Denver Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
Many Coloradans drive without insurance despite laws requiring all drivers to have auto liability insurance. Colorado ranks among the 10 states with the highest percentage of drivers with no car insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute. If you have sustained injuries in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist or an underinsured driver, you may have questions about how to pay your medical bills and cover your other losses. You may have options for pursuing compensation. However, you will need a strong legal advocate on your side to receive fair treatment from the insurance companies.
Let our Colorado uninsured motorist attorneys help. The attorneys at The Sawaya Law Firm bring decades of legal experience helping Denverites and handling injury claims involving uninsured motorists. The Sawaya Law Firm has a proud heritage of pursuing justice for accident victims. Our Colorado personal injury attorneys have the knowledge, tenacity, and resources to seek maximum compensation for your injuries caused by an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist.
Uninsured Motorist Lawyer in Denver, Co
Auto liability insurance is required in Colorado. But according to the Insurance Information Institute, uninsured motorists account for 16.2 percent of all drivers on the road in Colorado. Uninsured motorists may face stiff fines and have their license confiscated if caught driving without insurance. But if you have been injured by an uninsured motorist, you may need to seek compensation from your own insurance company. You may need a knowledgeable accident attorney to advocate on your behalf.
An experienced uninsured motorist lawyer at The Sawaya Law Firm can provide guidance about the steps you need to take after a crash caused by a driver with no insurance or minimal insurance. Our attorneys are committed to helping people who have been injured through the negligence of others seek the compensation needed to rebuild their lives and move forward.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist insurance (UM) protects an automobile owner who is hit by a driver who was driving without auto insurance.
Colorado law requires insurance companies to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist protection (UM/UIM) as part of each auto insurance policy they sell. Unless you have specifically rejected the uninsured motorist coverage in writing when purchasing auto insurance policy, then you likely have UM protection.
Uninsured motorist policies also cover accidents involving hit-and-run drivers, if the driver flees and remains unidentified. You should be sure to report to police that you were struck by a hit-and-run driver. A driver or pedestrian who is injured by a hit-and-run driver may obtain coverage for injuries through the uninsured motorist coverage of his or her auto insurance UM policy.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Many drivers carry only the minimum amounts of auto liability insurance required by Colorado law. In a serious accident, the minimum coverage limits may not be enough to cover the cost of your medical bills for treatment of serious injuries and property damage.
Underinsured motorist insurance (UIM) provides additional coverage for injury victims in this situation. If you are injured by another driver who did not have adequate insurance to cover your injuries, UIM will cover the difference between the other driver’s liability insurance bodily injury limits and your underinsured motorist policy limits.
You are well advised to carry UIM coverage and UM coverage to protect you and your family in the event you are injured by a careless driver who cannot pay for the damage he or she has caused.
How Can The Sawaya Law Firm’s Uninsured Motorist Lawyers Help?
If you were injured by an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist, you may need to file a claim with your own insurance company for compensation related to injuries caused by an uninsured motorist. Your UM policy essentially takes the place of the insurance the uninsured driver should have had.
Insurance companies make a profit by limiting the amount they pay out in claims. Even though you may have a valid UM or UIM claim, your insurer is unlikely to pay voluntarily the full amount you should receive for damages caused by an insured or underinsured motorist. The insurance company wants to limit the amount it pays to settle claims.
The insurance company may try to deny your claim, delay payment as long as possible, or pressure you to accept a settlement that is a fraction of what your claim is actually worth. You may not have a clear understanding of what your claim is worth without the guidance of an experienced lawyer. Our attorneys can review the facts of your accident, review your present and future medical needs related to the injury and provide an estimate of the value of your case. We can prevent you from being taken advantage of by an insurance company.
It often takes legal action or tough negotiation by a dedicated personal injury attorney at The Sawaya Law Firm to get an insurance company to make a full settlement of an uninsured motorist claim. Having an experienced attorney representing you tells the insurance company that you are serious about being treated fairly.
We will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, interview witnesses, make contact with law enforcement and search for any adjacent surveillance camera tapes that might have captured your accident. It is important to move quickly to gather evidence such as security camera footage before it is discarded.
What Should I Do After an Accident With a Denver Uninsured Motorist?
Here are six steps you should take after a car accident involving an uninsured driver or underinsured driver.
- Exchange registration information with other drivers.
- Report the crash to police and get a police accident report.
- Take photos of the accident scene and of your injuries.
- Obtain medical care for your injuries and for others needing treatment.
- Report the uninsured motorist accident to your insurance company.
- Consult with an experienced lawyer who handles uninsured motorist claims.
After an accident, you should exchange license and insurance information with other drivers involved in the accident. Drivers in Colorado are required to carry proof of their auto insurance coverage in the vehicle.
