Colorado Springs Car Accident Lawyers
Every day millions of Colorado residents take the inherent and unavoidable risk of injury or death by driving a car. It's not a pleasant thought to carry around with you on a daily basis, but it's a reality we Coloradans need to understand and take into account every time we drive a car.
In 2017 648 people lost their lives in Colorado due to car wrecks, and thousands more were injured or impaired as a result of an accident. That adds up to more than ten thousand auto accident claims a year filed in the state of Colorado looking to seek compensation for damages and losses.
Chances are you or someone you know was involved in a car accident of varying severities. Even the most simple rear-end accident can involve numerous hoops to jump through and red tape to cut -- insurance companies are notoriously stingy when it comes to doling out compensation to car wreck victims in Colorado.
At Springs Law Group we deal with all types of car accidents around Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Read for yourself what all a car accident entails before you call 719-421-7141 for a free consultation today on your claim.
What to do after a car accident in Colorado
The most important thing anyone can do following a car accident is not panic. Panicking will lead to irrational decision making and a loss of regular common sense, which in turn could lead to an accident victim either inadvertently admitting fault or not following a key step in the post-accident process.
Springs Law Group has a list of best practices for everyone in the Colorado Springs and Pueblo area. If you're involved in a car accident, here what you do:
1) Seek Medical Attention: If you are clearly injured or suspect injury, call 911 or notify the responding police you need an ambulance. Documenting all injuries at the scene of the accident is crucial to the claims process -- not to mention taking care of your personal well-being.
2) File a police report: Contrary to other states police reports are inadmissible in Colorado courts. However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't file one at the accident scene. A car accident attorney can craft a better demand letter for court if you write down the details beforehand.
3) Document information: Be your own investigator! Take pictures, talk to the potential witness and get copies of the police report -- anything that can be used to bolster your credibility in court. Don't leave it up to the police to make your case for you.
4) Colorado Statute of Limitations: The state of Colorado allows citizens involved in car accidents three years to file a lawsuit. Springs Law Group would encourage anyone involved in a car accident to speak to an attorney immediately and lose precious time.
5) Contact a Colorado car accident attorney: Car insurance companies will go out of their way to make sure they don't pay out more money than they need. A good Colorado car accident attorney can make sure you're getting the most out of your settlement.
Stay away from social media after a car accident!
The advent of social media has made it easier than ever for people to incriminate themselves in multiple ways. Whether it's an offensive tweet that gets someone fired at work or posting a picture on Instagram breaking an alibi -- social media and the law never seem to get along.
Car accidents and social media are no different. Our advice is to stay away from social media entirely until the claims process has worked itself out. In general, please don't:
- Post pictures of your accident or injuries anywhere.
- Rant about the accident or the claims process.
- Post excessively about your regular life.
- Any comment about other peoples accidents or injuries.
Follow those rules, and you will have nothing to worry about in regards to your accident claim.
Colorado Car Accident Claims Process
Once you've followed all the best practices post-car accident, there is a whole other set of steps you'll need to follow for filing the actual claim. Some of the elements in these two sets of steps may blend together, so be careful when reading what you need to do when filing an insurance claim in Colorado.
Filing Insurance: Since Colorado dropped the "no-fault" system for filing insurance claims, if you've been in a car wreck the law requires you to file a claim if you expect to receive compensation. You'll be expected to stay at the scene until the police arrive and possibly arrange for the other party's hospital transportation.
Colorado Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements
Colorado requires anyone driving on the road to hold the following amounts of liability insurance coverage:
- $25,000 for liability for bodily injuries per person
- $50,000 total for liability for injuries if more than one person is injured
- $15,000 in coverage for liability for others’ property damage
Springs Law Group would recommend their clients ensure their vehicle with more than the legal minimum. If you buy a Colorado car insurance policy you'll have the option to reject the following options:
- $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident of protection against uninsured motorists
- $5,000 per accident of medical payments
These are necessary protections for any driver if they're involved in an accident. No one can predict if their accident will be with an uninsured driver or not.
