Boulder Car Accident Lawyers
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A BOULDER CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER FOR FREE
Car accidents are perhaps the most common personal injury cases. Though many car accidents may be minor and lead to little or no financial or medical issues, some accidents can be life-changing. In such cases, you may wish to seek an experienced lawyer to help you seek compensation for the alterations to your life.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Boulder car accident lawyers.
What to Do After a Car Accident?
1. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine after a car accident, be sure to go to the hospital or schedule an appointment with a doctor. In many car accident cases, victims may not feel the full extent of their injuries after the accident because of adrenaline. Later on, these victims may feel pain because the adrenaline no longer masks it. If such a victim waits to file a claim against the driver responsible for their injuries after they start feeling pain, rather than immediately after the accident occurred, the driver’s insurance company may argue that the victim is lying or faking his or her injuries because the victim did not immediately go to the hospital to seek treatment. Do not put yourself into this predicament.
2. Document the Accident
When you file a car accident claim, you have the burden of proof to show that the other party was negligent. This means that you must present evidence that the at-fault party was negligent. To prove your case, you must substantiate your claim with evidence. Evidence may include photographs, medical bills, or witness statements.
Document evidence from the scene of the accident. In a car accident, the police will generally write a report of the accident. This report often determines who was at fault. Be sure to get the name, address, license number, plate number, and insurance information from all the drivers involved in the accident.
Witness testimony is often very important in car accident cases. If there were witnesses to the accident, you should also get the names and contact information of the witnesses. If any of the witnesses took photographs or video recordings of the accident, ask them for copies. If you have a camera at the scene of the accident, take some photographs of the scene.
3. Keep Receipts and Invoices
You should document any costs that arise from the car accident. For instance, you should keep records of all your medical bills. If, as a result of the car accident, you cannot work, you should retrieve paystubs or other proof of income to show how much lost wages you incurred.
4. Notify Your Insurance Company
Though you may think that the accident was completely the fault of the other driver, you should contact your insurance company. Your insurance company may be able to give you some relief. When you speak with an insurance company, however, do not admit that you were at fault for the accident.
Common Car Accident Causes
- Drunk driving
- Distractions (texting, talking on the phone, etc.)
Common Car Accident Injuries
- Scrapes and cuts
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Herniated disc
Colorado’s Mandatory Automobile Insurance Law
Colorado requires its drivers to carry liability insurance. Liability insurance covers bodily injury to another person or property damage to another’s vehicle or property when the insured is at fault for an accident. Though drivers have many insurance options to choose from, they must purchase insurance that provides at minimum the following:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident;
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident; and
- $15,000 for property damage in any one accident.
If an individual has over 25 vehicles registered to his or her name, he or she may self-insure his vehicles.
In general, compensation for injuries is divided to compensate for economic and non-economic damages. Economic compensation compensates you for those things that have an objective dollar amount. For instance, if you had to stay at a hospital for several weeks, the resulting hospital bill would be compensated if you are successful in your claim.
Non-economic compensation compensates you for those things that do not have an objective dollar amount, such as pain and suffering. For instance, if after the accident, you suffer from emotional distress, you may be able to receive financial compensation for this as well.
Colorado’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
You should also be aware that Colorado courts use what is called a modified comparative negligence rule when it determines how much compensation a victim may be entitled to. This rule states that if an injured victim was 51% or more at fault for an accident, then he or she may be barred from recovering damages.
However, if the victim is found to be 50% or less at fault for the accident, his or her compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault. For instance, if the jury awarded you $100,000 in compensation but also found that you were 50% at fault, then the actual amount of compensation you may be entitled to would be $50,000.
Negotiating with Insurance Company
Despite what insurance companies may say in their advertisements, their claims adjusters are not trained to give you the most generous offer possible. In general, they will try to lowball you. Therefore, you should not simply accept whatever the insurance company offers you without knowing the value of your claim and talking to a lawyer.
In a negotiation, you will likely get a settlement offer that is less than what you want. Do not simply accept the offer. If you have a claim with merit, you may be willing to go to trial to have a jury decide how much your claim is worth. You may get a better offer if you show that you are confident enough to go to trial. Insurance companies generally do not want to go to trial, as trials are very costly.
Colorado’s Seat Belt Law
Colorado requires drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts while in a vehicle. If a police officer catches you without a seatbelt, then you may be liable for a fine of $65 and a $6 surcharge. Not only must the driver wear a seatbelt, but also any passengers in your vehicle. If an officer finds that a passenger in your vehicle is not wearing a seatbelt, you may still be liable for a fine. Seat belts are not required for individuals who have physical or psychological conditions that prevent them from wearing seat belts.
Statute of Limitations
In Colorado, unlike most personal injury accidents, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit stemming from a car accident.
If you are filing on behalf of a child, however, you have until he or she reaches the age of eighteen to file a claim. Once your child reaches the age of eighteen, he or she has three years to file a claim. For instance, if your child was eleven when he or she received the injury, you and your child will have ten years to file a claim. Note that there are claims that belong specifically to the child, such as pain and suffering, and claims that belong specifically to the parents, such as those for the child’s medical bills. For the latter claims, you must file them within three years of the injury.
Will Not Having Worn a Seatbelt Affect My Claim?
Colorado’s modified comparative negligence rule does not mean that if you were partially at fault for an accident, you are completely ineligible for compensation. Even if your failure to wear a seatbelt led to more serious injuries than had you worn a seatbelt, there are many factors that could show that you were not 51% or more at fault. For instance, if a semi-truck hits your car directly, it is unlikely that wearing a seatbelt would have made a significant difference in your injuries. In those cases, an experienced lawyer may be able to show that you were less than 51% at fault and thus entitled to compensation.
How Much Does a Lawyer Charge After a Car Accident?
How much a lawyer may charge you for his or her services depends on a variety of factors. For instance, if your car accident involved multiple parties, then you may likely pay more than if your car accident involved just your vehicle and one other vehicle.
How Much Do You Get for Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident?
Again, how much money you may be entitled to for pain and suffering depends on a variety of factors, such as whether your injury will cause permanent or temporary paralysis. Speaking to a lawyer about the specifics of your case may provide a more individualized answer.
CONTACT A BOULDER CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
The experienced Boulder attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.