You should report the accident to police and wait for the officer to arrive and complete an accident report. Do not let an uninsured motorist talk you out of calling the police, even if the driver promises to pay you out of pocket for your damages. You will have no way of collecting payment if the driver changes his or her mind after leaving the scene. Without a police report of the accident, there will be no official record of who caused the accident. It will be your word against that of the other driver.
Take photos of the accident including damage to vehicles and your injuries. Take a photo of the license plate of the other driver’s car.
Seek medical care. A doctor’s record of your injuries will provide important documentation of your injuries related to the accident.
Report the car accident to your insurer promptly.
Contact a Colorado uninsured motorist lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Uninsured (or underinsured) motorist coverage is insurance provided to cover an individual who has been involved in an accident with someone that either has no insurance or does not have adequate insurance to pay for the full amount of damages suffered. Jurisdictions often require that uninsured coverage be provided as a part of all motor vehicle insurance policies.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Lawyers
What makes a driver uninsured or underinsured? Obviously, someone driving without any auto insurance at all would be categorized as uninsured. However, an individual may still be considered uninsured if his or her plan does not allow for full coverage of the injuries for which he or she is legally responsible. Uninsured motorist coverage is intended to protect policyholders and their passengers who were injured by the fault of an uninsured individual. If it can be shown that the uninsured party is not at fault, uninsured/underinsured provisions of an insurance policy will not apply and the injured party’s may not recover for their injuries under that theory.
If you or a loved one were injured in a motor vehicle accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance, it is important to speak to a personal injury attorney in Colorado to answer your questions and discuss your legal options.
Persons Included in Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage provisions may differ from state to state. In most jurisdictions, the covered persons may include the insurance policy holder, family members who live in the same home as the insured, passengers in the vehicle when the accident occurs, pedestrians injured by the vehicle and/or the driver of the vehicle during the accident. Other jurisdictions may have coverage exclusions regarding the policyholder’s family members, if the family members possess their own insurance policy. However, in these jurisdictions the insured’s policy may not exclude family members in certain circumstances.
Likewise, state laws may determine if employees are covered under their employer’s uninsured or underinsured policies. In some states, employees are covered by their employer’s insurance policy if they are injured in a motor vehicle accident while in the business of the employer. This may mean driving their own automobile as a part of their job or at the direction of their employer; these state laws regard the employee’s personal vehicle as engaged by the employer. However, according to other state statutes, employees injured while using their own vehicles will not be covered under their employer’s corporate insurance policy, even if the employee is driving for business purposes. The fact that the employee was using his or her own automobile excludes that employee from the definition of the insured (corporate employer) that is covered by the insurance policy. To learn more about persons included and excluded by uninsured motorist coverage insurance policies, speak to an attorney in your state about your situation and the applicable laws.
Recovery for Your Injuries
Individuals covered by an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy may be compensated for their personal injuries, not injuries to personal property. The injuries suffered and costs incurred by the injured party may differ depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the severity of the injuries sustained. Some examples of recovery may include reimbursement for medical costs, future healthcare treatment costs, lost wages, loss of future income, pain and suffering, loss of companionship and (in some cases) wrongful death. Damages will differ based on the injuries and the laws in your state, please speak to a Denver personal injury attorney to learn more about recovery for your injuries.
Preparing to Meet with Your Personal Injury Attorney
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Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers
Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. When you submit a claim to your insurance company, the company is required to do a thorough investigation of that claim. If the claim is legitimate, the insurance company is to provide your benefits promptly and without delay. Parties to a contract have an obligation to act in good faith towards each other. When the insurance company fails to act in good faith by unnecessarily delaying investigation or payment or refusing to pay a legitimate claim, you may have a right to sue your insurer under the theory of bad faith.
In the state of Colorado, bad faith claims are both common law tort or statutory. Proving bad faith requires that you prove that the insurance company failed to honor the policy and the insurance company had no reasonable reason for the delay or denial. Under common law tort bad faith, you must show that this delay and/or denial was done willfully.
The ways in which an insurer can commit bad faith includes, but is not limited to, failing to investigate a claim within a reasonable time, failing to pay benefits without cause, unreasonably delaying or a denying a claim, undervaluing a claim, or an unfair cancellation of an insurance policy.
If you believe that your insurance company is engaging in bad faith in resolving your claims, please contact The Sawaya Law Firm. Our Colorado personal injury attorneys are skilled at dealing with insurance companies and protecting your rights under your insurance contract.
Contact a Denver, CO UM/UIM Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured by an uninsured driver or a driver whose insurance is not sufficient to pay for your medical bills and other losses, speak to a personal injury lawyer at The Sawaya Law Firm. We offer a free, no obligation consultation to review the details of your accident and explain your legal options.
