Colorado has seen an uptick in car accident fatalities in recent years, with 745 traffic deaths in 2022, 84 of them in Denver. About 36 percent of these fatalities were people who weren’t riding in a vehicle, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
Car accident injuries aren’t as closely tracked as fatalities, but these have likely increased with the total number of accidents—57,725 in 2022.
The Colorado State Patrol has also reported an increase in impaired driving fatalities and cannabis-related accidents. As with alcohol, the state has an impairment limit for cannabis, and if you’re found to have exceeded that threshold, you can be arrested for DUI.
Always plan on having a designated driver or taking a rideshare when using cannabis.
Other common causes of car accidents in Denver include distracted driving and speeding. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has plans to improve road design safety, address reckless driving behaviors, and increase pedestrian safety, but in the meantime, you can lower your risk of an accident by always obeying the speed limit and other traffic laws and driving defensively.
Do You Need a Denver Highway Car Accident Attorney for Your Car Crash Case?
Colorado is a fault state for car accidents, so to recover damages from the other driver’s car insurance, you must show they were at fault. Many people think the other driver’s fault should be obvious, but it doesn’t seem that way to the insurance carrier.
Unfortunately, disputes about fault are expected, with both parties frequently filing claims on each other’s insurance.
Colorado is also a modified comparative negligence state, meaning both drivers can be partially at fault. The driver who is less than 50 percent responsible can recover damages from the other motorist’s insurance, with one catch: Any percentage of fault assigned to the injured party will be subtracted from their final award.
This means that if you are 15 percent at fault, you will lose 15 percent of your damages. However, the insurance adjuster who decides your share of culpability may overestimate how much you contributed to the crash.
An experienced Denver car accident attorney can help you prove the other party’s level of fault by investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and creating a strategy to win your case. We’ll also ensure your claim has as much corroborating documentation as possible to improve the chances it will be approved.
Additionally, our team will negotiate with the insurance company if we find they’ve overestimated your share of the fault so that you can recover the largest settlement possible.
What if Your Insurance Claim Has Been Rejected Already?
One of the most common reasons for a claim rejection is that the adjuster thinks you were at least 50 percent responsible for the accident. Occasionally, the denial may be related to a lack of evidence or documentation of your injuries.
Still, sometimes, the rejection stems from an exclusion in the policy.
Regardless of the reason, if you’ve received a claim denial, we recommend speaking with a Denver car accident attorney. We’ll review the claim denial, and if there’s a way to appeal it, we’ll file the paperwork for you.
In some situations, we can recover damages even after the initial rejection.
Beware the Insurance Company’s First Offer
If you’ve received an offer from the insurance company, you may think that’s the end of the claim—but think twice before you sign any paperwork. Often, the insurance company’s initial proposal is a lowball offer that doesn’t cover all your damages.
Unfortunately, calculating the total value of a claim is complicated, and many injured people underestimate their own damages.
Your settlement could include damages from the following categories:
- Medical bills. We’ll review copies of your current bills related to the accident and ask if you’re still in treatment because we don’t want to overlook future costs. In most cases, we will only settle the case once the client has fully recovered so that all medical expenses will be included. But if you have had a severe accident and will need continued care for the foreseeable future, we can estimate your projected expenses. Medical bills may also include out-of-pocket costs for items like mobility aids, physical therapy equipment for use at home, travel costs to see a specialist, etc.
- Lost income. Missing work for even a few days can take a chunk out of your paycheck or wipe out much of your saved paid time off (PTO). If your injuries are more serious, you could be out of work for weeks or months, costing you more money. We’ll calculate exactly how much income you lost (including any PTO) and seek compensation.
- Reduced earning potential. Some car accidents result in severe injuries that cause chronic pain or permanent disability or disfigurement. As a result, the injured person may be unable to resume work at all, they might have to work fewer hours, or they could need to move into a less strenuous job. All of these situations cause a long-term reduction in income that should be reflected in the final settlement.
- Pain and suffering. Both physical and mental pain and suffering should be included in your damages, but insurance adjusters often underestimate the impact an injury can have on a person’s life. If we feel their offer doesn’t take your pain seriously, we’ll negotiate for a more accurate valuation.
- Property damage. Fixing even minor body damage can be more expensive than you might think—people are often shocked when they receive an estimate from the body shop. If the insurance company’s offer doesn’t cover your repair expenses, we’ll review it for accuracy.
- Wrongful death. As we discussed earlier, car accident deaths in Colorado and Denver, in particular, have risen recently. Losing a loved one to a car crash can be a devastating blow for family members, many of whom may also struggle with the financial realities of paying final bills. If your family member has passed in a car accident, the last thing you need is to deal with financial problems while you’re grieving. We can seek compensation for medical costs related to the accident, funeral or burial expenses, lost financial support, loss of consortium, and other damages.
Before accepting an insurance company’s offer, please have an attorney review it. We will ask about your injuries and accurately value your claim, then consider the insurance company’s overture.
If the offer is significantly lower than expected, we’ll work to obtain a more comprehensive settlement.
Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help if an Uninsured Motorist Hits You?
An uninsured driver, as the name suggests, has no policy to cover your damages, while an underinsured driver has insurance, but the policy limit is too low to cover the same. We’ll be happy to explore your options for recovering damages if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
That said, Colorado only requires $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability and $15,000 for property damage liability. In many cases that this is insufficient, we can find an alternative way to cover your expenses, such as:
- Sue the driver. If they don’t have insurance or enough insurance, we can try to recover directly from the driver. This may be an option if the driver has any significant assets we can seize. However, if they have no significant assets, we may be unable to collect even if you win a judgment. For this reason, we won’t recommend going through the time and stress of a lawsuit against someone who can’t pay.
- Use your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UI). This coverage is an excellent “backup plan” for situations where another driver is at fault, but the driver and/or their insurance policy can’t cover all (or any) of your damages. UM/UI will pay for your damages up to your own policy limit, even if you are not in your car—for example, pedestrian or bicycle accidents with an uninsured driver. It even covers hit-and-run collisions.
- Sue a third party. This option is only available in limited circumstances. If a third party (someone besides you and the other driver) contributed to the accident or your injuries, you may be able to seek compensation from them. One example would be if a defective airbag made your injuries worse than they otherwise would have been, then you might have a claim against the manufacturer.
By far, the most reliable of these options is UM/UI coverage, which is not mandatory in Colorado but may be your only option for recovery in some situations. We recommend purchasing as much UM/UI coverage as you can afford, but if you’re on a strict budget, even the minimum UM/UI coverage is better than none.
This will allow you to recover $25,000 for bodily injury and $15,000 for property damage if the at-fault driver is uninsured.
Find Out More From a Denver Highway Car Accident Law Firm Today
If you have questions or concerns about your car accident claim, please contact Olson Law Firm for a free consultation. We’ll review the details of your case, answer your questions, and explain the options for pursuing damages.
If we take your case, you won’t owe us anything until we win or settle it.
Attorney Sean Olson founded Olson Law Firm in 2012 with the goal of serving car accident victims with care and compassion. He always makes himself available to talk with clients and update them on their claims.
An experienced trial lawyer, Mr. Olson always prepares as if he is going to trial, which helps him to secure a fair settlement out of court in most cases. Work with him when you call (720) 730-4325.