Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions in Colorado
What do I do if I am involved in an auto accident?
Always call your local police. Police officers are trained in the investigation
of accidents. They prepare an accident report; which is a valuable tool to aid in establishing fault (liability) and an account of the basic facts of the accident. In addition, the report will give the names and addresses of all drivers along with the names of their passengers. Also, information is provided giving the names of the drivers respective insurance companies, and names of witnesses. It is amazing how quickly peoples' memories change after the fact; especially if they are responsible for the accident.
What do I do if I am injured in an auto accident?
In most serious accidents, injured victims are transported by ambulance to a local hospital or urgent care facility. In other cases, one may not feel any injuries until several hours after an accident. I always recommend that one gets checked out after an accident, at a medical facility, in order that a medical doctor can give a diagnosis and document injuries. Then, I recommend that the injured victim gives me a call so that I can answer any and all questions that he or she may have, and assist in setting up a claim.
If I am injured, who pays my medical bills?
I always recommend that every motorist in Colorado purchase medical payments coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. This option must be presented to you and it is a part of your auto policy unless you reject it in writing. Never reject it! Various amounts are available ($5000.00, $10,000.00, $25,000.00 etc…) and if included in your policy, all reasonable and necessary medical bills will be paid up to the amount of the limits. In most cases, payment for hospitalization, medical doctors, chiropractic care, physical therapy and massage therapy is allowed. If one does not have this coverage, then private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or other medical insurance maybe available. In addition, if injured clients do not have medical insurance, then I can assist them in finding medical providers who can take care of their medical needs without requiring payment until their respective claims are settled.
What responsibilities does the at-fault driver have?
The responsible or liable driver is responsible for your property damage and for your loss of use (rental expense) while your vehicle is being repaired. I assist my clients with these damages without any charge to them. In addition, the responsible driver is responsible for and will be required to pay for your losses such as medical expense incurred, loss of earnings, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent and life changing injuries and future medical treatment.
If you are injured and are unable to work and are disabled from working, per doctor's release, then you are entitled to be paid you're your loss of earnings. Unless you have a disability policy from a private carrier or were injured while on the job, calculated and documented earnings are a part of a settlement demand and will be paid at the conclusion of the case. I can assist in making sure that an injured victims loss of earnings is properly supported and documented.
How do I file a claim for an accident?
You can call the insurance companies' claim center to report and set up a claim. If you are injured due to the fault of another driver, never give a statement to the insurance company without the presence of an attorney. What you say can and will be used against you!
How long do I have to file a claim?
In Colorado, like all states, there are statutes of limitations, which require injured victims to settle or file (in the appropriate court) their respective claims within the prescribed time or forever lose the opportunity to do so. In Colorado, there are different time frames associated with certain claims and fact patterns; therefore, it is highly advisable to seek the advice of a Colorado licensed attorney in presenting a claim. For example, if a governmental entity in involved, then there is a specific statute which requires that written notice be given to the respective governmental agency within six months. Typically, an auto accident has a three-year statute of limitations, unless a governmental entity is involved.
What happens if the other driver does not have insurance?
In Colorado, we have available uninsured motorist coverage (UM) if the liable driver does not have insurance or if one is involved in an accident with a liable hit and run vehicle. This coverage must be offered to each Colorado motorist and is a part of the auto policy unless it is rejected in writing. Never reject this coverage! This coverage will provide benefits for your losses and injuries such as; medical expenses, loss of earnings, and the affect of your injuries on your way of life (pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life).
Remember that insurance companies are a business and will do whatever is required to pay out as little as possible. Insurance representatives are trained in saving money and have a lot more experience than you. They may be friendly, but don't trust them. They use legal loopholes to refuse to pay the benefits that you rightfully deserve. Generally, insurance companies are not fair and will offer a lot less than what a claim is worth. It is a proven fact that with the assistance of an experienced person injury attorney, that the insurance companies pay out a lot more money and are a lot more reasonable.
Do I have to pay for an initial consultation?
I will gladly visit with anyone injured in an accident, at their convenience, without charging them for the visit. When consulting with me, I will answer any and all questions and will provide a plan by which your claim needs to proceed. There is no obligation to retain my services and if you do decide to hire me, you pay nothing until your claim is resolved.
How do I pay for your services?
I work on a contingency which is a percentage of the total settlement. You only pay if you receive compensation for your personal injury claim.
Will I have to go to court?
If liability has been accepted and if all losses are properly documented and supported, then the majority of cases are reasonably settled without the need for litigation.
I have over 28 years experience in dealing with thousands of personal injury claims and can provide each client with the professionalism and efficiency in the handling of their respective claims. Please call my office to set up a free consultation. Remember, that insurance companies have their attorneys, you should too.