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Written by: J. Todd Tenge

What Happens If the Person at Fault in an Accident Has No Insurance in Colorado

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what happens if the person at fault in an accident has no insurance
what happens if the person at fault in an accident has no insurance

When it comes to car accidents, each state has different laws that could affect potential compensation.

Some states have no-fault systems requiring a person to carry personal injury protection insurance. Others, like Colorado, use a fault system where the car accident victim can sue the liable driver for damages they cause. However, financial assets must be available to recover damages.

So what happens if the person at fault in an accident has no insurance? When an at-fault driver has no insurance, hope is not lost, as there could be other ways to get compensation. An experienced car accident attorney can guide your next steps.

What to Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault

The first steps to take immediately after a car crash can directly impact your potential recovery. First, be sure to get medical attention and call the authorities. The authorities will create an accident report which will be important evidence later in your case.

Next, take pictures of the accident scene. Use your smartphone to take photos of the damage to your vehicle, injuries, and the intersection or accident scene layout. Also, exchange information and get contact information from witnesses. These steps will help build your case against the other driver or liable party.

Insurance Laws in Colorado 

If you were in an accident with an uninsured driver, both parties are still responsible for complying with Colorado laws concerning traffic accidents. These laws require you to call the police and exchange information with the other driver. When both drivers have insurance, you typically look to the insurance of the at-fault driver to pay for the damages.

Colorado law dictates that every licensed driver must have auto insurance that includes two forms of coverage: bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. A driver’s minimum bodily injury liability coverage must be $25,000 for a single person. However, the policy must provide at least $50,000 in total accident liability coverage if more than one person is injured.

Property damage liability coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing the injured driver’s vehicle and other personal property, and the minimum coverage requirement is $15,000. In Colorado, a driver caught without insurance may receive criminal charges. Driving without insurance is a class 1 misdemeanor. They may have to pay a fine or lose their driver’s license.

When shopping for car insurance, it’s possible to purchase additional coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists (UM/UIM). UM/UIM coverage allows the policyholder to file an auto insurance claim against their policy if an uninsured driver hits them. Additional coverage will help protect you if you ever get in another car accident with an uninsured driver.

What Are My Options When the At-Fault Driver Has No Car Insurance?

If you’ve suffered an injury, vehicle, or property damage in an accident, you can usually proceed in one of two ways. The first option is to file a claim with your car insurance company, assuming you have MedPay or collision coverage. You can file a claim regardless of who caused the accident. 

MedPay is not required by the state of Colorado but is additional coverage that can help pay for your medical expenses from a car accident. In addition to MedPay, you might be eligible for medical expense coverage through your health insurance.

You can also purchase optional collision or comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, which will help pay for repair costs for your vehicle’s damage in the accident. As noted above, UM/UIM coverage is the best optional coverage available after an accident with an uninsured driver.

The purpose of UM/UIM coverage is to replace the other driver’s lack of insurance. Unlike MedPay, which covers only medical expenses, UM/UIM coverage could compensate you for pain and suffering, lost income, and lost quality of life.

The last option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in court. Lawsuits are successful when the other driver has financial assets to pay for damages. However, if the other driver doesn’t have assets to pay you, it might not be worth pursuing, because even if you get a judgment against them, you won’t get paid. Litigation in an uninsured car accident case is usually a last resort.

Although these are the most common options, we can’t guarantee they will apply to your case. Sometimes a case can be more nuanced and involve defective car parts or negligence on behalf of a construction company. More complicated situations would bear a more complicated case strategy. 

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney?

Most personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee agreement is based on an attorney’s ability to secure compensation for their clients’ damages without any upfront costs.

The client does not pay an hourly fee or ongoing legal fees and is not required to pay anything to the attorney if they cannot secure compensation. A contingency fee arrangement ensures an attorney is affordable and accessible to those who most need it.

When you hire an attorney, they’ll investigate your crash and gather relevant evidence proving the other driver’s liability. Additionally, they’ll advise you on your legal options (depending on your insurance coverage) and whether it’s worth pursuing a lawsuit.

When you become a client, we’ll file insurance claims on your behalf, pursue full and fair compensation and take your claims to court if necessary. Considering you pay nothing out-of-pocket, an attorney is an invaluable resource.

Need an Attorney for a Car Accident, but the Other Driver Has No Insurance?

If you have questions about your legal options following an accident with an uninsured motorist and your potential compensation for your losses, turn to the Tenge Law Firm for help.

The Tenge Law Firm is an experienced personal injury law firm that knows the ins and outs of insurance coverage. In 2019, Attorney and Practice Magazine named Mr. Tenge one of Colorado’s top 10 personal injury attorneys. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. 

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