Every day, when we leave our houses and drive to our destinations, we are putting ourselves at risk. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death and serious injuries. And no matter how careful we are, there is no way to guarantee that other motorists are practicing the same amount of care on the road.
That’s why it’s important to know that you or your loved ones who are victims of car accidents have the right to ask for compensation. Our lawyers here at Burnham Law can help you make a claim, receive the compensation you deserve, and move forward with your life.
Why Choose Our Car Accident Lawyers?
Our lawyers are backed with the experience and expertise to handle your car accident cases and help you make a claim. We have lawyers who specialize in your needs and who are dedicated to making sure that you get the compensation you are entitled to.
Above all, our attorneys are human beings who are driven to empower and uplift others, strengthening our clients through adversity. Our philosophies and values extend to every case we handle — including yours.
Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
The proceedings involved in car accident cases are very complex and filled with legal considerations that require professional expertise. The process of making a claim can be long and tedious, but we specialize in these situations to protect you and your interests.
We at Burnham Law understand that life is filled with uncertainty. You can do everything right and still experience adversity. That’s why we are dedicated to empowering you and helping you get back on track.
Our lawyers will handle every aspect of your car accident case for you, so you can focus on your recovery. With a great team of local Denver attorneys handling your car accident case, everything is possible.
How Much Does a Car Accident Attorney Cost?
We understand that car accident victims are overwhelmed with medical bills, car repair costs, and lost wages. You may be hesitant to hire an attorney due to your current financial strain. But hiring a lawyer to handle your case is the best investment you can make.
With an experienced attorney taking charge of your case, you can protect your rights and know the legal steps you are entitled to take. Our attorneys can help you get higher compensation from your insurance company or take your case to court to fight for the best results.
Schedule a call with us to discuss your case and the next steps we can take.
Colorado Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
The Statute of Limitations refers to the time limit you have to file your claim. When the period in the statute of limitations has passed, the law restricts you from making any further claims or initiating a case.
In the Colorado Revised Statutes section 13-80-101, it says that “The following civil actions, regardless of the theory upon which suit is brought, or against whom the suit is brought, shall be commenced within three years after the cause of action accrues, and not thereafter: (n) (I) All tort actions for bodily injury or property damage arising out of the use or operation of a motor vehicle…”
This means that you only have 3 years from the date of your accident to file your case. Any longer than that will cause you to lose your right to recover damages.
Your case can’t wait. Contact us today and let’s begin taking the necessary steps to file your claim.
What To Do After An Accident
Your compensation claim will depend upon various factors and events, especially those that immediately proceed the car accident. A lot of the things we do that seem like second nature to us after a car accident can hurt our chances of recovering damages — whether or not you are at fault.
It’s important that you educate yourself on what to do and what not to do after a car accident:
- Get to safety. Check to see if you or any of your passengers are injured before attempting to leave your vehicle. If possible, move your car to the side of the road to prevent creating a hazard to other motorists.
- Call 911. Even if no one is hurt, report the accident to law enforcement immediately. Make sure to obtain a copy of the police report so your lawyers can use it as evidence.
- Don’t leave the accident scene until you have spoken to law enforcement. Wait for them to give you permission to leave or accept medical transport to the hospital.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Get their name, address, contact number, insurance details, driver’s license number, vehicle plate number, and vehicle specifications. This information is valuable to your insurance company and will help you secure your claim.
- Take photos. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene and the injuries you have sustained, if any. Your lawyer can use these photos as evidence to support your claim for damages.
- Contact an attorney. Before talking to an insurance representative, make sure to consult your Denver car accident lawyer first.
How Much is the Average Car Accident Claim Worth?
Many factors come in when determining the amount of your claim, such as clarity of fault and admissibility of evidence, among others. Because of this, not all car accident claims are worth the same.
Working with a lawyer can help you gain a better understanding of what your case is worth and how you can recover the right amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Can I File a Claim Without a Police Report?
Yes. The State of Colorado does not require a police report to be able to file an insurance claim. A policyholder involved in a car accident may still contact their insurance company regardless of whether or not there is a police report.
However, it would be beneficial to have a police report after a crash. This serves as evidence for important facts such as who is likely to be at fault, injuries and casualties sustained, etc. Without a detailed report from law enforcement, insurance companies may question your account of the accident and request additional information. In essence, a police report makes it easier to secure compensation.
Steps to Filing an Insurance Claim
Step 1. Contact the police. Every car accident must be reported to the police even if there are no injuries involved.
