Every state has its own set of statutes that pertain to car accidents. A few states throughout the country adhere to no-fault insurance laws. The majority of states, however, adhere to the tort or “at-fault” system of auto insurance.
What are the differences that separate these two systems? Is Colorado an at-fault state or a no-fault state? What does this mean for you if you are injured in a car accident?
The main objective of no-fault car insurance is to reduce the overall price of insurance. In states that adhere to no-fault auto insurance regulations, drivers are required to file a claim via their own insurance company in order to obtain coverage. They may also obtain personal injury protection compensations that will cover their medical costs and some of their lost wages without requiring them to verify who was at fault for the accident.
Generally, the only time that a driver in a no-fault state is able to file a lawsuit against another driver is when they cross a “serious injury” threshold. These injuries are life-altering like ones that end in lifelong incapacity. Under those circumstances, the injured victim is required to prove negligence on the part of the other driver.
In stark contrast to this, a system of at-fault auto insurance operates on a tort-based system. In states that adhere to this system, drivers typically file via the negligent driver’s insurance to obtain financial compensation. This is the predominant system for car accident claims in America.
For many years, Colorado adhered to the no-fault system of auto insurance. Back in 2003, however, the state switched over to the more ubiquitous tort system.
Deciding which driver was negligent is one of the more difficult aspects of an insurance claim of this nature. Proving fault often demands hard evidence that the other driver was careless.
All motorists are obligated to show other drivers a basic duty of care. This duty demands that drivers behave in a thoughtful manner and with regard to the safety of other drivers. When drivers breach this duty, they are deemed to be negligent.
The idea of negligence is pretty simple to understand. It is, however, a lot harder to actually prove. To prove negligence, you have to present solid evidence that the driver did not behave with reasonable care. This is, of course, an objective measure, so you also have to prove that any other reasonable driver would not have behaved in the same way as the at-fault driver.
For instance, if a person drove a car while they were under the influence or while they were texting and in doing so caused a car accident, that driver was obviously not behaving in a thoughtful manner. What if, however, two sober, very focused drivers crashed while they were both trying to turn at an intersection? In that situation, you might have to confirm which motorist had the right of way and whether or not the other motorist recognized that right.
On top of proving that the other driver behaved carelessly, you will also be required to prove that you sustained physical injuries and that the other driver’s carelessness was the cause of those injuries. If you were not physically harmed during the accident, or if you sustained injuries due to a secondary reason, then you would not be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation.
There are actions you can take immediately following your car crash, at the accident site and after you have gone home, all of which will help to prove which driver was should be held responsible for the accident. Those actions include:
If you or someone you care for has been hurt as the result of someone else’s careless or negligent behavior, then you might be entitled to obtain financial compensation for your losses. You will need a reputable personal injury attorney in your corner.
If you are seeking legal representation for a pending lawsuit and you want an attorney who is esteemed, qualified, and knowledgeable in handling these sorts of injury cases, then the personal injury attorneys at the Injury Victim Law offices are just who you’re looking for.
If you would like a free consultation with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys regarding a case you feel you may have, we are here to help. Please reach out to us by calling (800) 245-2774 to schedule your appointment for your free consultation today.