If you have been in a car accident, you probably have some questions about what your insurer or the other driver’s insurer will cover and what your legal rights are. Every accident has specific factors that make it unique. The legal team at The Sawaya Law Firm has compiled answers to common questions about insurance issues involving car accidents.
The attorneys at The Sawaya Law Firm bring decades of legal experience to helping Coloradans pursue successful resolutions of injury claims. The Sawaya Law Firm has a distinguished heritage of seeking justice for Coloradans who have been harmed through the negligence of others. Our Colorado personal injury attorneys have the experience, tenacity, and resources to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries from insurance companies.
The insurance FAQs below are intended as general information. For answers to your specific questions about your legal rights in pursuing an insurance settlement after a car accident in Denver, please contact The Sawaya Law Firm.
My car is worth more than the insurance company said it is worth when declaring it a total loss. Can the insurance company declare my car a total loss?
Yes, each insurance company has its own system for processing claims and method for determining the value of wrecked vehicles. If the cost to repair your car or pickup truck is above a certain percentage of the value, the insurer will declare the vehicle a total loss. The value of your car is the actual value at the time of the crash— not the amount you paid for the vehicle or still owe on it. Your best course of action is to consult with a Colorado car accident attorney who can review the details of the accident, the insurer’s offer and give you guidance about your legal options. The insurer may be more willing to offer a full settlement that covers your medical bills and other losses if you have an aggressive lawyer advocating for you.
I was injured in a car crash in Denver by a driver who did not have enough insurance to pay all my medical bills. Do I have to pay the remaining bills?
If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it should help pay for medical payments and other losses, if the other driver does not have adequate insurance to pay for your injuries. Colorado requires that insurance companies offer UM/UIM insurance as part of auto and motorcycle insurance policies. Your UM/UIM policy should cover you, other people listed on the policy, and in some cases your passengers who are injured by an uninsured or uninsured driver. Your insurance company may dispute your UM/UIM claim. An uninsured motorist lawyer at The Sawaya Law Firm can offer guidance about your legal rights during a free consultation.
Bicycle Collision With Pedestrian
Bicyclists in Colorado have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers on public roads. If a bicyclist is riding on a sidewalk and collides with a pedestrian, it is important to determine first whether local ordinances prohibit riding a bike on sidewalks. For example, the City of Denver prohibits riding bicycles on sidewalks in most circumstances. If a bicyclist is riding on a Denver sidewalk and hits a pedestrian, the bicyclist may be found to be at fault and be liable for the pedestrian’s injuries. The injured pedestrian may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault bicyclist’s auto liability coverage if the cyclist has auto insurance coverage. The pedestrian may also be able to obtain compensation through his or her own medical payment policy. Accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians can be complicated to resolve on your own if serious injuries are involved. If you have been injured by a bicyclist, it is helpful to have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney review the details of the bicycle accident and explain your legal options.
My car accident claim was denied by the other driver’s insurer. Do I have any recourse after a denied claim?
If an insurer is disputing liability and refusing to provide compensation after an accident in Colorado, you should have an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer review the details of your accident and offer guidance. Insurance companies make a profit by limiting the amount they pay out in claims. That means denying claims whenever possible. The insurance company is hoping you will simply give up and go away. But you do have some options. You may need to have a determined injury attorney negotiate on your behalf with the lawyers for the insurance company. You may need to file a lawsuit to get the insurance company to take your claim seriously.
Should I agree to arbitration of my car accident claim?
Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution if you and the insurance company cannot agree on a claim settlement. In arbitration, an independent arbiter decides how the claim should be settled. Both sides have to agree to arbitration. The drawback to binding arbitration is that you agree to accept the arbiter’s decision as final. You give up your right to go to court and seek justice.
What are the duties of insurance companies in first party claims?
An insurance policy is a contract between the insurance company and the policyholder. Your insurance company has a legal duty to act in good faith toward its policy holders. The insurance company should provide compensation up to the policy limits when the policyholder suffers certain types of harm. If you file a claim against your own insurance company, it is known as a first party claim. If your insurance company denies your valid claim or refuses to make payment based on the terms of the policy, the insurance company may be acting in bad faith. You may have to sue your own insurance company to seek payment. If your insurance company is denying what you believe is a valid claim, a personal injury lawyer at The Sawaya Law Firm is available to discuss your legal options during a free consultation.
Contact a Denver Insurance Dispute Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured by another motorist and you are getting the runaround from the insurance company, speak to an uninsured motorist lawyer in Denver, CO. At The Sawaya Law Firm, we offer a free, no obligation consultation to review the details of your accident and explain your legal options.