Your Colorado Springs car accident attorney and the insurance adjuster: The car insurance companies will assign "adjusters" to your case who will evaluate and determine what damages arose from the accident. Your attorney and the adjuster will stay in contact about these details until the insurance company makes an offer.
Submitting an offer and negotiations: Once the insurance company has evaluated the accident in full, they will submit an offer to reimburse you for any damages to you personally or the vehicle. Your Colorado car accident attorney will work with you to negotiate the best possible offer if the initial offer isn't enough.
Accepting an offer or going to court: The Colorado accident claims process can end one of two ways -- accepting the settlement offer or taking the case to a Colorado court. Most cases in Colorado settle outside of court, and the state even goes as far to encourage it with the "offer of settlement" statute.
Car Accidents in Southern Colorado
No two car accidents are created equal. Each one involves a unique kind of negligence from one or both parties in addition to other outside factors. If you live in the Colorado Springs area, you have either experienced one of these yourself or know someone who has.
Distracted driving: Texting and driving is the most notorious form of distracted driving -- leading to thousands of deaths a year across the country. But texting isn't the only distraction we face on the road. Eating, talking with passengers or fiddling with the entertainment console all lead to distracted accidents as well. All of which are very preventable.
Hit and Run: If you've read through the insurance and claims section of this page, you'll know it's against the law to leave the scene of an accident if you're at-fault even if the damaged vehicle is unattended. Don't be the person charged with a crime because they left the scene of an accident.
Driving under the influence: Hearing "DUI" normally connotes the idea of drunk driving. In Colorado, we have the added issue of marijuana use while driving. Whatever your vice, make sure to do it in moderation. The consequences of a DUI far outweigh the gains of getting home from the bar early.
Rear-end collision: This is one of the more common accidents we see in Colorado Springs and are often the fault of the rear vehicle. In Colorado, we have a shared negligence statue which can find the front driver partially at fault if it is found they acted recklessly enough to cause the accident.
Head-on collision: Two vehicles colliding at high speeds in opposite directions often lead to the more serious injuries we see in car wrecks. Head-on collisions are a common cause of whiplash, head injuries, and neck contusions.
T-bone collision: Referred to as "side impact collisions" in the industry, these are often the scariest since they happen out of your peripheral vision and go unforeseen. Behind head-on collisions, side-impact collisions have the second highest fatality rate among car accidents.
Rollovers: On our windy mountain roads here in Colorado, rollovers are common among SUV, truck and van drivers. In the case your rollover accident was caused by a negligent driver, you'll need a Colorado car accident attorney to help you navigate the shared negligence in the accident.
Pedestrians: Even as all Colorado drivers have a duty of care, a pedestrian can still be found at-fault in an accident if a court finds they were acting so carelessly it was impossible for the car not to hit them. There have been instances where a Colorado judge issues 50-50 fault in a pedestrian accident.
Bicycles: Going back to the duty of care statute for Colorado drivers, bicycles and pedestrians are treated similarly by the law. Both driver and bicycle rider can share fault in a bicycle accident, but the driver will almost always absorb a majority of the fault.
Proving Negligence or Fault in a Colorado Car Accident
Every car accident in Colorado happens for a reason. In general, attorney's don't like to use the word "accident" because it connotes an idea no one was at fault.
In reality, there's always fault in a car accident. Whether it was driver negligence or carelessness, the blame will always go somewhere. The tricky part of being a Colorado car accident attorney is navigating what share of fault each driver has.
The shared fault in an accident ultimately decided what kind of compensation a client will receive. In Colorado, there are certain statutes and laws which lay out how to distribute fault in a car wreck. We'll talk about them more below.
