Police bike pulled up to a car accident scene at night

Injured in an Auto Accident? Here's What You Should Know

Scott P. Landry Aug. 21, 2020

Being involved in an accident can be a painful and overwhelming experience. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), in 2018, there were about 121,922 motor-vehicle crashes and 632 fatalities in the state. If you were injured in an auto accident caused by someone else's carelessness, you are within your rights to recover damages or pursue compensation for your injuries.

At Landry Law, P.C., we can offer you experienced legal guidance and educate you on what you should know after an auto accident. We can fight passionately to protect your rights and help you recover your rightful compensation for your injuries, damages, lost income, pain, and suffering. Call us for a free consultation. We proudly represent clients throughout Lone Tree, Denver, Douglas County, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, and Trinidad in Las Animas County, Colorado.

Steps to Take After an Auto Accident

The moments after a car crash can be confusing to sort through. However, the next steps you take can affect the outcome of your personal injury claim. Where possible, you should do the following:

Safety Check: Ensure that all passengers and drivers involved in the auto crash are safe and out of harm's way. If you fail to stop, the accident may be classified as a hit-and-run (CRS 42-4-1601).

Seek Adequate Medical Care: Car accident victims are usually in shock and may not feel the full extent of their injuries right away. Call 911 to get immediate medical help for yourself or other victims. A medical professional is always in the best position to determine your condition and offer medical assistance and prognosis.

Report to Law Enforcement: Colorado Revised Statutes Title 42-4-1606 requires drivers involved in an auto crash to report any accident that causes injury, serious bodily injury, death, or property damage. You must report to the nearest law enforcement agency or file an online report. Failure to do so is considered a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense, carrying fines of up to $300, up to 90 days jail time, or both.

Return to the Scene: If you leave the scene to report to the nearest police agency, you must immediately return and remain at the scene while waiting for the police to arrive (CRS 42-4-1606(1)).

Gather Necessary Information and Documentation: Ensure that you exchange information with the other driver. Also, gather necessary information such as the police report, accident scene photos, and witness statements. You also need to document your personal account of what happened, medical costs, medical treatments, and doctor's appointments.

Notify Insurance Provider: Notify your insurer about the auto crash. Some insurance companies require you to notify them within a few days of the accident.

Hire a Lawyer: Hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you file insurance claims or negotiate a fair financial settlement with the insurance company.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a state law that sets a time limit on the right of an accident victim to file a lawsuit. According to Colorado law, an injury claim arising from any type of auto accident must be filed within three years of the accident occurring.

Auto Insurance Requirements in Colorado

Motor vehicle owners in Colorado are required to carry liability insurance with a minimum coverage of:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person in an accident

  • $50,000 for bodily injury to all persons in an accident

  • $15,000 for property damage in an accident.

Comparative Negligence in Colorado Car Accident Cases

In determining awarded damages, Colorado uses a modified form of comparative negligence meaning that a plaintiff forfeits any compensation if they are found to be 50% or more responsible for the accident. According to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-21-111, a plaintiff can recover damages against the other driver in a personal injury lawsuit if the other driver was more at fault, however, the recoverable damages will be reduced depending on your share of liability.

For example, if your total compensation was $20,000, and the at-fault driver was found to be 85% at fault for the accident, you will only receive $17,000. Your compensation will be reduced by 15%.

Potential Pitfalls

Filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit can be complex and not taking the proper steps may result in not receiving fair compensation. In order to avoid potential pitfalls, injured parties should take the following steps:

  • Do not sue an uninsured at-fault driver. Rather, you can file an uninsured driver's claims with your insurer.

  • Before you accept a settlement offer, let an attorney help you assess all the accident costs and damages.

  • Ensure that medical costs are final and include future medical treatments.

  • Don't accept the first settlement offer. Let an experienced personal injury attorney help you pursue rightful compensation.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Hiring a knowledgeable auto accident attorney is crucial to protecting your rights and pursuing fair compensation for your injuries. At Landry Law, P.C., we are well-experienced in the nuances of Colorado personal injury law. As your legal counsel, we can help you with the following:

  • Fight to protect your rights and represent your interests

  • Provide a detailed case review

  • Carry out a comprehensive investigation

  • Gather all necessary information, pieces of evidence and documentation

  • Prove fault and estimate case-value

  • Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer

  • File a personal injury lawsuit, where appropriate

If you were hurt in a negligent auto accident, you are within your rights to pursue compensation. Call the Landry Law, P.C. today to schedule a free one-on-one consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout Lone Tree, Douglas County, Denver, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Trinidad in Las Animas County, Colorado.