Car accidents can leave a person facing many frustrations, including injuries, property damage, and financial distress. After an accident, you may wonder, Who pays for medical expenses in a car accident in Colorado? The answer depends on your particular situation, but you may be entitled to financial recovery for your injuries.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident leaving you with mounting medical expenses, there are options. The Tenge Law Firm, LLC., is ready to help protect your rights and fight for fair compensation.
Colorado Is an “At-Fault” State
States are either “at-fault” or “no-fault.” Colorado was previously a “no-fault” state, but as of 2003, Colorado is an “at-fault” state. When a state is “no-fault,” this means blame is not placed on either party after an accident. This means that injured parties must seek compensation from their own insurers. On the other hand, when a state operates under an “at-fault” system, this means the individual responsible for the accident must pay.
If Someone Else Was At Fault for Your Car Accident
If the other driver is at fault for the accident, they are responsible for your medical bills. The driver themself or their insurance company will need to provide compensation. There are multiple ways you can have your medical bills paid, including:
- Filing a claim with your own car insurance;
- Filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance; or
- Filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
How you get compensation for your medical bills depends on the details of your accident.
Filing a Claim With Your Own Insurance Company
Many individuals opt to file a claim with their own insurer because this is often the quickest and easiest way. Your insurance company will typically cover medical expenses and then seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Insurance companies in Colorado offer drivers medical payment coverage, or “med-pay.” Med-pay covers up to $5,000 of medical expenses after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Drivers in Colorado must opt out of med-pay if they do not wish to have this additional coverage.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In the event the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you can file a claim through the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your policy. Unless you opt out of this coverage, you are covered should the responsible driver not have adequate insurance or any car insurance at all.
Filing a Claim with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
Instead of filing a claim with your own car insurer, you can also choose to file a claim directly with the other driver’s insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to pay the claim, you can file a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit
Depending on the details of your case, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s insurance company or the driver themselves. It is imperative you speak to a Colorado car accident lawyer to understand your rights and options.
If You Were Responsible for Your Collision
If you are completely at fault for your car accident, you are unable to collect for your medical expenses. In this case, you can use your own health insurance or pay medical expenses out-of-pocket.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Colorado’s modified comparative negligence law could affect how much compensation you are entitled to recover. Under this law, the plaintiff’s award is reduced by their percentage of fault for the accident. However, if the plaintiff’s fault is greater or equal to the defendant’s percentage of fault, the plaintiff gets nothing.
For example, suppose the plaintiff and defendant are involved in a car accident. Let’s say the plaintiff is 55% at fault, while the defendant is 45% at fault. In this case, even though the plaintiff and defendant are almost equally at fault, the plaintiff would get nothing because their fault is greater than the defendant’s.
Statute of Limitations
Depending on your particular situation, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover your medical expenses. It is crucial to note that there is a time restraint on the amount of time you have to file your claim. In Colorado, a plaintiff has two years from the date of the accident to file their lawsuit. Therefore, if, for example, your car accident was on June 5, 2020, you would have until June 5, 2022, to file your claim.
Failing to file your lawsuit in time can result in a complete bar to recovery of any compensation for your injuries. Contacting a Colorado car accident lawyer sooner rather than later is the best way to avoid running out of time and ensuring you have the best ally for your legal battle.
Consult with a Qualified Colorado Car Accident Attorney
The Tenge Law Firm, LLC has over two decades of experience helping injured clients seek the financial recovery they deserve. Our boutique firm consists of skilled and passionate attorneys and staff offering the highest quality service. We never back down from a fight and are ready to go the extra mile for our clients. Our firm offers free case evaluations. Contact us today, and let’s discuss your case.