Proving Negligence in a Colorado Court: Anything laid out in the "duty of care" statute can be the basis for proving negligence in a car wreck. Was the driver/pedestrian/bicycle rider exemplifying a reasonable pattern of behavior in this situation? That's the question a court or insurance company will ask when reviewing the details of the accident.
No Doubt Liability: These are situations where the accident leaves no doubt as to who is at fault. Rear-end accidents fall into this category as do the drunk driving and distracted driving accidents.
Comparative Negligence: Based on the investigations done by law enforcement and the insurance adjusters, both drivers involved in an accident will share fault in an accident. The fault will divide along percentages, so, for example, a driver can be found 40 percent at-fault for an accident.
It should be noted if you're found to be more than 50 percent at-fault in an accident, you will not be able to receive compensation for your accident.
What damages can be claimed in my Colorado Car Accident?
The word "damages" can encompass a number of different areas when it comes to accident and injury claims. Damages can include the repairs made for your car or can include any suffering you endure because of an accident.
These damages are sorted into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are any amount of compensation that can be calculated down to the exact dollar amount.
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Vehicle Repairs
Where a Colorado Car Accident Attorney can come in handy is fighting for non-economic damages. These less-concrete damages can be difficult to prove in court because of the receipts and number figures unavailable for them.
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of affection or companionship
- Emotional Distress
Injuries associated with Colorado Car Accidents
The injuries car accident victims suffer range in severity. The most important thing when dealing with these injuries is listening to your medical professional and following through with all necessary treatment. Don't ever put anything in a car accident claim above your personal well-being.
Car Accident Injuries in Colorado come in a variety of forms, but these are the more common and often debilitating injuries suffered by victims.
SLAP Tears: SLAP actually stands for Superior Labral Anterior Posterior. It's a reference to the tear that stretches from the front to the back of the cartilage on the inner portion of the shoulder joint. In sports we see baseball players and quarterbacks suffer this injury because of the repetitive throwing motion in their shoulder.
In a car accident, you can damage your labrum from absorbing the impact of the accident while clutching the steering wheel. Those who suffer this injury will immediately feel pain in their shoulder along with popping noises and the loss of overhead motion.
Concussions/MBTI: Any impact on the head, no matter how severe, can lead to a concussion. That in itself is the definition of a concussion, but the diagnosis and treatment of one aren't as simple.
The headaches, odd sleeping patterns, seizures and mood changes can take days to become visible, but nausea, ringing sounds in the ear and loss of consciousness can happen right after the accident. More severe concussions fall under the traumatic brain injury category, which can lead to cognitive dysfunction much longer after the accident.
Back/Spinal Cord: Back and spinal cord injuries are an umbrella for many specific kinds of injuries suffered in a car accident. Car accidents can lead to facet joint injuries, disc herniation, spinal stenosis and a whole mess of problems that can debilitate a victim for months.
These injuries often wind up the most costly for those who suffer them. The time spent away from work, the amount of physical therapy needed to recover and the
Whiplash: Whiplash injuries are almost exclusively associated with car wrecks. A whiplash occurs when the head moves back and forth at a violent pace. You'll immediately know you've experienced whiplash when you feel the pain sweep over your neck and back along with the dizziness.
Most of the time whiplash injuries heal over in a week or two. Other times whiplash can be more serious and can cause memory loss, blurred vision, and sleep apnea
Contact a Colorado Springs Car Accident Attorney Today
Above all, Springs Law Group wants all the drivers around Colorado Springs and Pueblo to be safe. However, we know this is never the reality on American roads. Car Accidents account for thousands of injuries and deaths every year. It's not a scare tactic -- it's a fact.
Another fact? If you've been in a car accident in Colorado Springs or Pueblo, there's a good chance you'll have to fight an insurance company to make sure your livelihood and health are protected. Don't take on that fight alone.
Springs Law Group has fought for the people in the Colorado Springs-Pueblo area for more than ten years. Don't let just anyone fight for your deserved compensation, call 719-421-7141 for a free consultation today.