Being involved in an injury accident is stressful. As your medical bills begin to pile up, it is natural to wonder how you will cover the costs of your medical treatment. If you were not at fault for the accident, you may naturally assume that the other driver’s insurance will kick in and cover your bills. Many people, however, are surprised to find that their own insurance policies can be used to provide payment following the crash.
When you purchase your Colorado car insurance policy, you are offered a choice of various types of coverages. These coverages can prove to be invaluable if you are involved in a serious accident as the other driver’s insurance may be inadequate to cover all of your damages. There are several types of coverages that are available, many of which come standard with the purchase of your policy.
Every state has enacted laws that require drivers to purchase a minimum amount of car insurance. Colorado law requires drivers to have a policy of liability coverage that covers at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This means that if you were hurt in a crash, the other driver’s insurance policy would take effect and will pay you up to $25,000 for your injury claim. This is a minimum coverage limit, however, and drivers can purchase higher amounts of coverage as well.
However, suppose that you had a serious accident and your medical bills alone are in excess of $25,000 In this situation, you can look to your own car insurance policy to make up the difference. In Colorado and all other states, drivers have the option to purchase uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance coverage. Your Colorado UIM coverage will apply when you have been hurt but the other driver’s insurance was not sufficient to pay for your claim. For example, if you had $100,000 of UIM coverage, you could apply these benefits to your claim in order to make up the difference between the value of your case and the amount paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance.
In some cases, motorists fail to carry insurance at all. Although this is illegal, many drivers simply ignore the law and continue driving without insurance. If you have been the victim of an uninsured driver, your uninsured motorist coverage can help you obtain compensation. Under this coverage, you make your claim directly against your insurance company from the beginning. Your policy will then pay you benefits according to its terms.
Many drivers are unaware that their car insurance policy also includes coverage for payment of medical bills. Known simply as “med-pay,” this type of insurance is often available following a crash. Under Colorado law, your insurance agent is required to offer you $5,000 of med-pay coverage at the time you purchase your coverage.
Med-pay is a “no-fault” type of insurance. Regardless of whether you caused the crash, you should be able to submit your medical bills to your insurance company at any time. Upon receipt of the bills, the company will usually send you a check for the total amount of your bills. Due to the nature of med-pay coverage, these claims are often not contested and are quickly resolved by the insurance company. Injured victims are often happily surprised to find out that these benefits are available to them.
Under Colorado law, the purchases of UM/UIM and Med-Pay coverages are not mandatory. However, drivers must also opt-out of these coverages at the time that they obtain or renew their policies. Insurance agents are required to offer UM/UIM coverage in the same amount as the bodily injury coverage under your policy. Therefore, if your policy has $50,000 of bodily injury coverage, your agent is required to offer a UM/UIM rider with $50,000 of benefits. You are then required to sign a written waiver indicating that you wish to opt-out of the coverage if you do not wish to have it.
Similarly, insurers are also required to offer drivers med-pay coverage. Every insurance company in Colorado must offer to provide $5,000 in med-pay benefits to drivers. As with UM/UIM coverage, an insured who does not wish to have med-pay coverage must sign a written waiver clearly indicating the desire to not have med-pay.
If you do not have UM/UIM or med-pay coverages and a crash occurs, the insurance company could be required to provide the documents showing that you have opted out of your coverage. If they are unable to do so, then you may still have the opportunity to be covered under UM/UIM as med-pay benefits.
The law surrounding car insurance is complicated. It is easy to mistakenly believe that you can handle your Colorado personal injury accident claim on your own. However, crash victims who attempt to handle their own claims often end up with a settlement that is far lower than the actual value of their case. Additionally, it is imperative to find each and every policy of insurance that could apply to your case. Failing to do so could cause you to overlook a potential source of recovery. This happens when you are unfamiliar or inexperienced with the laws governing car insurance. A simple mistake in this area could end up costing you thousands of dollars.
At Injury Victim Law, our firm is here for you when you have suffered injuries at the hands of a negligent driver. Our Colorado car accident lawyers strongly believe that all crash victims should receive full compensation for their injuries. We will work tirelessly to ensure that you have the best possible representation and that your case result reflects what your claim is worth. Our team has the skills and experience needed to deal with the insurance company and fight for your legal rights.
We offer free consultations to all potential clients. It is important to speak with an experienced attorney right away before you attempt to deal with the insurance company yourself. To schedule your time to meet, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.