An average of over two million car accidents occur on American roadways each year. In 2020 There were over 83,800 fatality reports due to motor vehicle accidents, and over 1.5 million motor vehicle accidents resulted in injury, according to the latest data.
While car accidents may be a fact of life, you still have legal options and the right to seek the compensation and justice you deserve if you’ve been involved in one. If you or a loved one has suffered severe injuries, work with a catastrophic injury attorney who understands the complexities of your case.
At the law offices of Bachus & Schanker, our team is committed to representing all motor vehicle accident victims, delivering the highest degree of legal representation, and helping you recover the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.
Working alongside our dedicated legal team is our highly specialized Victim’s Advocates Team. The specialized team works with catastrophic injury victims and their families to help them rebuild their life, connect them with critical resources, and help support them through the legal and recovery process.
Get in touch to schedule a free case consultation with our experienced catastrophic injury attorneys today and get legal representation you can count on.
What to do after a major car accident
The moments after a major car wreck are critical. Knowing what to do if you or others are injured is important. Here’s what to know after getting involved in a major car crash.
Alert local law enforcement about the crash and request medical assistance immediately. If someone is severely injured, has been ejected from the vehicle, or is otherwise experiencing serious and life-threatening injuries, offer care if you are able to, but do not move a victim until medical professionals arrive. Only move a victim if the accident site poses an immediate safety risk.
Seek medical care immediately
A majority of car accidents do not result in catastrophic injury; however, that does not minimize their severity. Even if you don’t feel as though you need medical attention, it’s important to still have a medical professional look at you.
Often, car crash victims might not feel any pain or notice any injuries because of the adrenaline rush or shock after an accident. Injuries like strained muscles, whiplash, and even concussions may not be realized until hours or days after the accident. Seeking out medical care at the site of the accident is the best way to ensure you are okay.
Exchange contact information
Ensure that driver information is exchanged in order to begin the auto claims process. Colorado’s at-fault auto law stipulates that if you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, the other driver’s auto insurance will cover your medical expenses and property loss. For this reason, collecting the driver info of the motorist who struck you and all other motorists involved is imperative. Information you should collect includes:
- Name, phone number, mailing address
- Vehicle license plate number
- Insurance company information
- Insurance policy number
Document the scene
Gathering pertinent evidence to support your auto insurance claim following a car wreck is critical. Documentation not only helps strengthen your case but can also help you if you decide to pursue additional legal action like a car accident injury lawsuit.
When documenting the scene, you can gather evidence through photographs, witness statements, and even surveillance footage from nearby businesses.
Who pays for medical bills after a car accident in Colorado?
Your medical bills will quickly mount if you suffer a severe or catastrophic injury. These types of injuries often require additional medical services, including:
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Home health aids
- Ongoing treatment plans
- The use of medical equipment such as a walker, braces, etc.
It’s not just physical treatment car accident victims require either. Often, the trauma of experiencing a severe car crash will require therapy to help you work through the event.
The cost for this comprehensive level of care can quickly rack up. If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, you can hold responsible parties accountable for the cost of your medical care.
What to do after being injured in a car accident
The days after your car accident injury are important not just for your mental and physical health but for your overall case, whether that involves negotiations with the auto insurance company or legal action against negligent parties. Here’s what to do in the days, weeks, and months following your car accident:
Continue medical and mental health care
Keep up with all your hospital and doctor appointments. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, it may also be beneficial to seek mental health counseling so you can process the event. Your mental health recovery is just as important as your physical health recovery.
Document expenses and lost income
Keep an itemized list of all your medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, and other financial losses you’ve incurred. This will help you not only have a detailed account of the economic damages you have sustained because of your injury but will also allow you to build a stronger case against an insurance company and other parties.
How to deal with auto insurance companies after an accident
As an at-fault state, Colorado requires the insurance company of the driver who was at fault to pay the medical bills, property damage, and other financial losses. Because auto insurance companies are in the business of protecting their policyholders and minimizing losses, you should not be surprised if an auto insurance company offers you a low settlement.
When you work with an experienced car injury attorney, you’ll have legal representation who can fight for your rights and justify higher settlement amounts. It’s common for both parties to negotiate to reach a settlement deal that satisfies both the victim and the auto insurance company. A lawyer with strong negotiating skills can help you recover more damages.
Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance adjuster
For the best chance at a successful claim, it’s highly recommended you do not speak to the other driver’s insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters are good at what they do and can turn whatever you say against you to lower your settlement claim.
