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Auto Accidents / Auto Insurance

Denver and Colorado Springs — Auto Accident Attorney Shawn E. McDermott

If you have been involved in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, you have the right to hire an auto accident attorney and file a claim against the driver. If you have been the victim of such an accident and live in Denver, Colorado Springs, or the surrounding communities, please contact our auto accident lawyer, attorney Shawn E. McDermott, for an honest assessment of your case.

Auto Accidents

In the United States, automobile accidents are the leading cause of injury and death. Each year, millions of people are injured or killed on the country’s roadways. In addition, 40 percent of fatal auto accidents are alcohol-related.

What are the elements of an auto accident claim?

Those who have been hurt in an auto accident that was the result of another driver’s negligence can seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Future losses
  • Punitive damages
  • Property damage

To prevail in an auto accident case and successfully win compensation, the claimant must prove:

  • Negligence: For there to be a case, it must be shown that the driver operated his or her vehicle recklessly and negligently.
  • Causation: The auto accident caused you to suffer damages / injuries.
  • Damages: You have suffered damages such as property damage, physical injuries, medical and hospital bills, past and future loss of income, pain and suffering, and inconvenience.

Why is it important to hire an experienced auto accident attorney following an accident?

If you are not experienced in these matters, as few people are, it is easy for insurance companies and other lawyers to take advantage of you. An auto accident lawyer such as Shawn E. McDermott is familiar with the intricacies of car accident cases and the tricks insurance companies use to avoid paying you what you are due.

Auto accident victims often need surgery, hospital stays, and long-term rehabilitation. Serious injuries, such as spinal cord and brain injuries, can require a lifetime of care and can have dire financial consequences for the victim and the victim’s family. Even less serious accidents can lead to paperwork, hospital bills, repair expenses, lost income, and battles with insurance companies. A skilled auto accident lawyer can help you navigate the paperwork and fight on your behalf, so you can focus on recovering physically.

If you might have a case related to an auto accident and live in or near Denver, Colorado Springs, or surrounding environs, please contact auto accident attorney Shawn E. McDermott.

Colorado Automobile Insurance Law – An Overview

When an accident occurs, it is helpful to have an overview of Colorado insurance laws, as these laws direct how most types of claims are handled. This overview is intended for general information purposes, and is not to be relied upon as specific legal advice applying to your case. For specific advice, please discuss your case with Denver auto accident lawyer Shawn E. McDermott.

No-Fault Benefits (Expired July 1, 2003)

Prior to July 1, 2003, Colorado law required that the owner or operator of a motor vehicle carry no-fault (and liability) coverage for all passenger motor vehicles. This mandatory coverage did not apply to motorcycles and certain other types of vehicles. No-fault benefits (also called “personal injury protection,” or PIP, benefits) were paid by the insurance company, providing coverage to the vehicle you were in or the vehicle that struck you if you were a pedestrian.

Although this system of automobile insurance coverage in Colorado has changed, many claims of individuals injured in accidents are still governed by this old law — either because the accident occurred prior to July 1, 2003, or because the insurance covering the vehicle had not yet reached the end of its policy term.

The intricacies of this Colorado law underscore the importance of an experienced attorney such as Denver auto accident attorney Shawn E. McDermott. Please contact our lawyer today if you have questions about the law or think you may have a case.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

If you were in an auto accident but were not at fault, you may be entitled to additional compensation from the party at fault in the accident, or the party’s insurance company. Colorado law requires that an owner or operator of a motor vehicle have liability insurance coverage. This coverage exists to compensate people who are injured through the fault of a driver. Claims can be made for any economic loss (less any no-fault benefits) and physical impairment. Claims can also be made for non-economic loss for such things as pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, disabilities, and scarring and disfigurement.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage is available on every motor vehicle insurance policy written in Colorado, but the coverage can be rejected in writing. Uninsured motorist coverage is coverage that has been purchased to cover you (and people claiming through your policy) if you are injured through the fault of an uninsured motorist or a motorist that has not been identified (hit and run). The benefits for uninsured motorist are the same as under the liability bodily injury coverage, except that the claim is made against your own insurance company instead of the negligent party’s insurance company. If you are not at fault in the accident, the insurance company cannot penalize you in any fashion for making a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Underinsured motorist coverage provides coverage similar to uninsured motorist coverage, but the coverage applies only if your policy (or the policy you are claiming through) has a limit of coverage that exceeds the coverage purchased by the party at fault. For example, assume that your bodily injury claim is worth $45,000. The party at fault has liability coverage of $25,000. If you have underinsured motorist coverage at the appropriate limit, you will be able to make an underinsured motorist claim against your own company for the additional $20,000.

If you have questions related to uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage and live near Denver or Colorado Springs, please contact auto accident attorney Shawn E. McDermott.

Property Damage Liability Coverage

If your property is damaged in a traffic accident that is someone else’s fault, you can make a claim against that person’s insurance for property damage. In Colorado, the law requires that all insurance policies carry liability coverage for property damage. If you have purchased collision coverage through your insurance company, you can make a claim against your company for your property damage. The claim against the insurance company is not subject to a deductible.

Changes to Automobile Insurance Laws in Colorado

Major changes to Colorado’s automobile insurance laws went into effect on July 1, 2003. These changes will have a drastic impact on all automobile injury claims arising from car accidents that occurred in Colorado on or after July 1, 2003.

This transition from the no-fault to a tort-based system of insurance protection has been an ongoing process with the insurance companies, lawyers, and the courts. It is important to consult with an attorney who emphasizes this area of practice. If have a question regarding auto insurance coverage in Colorado, contact Denver auto accident lawyer Shawn E. McDermott.

What was the no-fault system?

Under the former no-fault system, regardless of who or what caused a person’s injuries in an auto accident, the automobile insurance company providing insurance on the car the person was riding in during the accident was required to pay certain “personal injury protection,” or PIP, benefits. These benefits generally included medical benefits, rehabilitation expenses, lost income, essential services, and death benefits.

What is a tort system?

On July 1, 2003, Colorado switched to a tort system, also called a fault-based system. Under this system, the driver responsible for the accident is held responsible for covering the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, costs for vehicle repairs, and other damages.

Begin an Auto Accident Claim — Contact Denver Auto Accident Lawyer Shawn E. McDermott

If you are in an auto accident that was not your fault, it is imperative to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you reserve your rights, stand up against insurance companies, and navigate the laws that govern your case. For experienced representation in Denver, Colorado Springs, and surrounding communities, please contact auto accident attorney Shawn E. McDermott today.

DISCLAIMER

This site does not provide legal advice or services. Rather, it is for informational purposes only. Use of any information on this site is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act on the information provided on this site without seeking legal counsel.