Denver Uninsured Motorist Attorneys
Automobile insurance may be a requirement for all Colorado drivers who get behind the wheel, but some still drive with little or no coverage. If you are involved in an accident with one of these drivers, you may have built-in coverage through your own auto insurance policy to compensate you for losses and expenses related to your injuries. Accident attorney J. Todd Tenge, serving Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins, will fight against insurers who unfairly reject, ignore, delay, or undervalue claims from policyholders who have been injured by motorists with little or no insurance. If you’d like to seek the compensation you are truly owed, take the first step and contact our Colorado personal injury law firm at (303) 502-5587 today.
Uninsured motorist insurance coverage pays you for bodily injuries and other losses and expenses when you are hit by another motorist who does not have car insurance, and is therefore, an “uninsured motorist” (UM). In other cases, the at-fault motorist may have liability insurance coverage, but does not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your bodily injuries and other losses and expenses, and is therefore considered to be an “underinsured motorist” (UIM). UM and UIM insurance coverage is insurance you purchase on your own auto insurance policy which will step in and cover your losses in the event you are involved in a crash with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. It is also important to realize that hit and run and phantom vehicle accidents qualify as uninsured motorists. And finally, you may seek recovery of benefits against your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage even if you were a pedestrian, cyclist, or a driver or passenger in someone else’s vehicle. The way we think of it is that the insurance “follows” the insured person. The bottom line is this – if you have been injured by a hit and run driver, a driver without coverage or not enough coverage, then you may have a UM/UIM claim, and you need to contact the expert UM/UIM attorneys at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC’s Boulder and Fort Collins offices, serving Denver and all of Colorado.
As of January 1, 2008, all UM/UIM coverage is no longer “set off” by whatever insurance the at fault driver had at the time of the accident. Thus, due to the new law (C.R.S. 10-4-609) when you have recovered the policy limits of the at fault driver’s insurance, you can make a claim on your UIM policy for the full amount of your UIM insurance coverage. By way of example, before the new law, if you recovered the policy limits of the other driver’s insurance of $25,000, and carried $100,000 UM/UIM coverage, you would be entitled to an additional $75,000 in UIM benefits ($100,000 – $25,000 = $75,000). For all insurance policies written or renewed AFTER January 1, 2008, you now get to add the full amount of your UIM coverage to the total limit of the other driver’s insurance. Thus, in the above example, the coverage available to compensate you would be $125,000 ($25,000 + $100,000). This is a very exciting and helpful change in Colorado insurance law, which was brought about by attorneys like J. Todd Tenge of the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, with offices in Boulder and Fort Collins, who are active members of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA).
Another aspect of the new law (C.R.S. 10-4-609) prohibits insurance companies from having “anti-stacking” language in their UM/UIM policies. Stated an easier way, it means insureds can now “stack” 2 or more UM/UIM insurance policies they may have on 2 or more vehicles. As such, if you have UM/UIM of $100,000 on one car, and have another UM/UIM policy of $100,000 on your second car, the new law allows you to add them together (i.e. “stack” them), and provides you with a total of $200,000 in UM/UIM coverage. Before the new law, you could typically not stack the two together, and would thus only have $100,000 in coverage – despite the fact you may have paid for two UM/UIM policies.
Some of the most frustrating auto accidents are caused by reckless motorists who flee the scene of an accident. These hit-and-run accidents often leave victims wondering how to obtain compensation for their injuries. If you live in the state of Colorado, have been hit by an unidentified driver, and have not explicitly refused uninsured motorist coverage, you may seek compensation by filing a claim with your own insurance provider. Should they unfairly deny your claim or offer less than what your full claim is worth, attorney J. Todd Tenge can step in and fight for your rights.
Despite an auto insurance company’s duty to their consumers, claims may be ignored, denied, or underpaid. If you are having trouble obtaining fair compensation from your insurer after an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident, J. Todd Tenge offers expert representation in insurance dispute cases where insurers do not pay the full worth of a claim, or refuse a claim altogether. He can help review your insurance contract and determine that you have proper coverage. If your insurance company is unwilling to resolve your claim fairly, he can advise you about filing a lawsuit, and aggressively represent you through trial, if necessary.
Colorado auto insurers are required to offer UM/UIM coverage to all policyholders or prospective policyholders. The offer must be reasonable. The offer must inform you of what UM/UIM coverage is and what it provides, the benefit amount, the price, the terms, etc. so that the insured or prospective insured can actually make an informed decision about whether to purchase UM/UIM coverage as part of their auto or motorcycle insurance. Finally, the insurance company must offer you UM/UIM coverage up to the same amount as you carry in bodily injury liability coverage. Insurance companies in Colorado have an affirmative obligation to not only make this offer of UM/UIM coverage, but if the insured or prospective insured rejects UM/UIM coverage, such rejection must be IN WRITING and SIGNED by the insured or prospective insured. The failure of an insurance company to do so may allow you to “reform” your insurance contract to actually include UM/UIM coverage to pay for your injuries, damages and losses, even if you did not actually purchase the coverage. The laws regarding UM/UIM coverage, and the insurance policy language, terms and conditions concerning UM/UIM, are very complicated and complex. It is imperative to consult the highly skilled, knowledgeable and experienced UM/UIM lawyer, J. Todd Tenge of the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, at either his Boulder or Fort Collins law offices to make sure you investigate whether you might have a viable UM or UIM claim, and if so, to help you pursue full compensation from your insurance company.
Some people are reluctant to make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim on their auto policy for fear of being canceled, or having the insurance company increase their insurance premiums. Do not worry. You auto insurance rates will not go up if you make a claim for UM or UIM benefits. In fact, there is a specific statute in Colorado (and in most other states as well) which prohibits an insurance company from raising rates or canceling coverage in response or retaliation for a policyholder making a claim for UM or UIM benefits. In that event, the insured could make a claim for damages, penalties and interest against the insurance company for acting in bad faith and violating the law.
The content on this page is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for legal advice. If you would like specific legal advice after an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident, contact attorney J. Todd Tenge, serving Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins, Colorado.
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