The best thing to do is to let your auto insurance company communicate on your behalf with the other driver’s auto insurance. An experienced car accident attorney can bolster your claim by ensuring your best interest is kept in mind when an auto insurance company is negotiating on your behalf.
Do not sign anything from another insurance company
It’s equally imperative not to sign anything from the other insurance company either. Anything you agree to in writing or through a verbal statement can be used against you to diminish liability in a claim. This is especially the case if you or a loved one has suffered from a catastrophic injury.
Immediately following your car accident, you may be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company urging you to make a statement or sign documentation. Never sign anything or give a statement without first discussing it with a car accident injury lawyer.
Get in touch with a catastrophic injury attorney
A catastrophic injury attorney thoroughly understands state law, your rights and protections, and policies and procedures following a serious car accident.
At Bachus & Schanker, our Elite Litigation Group comprises highly skilled lawyers with decades of experience supporting catastrophic injury victims and their families. This specialized team of attorneys will ensure your best interest is represented. Speak to an attorney sooner than later and get a thorough understanding of your legal rights and options following a major car accident.
Colorado’s statute of limitations to file an injury claim
Colorado law allows two years for victims to bring forward a personal injury lawsuit. This includes wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits. However, if the injury resulted from an automobile accident, the statute of limitations is extended to three years.
How will my medical expenses and losses be covered?
All drivers in Colorado are required to carry auto insurance. In the event of an accident, a victim will file a claim with the other driver’s auto insurance company. The other driver’s insurance company will then determine how much you are owed following an accident.
Having an experienced car accident injury attorney on your side can help ensure you get the settlement agreement you deserve. If an auto insurance company’s payout does not completely cover your expenses, you may be able to seek additional compensation by filing an automobile car accident personal injury lawsuit.
Colorado’s auto insurance law
Vehicle owners throughout the state of Colorado are required to carry liability insurance. This liability insurance kicks in after an auto accident and covers bodily injury or property damage to the other driver and their vehicle. Like other states, at-fault auto laws are designed to hold individuals responsible for their actions and aim to reduce and penalize being a distracted driver or a drunk driver.
Colorado has minimum coverage requirements, although additional coverage can be purchased for extra protection. Colorado liability insurance requires the following minimum coverage:
- $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
- $15,000 for property damage in any one accident
When to file a car injury lawsuit
If the insurance coverage of the other driver does not completely cover the cost of your medical bills or property damage, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit to cover the gap.
Because a car accident injury lawsuit falls under the greater umbrella of a personal injury, plaintiffs can seek out compensatory damages in the form of economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are designed to restore a victim back to their financial standing following a motor vehicle accident and can include the following damages:
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Medical bills and expenses
- Property damage
- Other calculable losses
Non-economic damages are designed and compensate a victim for incalculable losses. These losses are subjective and vary from case to case. Typically, non-economic damages can include but are not limited to the following:
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Worsening of prior injuries
In certain cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant for their actions. Punitive damages are also meant to deter other defendants from acting in a similar manner.
Colorado’s cap on damages
Like many states, Colorado caps damages a plaintiff can seek in a personal injury lawsuit. Economic damages are not capped, and a victim can recover all losses under this category.
However, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 (plus inflation). Under certain circumstances, non-economic damages can be increased to no more than $500,000 if there is “justification by clear and convincing evidence” or “damages for permanent physical impairment” according to state law C.R.S. 13-21-102.6.
How can an attorney help me after I have been injured in a car accident?
Victims of severe car crashes may find their road to recovery much more exhaustive, lengthy, and expensive than an average car accident victim. If your catastrophic injury involves a party such as a commercial truck, multiple defendants, or a government entity like a city or township, an experienced catastrophic injury attorney can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.
Along with helping you navigate complicated legal avenues, experienced attorneys like the team at Bachus & Schanker have professional negotiation skills to ensure that your best interest is kept at the forefront.
Our injury attorneys have an intimate knowledge of the tactics insurance companies use to minimize the settlement of your claim. You won’t fall victim to these tactics when you work with a team committed to representing you to the fullest extent of the law.
Schedule your free car accident case evaluation
At Bachus & Schanker, our team will work diligently to hold responsible insurance companies and parties involved for your catastrophic car accident injury.
Reach out to our team today to schedule your free case consultation and get the answers and legal expertise you deserve.
CO Rev Stat § 13-80-101. (2018).
C.R.S. 13-21-102.6. (2023).