – that means you don’t pay anything upfront. Your lawyer takes an agreed-upon fee from the recovery after settling your case.
We work hard to get you the largest settlement possible and often recover thousands in damages that our clients didn’t realize they were owed.
At most personal injury law firms, including the Olson Law Firm, there is no fee for an initial consultation to review your case.
If you’re concerned about paying a lawyer just to find out you can’t recover anything, don’t be – we’ll explain your options for free, and you’re not obligated to hire us. If we can’t help you, it won’t cost you anything to find out.
That said, in many cases, we do find solutions to recover at least some of your damages, so it’s worth exploring the possibilities.
What Should You Do if You Receive a Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company?
Don’t sign anything until you speak with a Breckenridge car accident lawyer. As we mentioned earlier, most initial offers from a car insurance company will undervalue your claim in one or sometimes multiple ways.
Unfortunately, once you sign the agreement, the insurance carrier has no further legal obligation to pay your damages, even if you discover you have more expenses. That’s why it’s essential to get advice from a car accident attorney who can help you accurately calculate your damages.
What if the Insurance Adjuster Pressures You to Make a Decision?
Then you really shouldn’t sign anything until you talk to a lawyer. If an insurance adjuster is in a hurry to make you sign an agreement, it’s probably a particularly bad offer, and they don’t want to give you a chance to figure that out. Instead, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
How Long Does It Take To Settle a Car Accident Claim?
It varies depending on a number of factors. Cases that have more damages and are more complex generally take longer, sometimes a year or more.
If the other driver or their insurance carrier strongly disagrees about fault in your case, that will add time to the negotiation process.
We can give you a rough estimate of how long it might take after reviewing your case, but please remember that some elements of a claim are beyond our control and may unexpectedly change.
We always want to settle your claim as quickly as possible. But we don’t want to rush the process if it means you receive a lower settlement than you deserve.
For this reason, we sometimes spend time early in your case investigating the accident and acquiring as much evidence as possible so we can argue for a larger settlement. It’s our policy to update our clients on where we are, what we’re waiting on, what the next steps are, etc.
What if the Police Report for Your Accident Is Inconclusive or Wrong?
This is not unusual, and while a police report can be an essential piece of evidence in a car accident case, it is not the final word regarding fault.
The responding officer gathers facts, mostly from interviewing the drivers and witnesses and observing the scene. There is also a section of the form where the officer states their opinion about how the accident occurred and who was at fault.
This usually amounts to their best guess based on the evidence available, which might be minimal. As you can imagine, it’s easy to guess wrong – especially if one of the drivers lied about what happened or was simply confused.
We’ll review the report with you and investigate the facts of the accident. In many cases, our investigators find additional witnesses, video or photographic evidence of the accident, electronic data from the car’s event data recorder (EDR), and more.
If anything on the police report is incorrect, we will work to refute it and show what really happened.
How to Find a Breckenridge Car Accident Law Firm
The Olson Law Firm is always available for a free consultation about your car accident case. We’ll explore any and all options for recovering your damages and answer your questions, so please contact us today at (720) 730-4325 to learn more.