Step 2. Take pictures of the damage to the car. You may need this to substantiate your claim.
Step 3. Contact your insurance company and submit a claim. An experienced attorney can help you at this point.
Step 4. Speak with the claims adjuster. The claims adjuster is the person who will be handling your claim. Remember that you have the right to make decisions and to fight for unfair terms. This is why it’s important to work with a Denver car accident attorney to help you protect your rights.
Step 5. Negotiate.
Step 6. Resolve.
Step 5. Reclaim your car’s value. If the insurance company paid for your vehicle’s repair, you may be able to reclaim the value that was lost due to the accident. Ask your claims adjuster about how to file a reclaim or a Diminution in Value claim (DIV).
How to Establish an Injury Claim After a Car Accident
Before working with an insurance company about your claim, it is highly advisable that you speak to a lawyer first in order to protect your interests. Be careful NOT to give any statement, recorded or written, about your injuries or sign any insurance documents without a lawyer’s advice.
In order to successfully establish a claim after a car accident, you need to meet these requirements:
- It must be clear which driver is at fault.
- You must have incurred damages, whether physical or property damage
- You must have a medical record of your injuries.
- You must be able to prove that the car accident caused the damages you are trying to claim.
What Can Be Recovered in a Denver Car Accident Claim?
There are two types of damages that you can recover from the car accident:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
Economic damages or compensatory damages refer to the compensation you get for the loss of your finances following the accident. This can include:
- Medical expenses such as hospital and doctor bills, x-rays, scans, surgical procedures, etc.
- Required ongoing medical costs such as check ups and therapy sessions.
- Lost wages or the equivalent of the salary you should have received when you were unable to report to work due to the accident.
- Future wages in cases of the loss of capacity to work. This is awarded if the victim becomes disabled to work or his working capacity has been limited.
- Loss of support in case the accident caused the death of a person obligated to support dependents.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are awarded for intangible losses such as:
- Physical pain or suffering directly caused by the accident or the recovery process.
- Mental and emotional trauma such as depression, anxiety, grief, inconvenience, etc.
- Loss of consortium, or when a spouse is unable to enjoy the companionship, affection, sexual relationship, etc. of the other spouse.
Who Will Pay for Medical Expenses?
If you are a victim of a car accident due to another driver’s fault, the at-fault motorist or his or her insurance company should be the one to settle all medical expenses. However, it is very common in car accident cases that the victim has to shoulder the expenses first during the case’s pendency, which will be reimbursed by the person at-fault later on.
During that time, you may have to take money out of your own pocket or have your insurance company cover the costs. If you are unable to, a car accident lawyer can help you examine all potential insurance sources such as your car insurance coverage, health insurance, etc.
What Documents Do I Need for Medical Expenses to be Paid?
When seeking compensation from insurance companies, you will need to have concrete evidence of the damages or injuries you sustained because of the accident. Some important documents to provide are:
- Medical tests
- Police and medical records
- Doctor’s notes
It would be highly beneficial to have an attorney who can help you recover all the documents you need to claim compensation for medical expenses.
What if the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured?
Under Colorado law, every motorist or owner of a passenger vehicle is required to be insured for at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability and $15,000 in property damage per accident.
Despite this, many Colorado drivers are either uninsured (meaning they have no insurance policy) or underinsured (their car insurance is less than the required amount and therefore is not enough to cover all damages incurred).
Should the at-fault driver be uninsured, you can file an uninsured or underinsured claim with your own insurance company. They should either pay for the entire amount of damages you are owed or the balance that the at-fault driver’s insurance company couldn’t pay due to the policy limit.
Essentially, you are put in a situation where you have to argue against your own insurance company. They may debate the amount of compensation you are seeking and say that you are partly at fault. Should this be the case, our car accident lawyers can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained may differ from person to person, depending on the impact strength, speed of the vehicles, and protection provided by seat belts or airbags, among others.
Some of the most common car accident injuries are:
- Broken bones – A strong collision can, more often than not, result in broken bones. This is because of the force of a crash that is stronger than your bones can withstand.
- Broken ribs – Our ribs are very fragile and the slightest impact can cause them to break. Broken ribs usually occur if you are pushed forward, backward, or sideways during a crash.
- Head injuries – Head and brain injuries are common results of car accidents and can affect your physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being long after you sustained the accident and finish your treatments. Oftentimes, they result in permanent damage.
- Herniated disc – The spine is one of the most delicate parts of the body, hence is one of the most seriously impacted after a car crash. A herniated disc happens when vertebrae on the spine become ruptured or shift out of place due to extreme impact.
