Colorado Springs Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyers
Did an Underinsured Driver in Colorado Springs Cause Your Crash and Leave You with Bills?
Most states in America require drivers to have auto insurance, and Colorado is no exception to this rule. The state has strict guidelines requiring all motorists to have some form of automobile insurance, or at least proof of their ability to pay for damages, before they are allowed to drive. Sadly, not everyone follows the law. While most people assume they will be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance if they are in a car wreck, with uninsured and underinsured motorists, this is not always the case.
Every year, collisions are caused by drivers who don't have any coverage or who lack the coverage to pay for the damages they caused. This means victims are often left footing the bill. If you or someone you love has been injured by an uninsured motorist, the Colorado Springs car crash attorneys at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., may be able to help. Call us today at (719) 475-2555 to learn more.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
Auto insurance is a legal requirement for all drivers in Colorado. However, not everyone follows the law. Some people feel they cannot afford insurance, others don’t want to go through the hassle of getting it. In either case, a person who does not have auto insurance is called an uninsured motorist (UM). If you were involved in an accident with this person, you would not be able to file a claim against his insurance provider, as there would be no insurance provider.
On the other hand, some drivers follow the law but only have the minimum required auto insurance. In Colorado, the legal minimum is fairly low, which means a serious accident could cost more than the driver’s insurance policy can pay for. In such a case, the driver would be considered an underinsured motorist (UIM). If you were to get into an accident with this person, you would be able to recover as much compensation as her insurance policy allows; however, you would likely not be able to recover as much as the accident ultimately costs you.
The Facts on Uninsured Motorists
In the most recent year that statistics are available, an estimated 13% of drivers were uninsured, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), and that number has been rising for the past several years. Colorado, while close to the average, was slightly worse at 13.3%. This means that over a tenth of Coloradan drivers do not have auto insurance. At this rate, your chances of being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver are incredibly high.
Even something as simple as a fender bender can be an expensive nightmare for victims when they have no one to file a claim against. The average cost of damages arising from a motor vehicle accident was $3,231 in 2013. When injuries were involved, the average claim for bodily injury was $15,443. This is the reason Colorado has insurance requirements. Sadly, in a serious injury crash, these minimums are rarely enough.
Insurance Minimums in Colorado Are Low
According to Colorado law, drivers are required to carry at least a minimum amount of liability insurance:
- $25,000 per person to cover bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident to cover bodily injury for two or more people
- $15,000 per accident to cover property damage
For serious accidents, the medical bills for victims can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is why insurance companies offer underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM): if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, you will be covered up to your policy limits. But even when you do have this policy, it may not be enough to cover your injuries. When considering UM/UIM coverage, remember – the more you can purchase ahead of time, the better!
Recovering Damages from an Uninsured Motorist
You may be wondering how someone could recover compensation after a car accident with a UM or a UIM. After all, if there is no at-fault insurance company, what is there to do? Well, in Colorado, insurance companies are legally required to offer UM/UIM policies to all clients. These policies allow you to file a claim against your own insurance provider, and get the compensation you would normally get from the at-fault driver through your own insurance company.
These policies usually match your liability coverage. If you have the Colorado minimum, your UM/UIM policy should be 25/50/15. If the at-fault driver was underinsured, you could file a claim against his insurance, get the max bodily injury policy of $25,000, then turn around and file a claim with your own company to get another $25,000 to cover the bills.
Of course, when you file against your own insurance company, you stop being a client and start being a potential threat to the company’s bottom line. Paying your settlement will take money out of the company’s pocket. It is very possible your claim will be denied, or at the very least, that your settlement will be lowballed. Just because the claim is against your own insurance provider does not mean the process will be any easier. That is why you need an accomplished attorney working on your behalf.
You Can't Count on Your Insurance Company to Protect You
Insurance companies are among the richest, most powerful corporations in America. They are constantly looking for ways to maximize their profits, and this includes minimizing the amount of money they pay out to their clients after a crash. More often than not, they will look to shortchange you even when it's money you are entitled to.
If you've been injured in accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist in Colorado Springs, you need to consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., our personal injury lawyers dedicate their time to protecting Colorado Springs victims. We work on a contingency fee basis on your behalf, meaning we only get paid after you do. Call us today at (719) 475-2555 to schedule a free consultation.