What Are Your Options After an Accident?
After being involved in a car accident that was not your fault, you are likely feeling stressed, confused, and traumatized. If the accident was caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you may be worried about how you will recover from the financial strain of the property damage, medical bills, and lost wages.
Thankfully, if you contact our experienced Fort Collins uninsured motorist attorneys, you may have more options than you realize. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, our legal team offers a completely free consultation to walk you through what your next steps should be. Contact us today at (970) 212-4777 and let us discuss your case.
Auto Insurance in Colorado
Auto insurance is a legal requirement in almost every state, but the amount that your auto insurance is required to cover varies from state to state as well as your policy minimums. In Colorado, you must have a policy that offers a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury per person, for a total of $50,000 per accident. On top of that, the policy must also offer $5,000 in medical payment coverage per accident. $5,000 is fairly low and we would always recommend policies that offer a higher amount.
In addition, uninsured motorists (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage policies are not required in Colorado. But why would you need these policies?
Well, let us say you were hit by a driver without insurance. When those people cause an accident, you will not be able to file a claim against their insurance provider in order to recover the damages you suffered. Hit and runs are also treated as uninsured motorist accidents by these insurance policies, even if you are a pedestrian. With this coverage, you can file a claim against your own insurance company to cover the costs of an accident.
Unlike an uninsured driver, an underinsured driver can still use their insurance policy to offer some level of compensation, but that compensation will not be as much as you actually need. That is where UIM coverage comes into play. Say you suffer a catastrophic injury, such as severe brain trauma or spinal cord damage, and need extensive surgeries and physical therapy to recover. These medical costs could easily go beyond the standard policy in Colorado, but, if you have UIM, your own insurance policy may be able to cover the additional costs.
Insurance companies are legally required to offer an UM/UIM policy that covers you for the same amount as your own accident insurance policy. You can reject the policy offer, but you must do so in writing, clearly indicating you are choosing to not keep the policy. If you never signed or filled out a rejection form, then you most likely have the policy in place and should review your auto insurance plan.
What to Do Following an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
All car accidents require the same basic procedures: contacting the authorities, exchanging insurance information, and seeking medical attention. Of course, your health is your top priority, but you should always call 911 to ensure a report is filed with the police and get the other driver’s insurance information. Sometimes the police will handle this for you in their report, but it is much simpler and faster to do it at the accident, if it is safe for you to do so. Even if they are underinsured, their policy can still offer some compensation
But what if the other driver does not have insurance? Well, you still need to contact the police, even if you were involved in a hit and run. All auto accidents must be reported to the police; otherwise, both parties can be found liable for a hit and run. The police may also be able to track down the driver and assist in collecting their insurance information, if they have any. In addition, a properly filed accident report is vital to filing an UM claim, as it demonstrates that another driver is at fault for your injuries and that you are eligible for compensation from your insurance company.
Filing Claims on Your Own Policy: Know Your Rights
Even if you do not have UM/UIM coverage, you may still have options. If you were involved in an UM/UIM accident that was not your fault, contact our firm. Our attorneys have years of experience helping clients sift through their insurance policies, finding all possible sources of coverage. Some of our clients have believed that they didn’t have any options left before coming to us, and we managed to recover the damages they needed to continue living a comfortable life.
While filing a claim after an UM/UIM accident, you may be worried about your insurance provider raising your rates or canceling your plan altogether. Thankfully, in Colorado it is illegal for insurance providers to cancel or raise rates in the case of an UM/UIM claim. The policy would be fairly pointless otherwise, as the entire point of an UM/UIM policy is to provide you compensation when the at-fault driver is unable to. If your insurance provider attempts to raise your rates or cancel your policy, or even threatens to, then they are breaking the law and thus acting in bad faith.
The Best Legal Help in Fort Collins
Car accidents are frightening enough without having to add in the question of whether or not you will receive proper compensation. If you were involved in an UM/UIM accident that was not your fault, and are unsure of what your options are or what your next step should be, contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC at (970) 212-4777. Our Fort Collins car accident attorneys have years of personal injury experience, and our legal team can review all options to ensure you receive every cent in damages that you are owed after an accident. Don’t hesitate, call us today.