- Internal bleeding – Just because a person looks fine after an accident doesn’t mean they are not severely injured. They may suffer from internal bleeding, which is a life-threatening injury that must be treated immediately.
- Knee trauma – A strong and sudden impact can cause your knees to hit the dashboard and damage your kneecap and ligaments. This injury can be very difficult to treat and may result in a temporary or permanent inability to walk.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Not all car accident injuries are physical. There are also mental, emotional, and psychological effects such as PTSD.
- Scrapes and cuts – Although seemingly less serious than other common injuries, scrapes and cuts sustained from car accidents can also pose critical problems like infections if not treated immediately.
- Whiplash – The strong and sudden impact of a car crash is an unnatural movement that your body cannot compensate for. This results in the variety of muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries commonly referred to as whiplash.
Car accident injuries are very serious and can cause detrimental effects on a victim’s overall health and wellness. It is important to immediately seek medical attention after a car crash, even if the injuries are not visible.
Causes of Car Accidents
Unfortunately, car accidents are very common in the United States and are one of the leading causes of death. Though many causes can be attributed to force majeure like rain and weather, most car accidents are caused by human error.
Here are some causes of car accidents caused by the negligence, mistake, or ignorance of other drivers:
- Distracted driving. Complete and utter focus when driving is more important than people make it out to be. Texting, eating, reading, grooming, etc. behind the wheel has become one of the leading causes of car accidents today.
- Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol clouds a person’s ability to drive safely. It’s one of the most deadly causes of car accidents.
- Reckless driving. Running red lights, improper turns, and being aggressive on the road can cause serious accidents to other drivers.
- Speeding. This is the second most common cause of car accidents. No matter how late or in a rush you are, stick to legal speed limits on the road.
- Tailgating. The distance between two cars on the road should be at least 2 seconds as much as possible. With this safe distance, drivers will have the time to react to sudden stops or turns and avoid accidents.
Colorado Car Accident Laws
Under Colorado car accident laws, the at-fault driver should shoulder all crash-related expenses and losses in a car accident. This means that the car accident parties should be able to identify who caused the crash before they can file their insurance claims.
This fault-based insurance system makes the at-fault driver liable for economic and non-economic damages. Should he or she be uninsured or underinsured, the victim’s insurance company should cover the balance.
Colorado also has comparative negligence laws that regulate situations wherein both parties are found to be at fault to some degree. According to CRS 13-21-111, if the party seeking damages is found to be at-fault, his or her damages will be reduced by the percentage of his responsibility. If he or she is found to be 50% at fault or greater, then damages cannot be recovered.
Hiring our car accident lawyers will help you navigate these complex laws governing car accidents and claims in Colorado. With an experienced attorney, you stand a higher chance of receiving compensation and recovering your losses.
What is Colorado’s Proportional Fault Model?
Colorado’s proportional fault model is used to determine the degree of fault that each driver involved in a car accident has. This model stems from Colorado Revised Statute 13-21-111, which states that should you also have a degree of responsibility or fault, the percentage of your fault reduces the damages that you can recover.
This statute also limits your right to recover damages only from drivers who are more at-fault for the accident than you are. If you are 50% or more responsible for the accident, you cannot seek compensation.
What are Colorado’s Car Insurance Requirements?
Every car driver in Colorado is required to have two types of car insurance with at least the minimum coverage of:
- Property Damage Liability Coverage, which pays for the damage to the vehicle involved in the accident. The property damage coverage should be at a minimum of $15,000 per accident.
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, which pays for bodily injuries sustained during the accident. It should be at a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
These are mandatory car insurance requirements and must be obtained by every driver in the State of Colorado. Failure to meet them can result in fines of $500 to $1000 and suspension of the driver’s license.
Should the amount of damage be more than the insurance coverage of the at-fault driver, the person seeking damages can claim the balance from their own insurance company. To help protect yourself, you may opt to purchase additional insurance policies, such as:
- Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, which covers the compensation you are entitled to should the other driver be uninsured or underinsured.
- MedPay, which covers at least $5,000 of your medical bills
- Collision, which pays for the damages to your vehicle without regard to who was at fault.
- Comprehensive, which includes coverage for force majeure events, such as flood, falling objects, theft, or fire, among others.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of a car accident, contact our Denver car accident attorneys so we can help you get the compensation you deserve. You are entitled to recover the damages you sustained due to the fault of another. Reach out to us and let’s help you recover and move forward with your life.