All Colorado motorists are legally required to carry a minimum level of auto insurance.1 Failing to have this coverage can result in fines (and other penalties) while putting these drivers at risk of serious financial losses if they cause a crash. Nevertheless, too many motorists still make the unfortunate choice of foregoing the necessary auto insurance coverage.
In fact, about 1 in every 6 (or 16 percent of) Colorado drivers has no car insurance coverage.2 If you happen to be hit by one of these drivers, you may still be able to seek compensation for your crash-related injuries and losses via your own auto insurance policy.
Our car accident Attorneys at Burnham Law have extensive experience helping crash victims pursue recovery when they have been hurt by uninsured or underinsured motorists. Strategic and aggressive, our attorneys are ready to help you build a strong claim and stand up to insurers who try to unfairly delay, undervalue or deny your claim.
After discussing your crash, as well as your needs and legal goals, we will strategize with you to develop an effective game plan for positioning your claim for the maximum recovery.
What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage?
Not required under Colorado law, UM/UIM insurance is an optional, add-on coverage that is meant to protect you when you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. In Colorado, UM/UIM coverage:3
- Must be offered to policyholders by insurance companies
- Can only be waived or rejected by policyholders in writing
- Cannot exceed the limits of the bodily injury liability coverage associated with the auto insurance policy.
In addition to covering you in the event you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, UM/UIM coverage can also apply if or when:
- You are a pedestrian, bicyclist or passenger (in your or someone else’s vehicle) when an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you.
- You are driving someone else’s vehicle when the crash occurs.
- You are the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
- Your insured family members are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver or are the victims of a hit and run.
In other words, UM/UIM insurance “follows” the insured person(s) even when they are not behind the wheel.
HOW UM/UIM CLAIMS WORK
Since 2008, Colorado law has provided that UM/UIM coverage is not “off set” by the insurance coverage an at-fault driver has (if any).3 Instead, UM/UIM coverage in Colorado:
- Is available in addition to any coverage the at-fault driver has – For example, if an underinsured driver has $10,000 in liability coverage and your UM/UIM policy limits are $100,000, you can pursue a claim with the other driver’s insurance company (for $10,000) and with your own insurer (for $100,000). This would make $110,000 available for your claim (across the two insurers).
- Can be “stacked” – If your UM/UIM policy covers more than one vehicle (i.e., you have UM/UIM for two or more vehicles), this coverage can be stacked, increasing your policy limits. For instance, if you have UM/UIM coverage of $50,000 for two vehicles, you may be able to stack your coverage to increase your UM/UIM limits to $100,000.
Consequently, the recovery process for these claims will depend on whether the at-fault motorist has insurance:
- If so, a claim would be filed with the at-fault driver’s insurer and your own insurance company.
- If not, you would likely only file a UM/UIM claim with your own auto insurance provider.
Please note that filing a UM/UIM claim will NOT result in higher premiums or policy cancelations. Colorado law prohibits insurers from taking these punitive or retaliatory actions against policyholders seeking UM/UIM benefits. If an insurer does raise a policyholder’s premiums (or cancel the policy) due to a UM/UIM claim, policyholders can file a bad faith claim against the insurer.
When UM/UIM claims are successful, they can result in recoveries that include compensation for (but not exclusive to):
- Bodily injuries and the associated medical treatments
- Lost earnings
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering.
Filing a UM/UIM Claim: Dealing with Insurance Companies & How an Attorney Can Help
Having UM/UIM coverage does NOT mean that policyholders can rely on their insurance companies to honor valid UM/UIM claims. In fact, it is not uncommon for insurers to ignore, delay, underpay or flat-out deny these claims.
This is largely because insurers are intent on limiting or minimizing claim payouts in order to preserve and maximize their own profits. Sometimes, this comes at the expense of policyholder’s rights and the law itself.
At Burnham Injury Law, our attorneys are experienced at advocating our clients’ rights in UM/UIM claims. Skilled at dealing and negotiating with insurers, we can help you with a UM/UIM claim by:
- Reviewing your insurance policy to determine the scope of your coverage
- Assessing and protecting the value of your claim
- Gathering all necessary evidence to support and strengthen your claim
- Vigorously representing you throughout your claim, including in any disputes and lawsuits that may arise with the insurer(s), to help you secure the full amount of compensation you deserve.
With UM/UIM claims, the bottom line is that you can count on the attorneys at Burnham Injury Law to protect your rights, advance your interests and position your claim for success.
GET PRICELESS ADVICE REGARDING YOUR POTENTIAL UM/UIM CLAIM: CONTACT A DENVER CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER AT BURNHAM INJURY LAW
If you are getting ready to file a UM/UIM claim – or if you are fighting with insurers over a UM/UIM claim, contact a Denver car accident lawyer at Burnham Injury Law for a free consultation.
Call (720) 845-7001 or email our firm to start getting answers about how to protect and advance your claim.
Compassionate and relentless, our attorneys are skilled negotiators and elite trial attorneys who are focused on anticipating and overcoming the challenges that may arise in your case. We are ready to provide you with effective advocacy that empowers you and sets your claim up for the best possible outcome.
For more insight on our dedication, experience and record of success, please check out testimonials from our former clients (published on this site).
From offices across Colorado, we are dedicated to providing outstanding counsel to clients throughout the Denver metro area and the state of Colorado.