According to data from the Colorado Department of Transportation, 60 people were killed in fatal car accidents in Denver in 2018 alone. Of these fatalities, 29 were the result of crashes involving an impaired driver. Early fatal accident statistics indicate that this number is likely to be even higher in 2019, with 40 deaths already recorded through August. Fatal crashes in Colorado have been steadily rising over the past decade, jumping from 407 in 2011 to 588 in 2018.
Every day, car wrecks occur as thousands of people commute throughout the Denver area. One reason is that Denver is a major hub intersecting thousands of roadways. Interstate 70 running east to west and Interstate 25 running north to south run through Denver and the surrounding counties move tens of thousands of through the city and state every day. US Highways 6, 36, and 285 (Hampden Avenue) are also popular roadways to take when traveling outside the metro area; these too are densely populated highways that present a high level of danger.
Colorado is a “Tort State” for Car Accidents
Colorado changed from being a no-fault car insurance state to a traditional tort system in regards to car accident claims in 2003. Under the original system, drivers would turn to their own insurance companies for compensation after a collision regardless of who was actually at fault for the crash. Only if a person’s injuries reached a certain threshold could they file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. Now, under the tort system, injured parties may file claims against the responsible driver or drivers without limits.
In Colorado, you may seek compensation after a car accident in any of the following ways:
- Filing a claim with your own insurance company
- Filing a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance, or
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
Can I File A Car Accident Claim After Insurance Pays?
Most likely, no. Most insurance companies include in their settlement offers that no additional compensation, beyond the initial settlement amount, can be collected after an agreement is signed. This remains true even if injuries become more serious in the following weeks and months after your accident, as is common with soft tissue injuries often sustained in car accidents. If you have been offered a settlement, or if you have already signed one, call Springer & Steinberg, P.C. today to talk about your case.
Comparative Negligence in Colorado
Fault laws after a car accident are fairly straightforward when only one party is at fault, but it’s true that many accidents can find more than one party at fault, even in the smallest way. Colorado deals with these cases with a rule, called modified comparative negligence” This rule states that an injured party can still file a car accident claim against a negligent party as long as they are 50% or less at fault for causing the accident. Additionally, the percentage of responsibility an injury victim is found to bear will also be deducted from their overall compensation awarded to them. For example, if you are found to be 10% at fault for the accident, the total compensation awarded to you will also be reduced by 10%.