At least 13% of Colorado drivers are uninsured and even more than that are considered underinsured. While you may think that your chances of being in an accident with one of these people is low, these crashes happen all the time. Here’s what you can expect if you’ve been in an accident with a driver who doesn’t carry insurance or who doesn’t have enough coverage.

Call the Police

You may want to call the police no matter what, but you should definitely do so if you find out that the other party in your accident doesn’t have insurance. The police will document this fact and get the process started for legal proceedings against the uninsured driver. Since driving without insurance is illegal in Colorado, they will face consequences for their actions.

Call Your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company like you would normally do after an accident. Let them know that the other driver wasn’t insured, didn’t have enough insurance, or couldn’t prove it either way. This allows them to take on the investigation to find out who is responsible for paying your damages from the accident.

Contact a Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer or a car accident attorney has experience dealing with cases like these. These claims get especially complicated when dealing with an uninsured or under insured driver. Your auto accident lawyer will make sure that you get what you are entitled to so you don’t experience out-of-pocket losses over an accident that wasn’t your fault.

Track Your Expenses

If you spend any money on medical or auto repair/replacement costs after the accident, make sure you note these down. Keeping track of these can help you make sure that you get all of your costs covered. Contact your lawyer about these expenses to find out the best way to track them and what you need to keep to prove that they were related to the accident.

Oftentimes, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Denver Colorado and the way in which it applies to motor vehicle claims are an unknown and confusing aspect of insurance policies. Today’s article will answer some common questions regarding UM and UIM coverage.

So what exactly is UM and UIM Coverage? Colorado law requires every automobile owner in Colorado to maintain insurance on their vehicle. However, this does not necessarily mean that every individual follows that legal requirement. If a person does not have car insurance and causes a motor vehicle accident they will be deemed “Uninsured Motorists.” Furthermore, if the driver who caused an accident is insured, but does not have enough coverage to pay for all of the injuries caused in the accident they are deemed an “Under-Insured Motorist.”

Now that we have discussed the basic definitions of an uninsured and underinsured driver, what happens if you are injured by an Uninsured or Under-Insured driver? If you carry UM or UIM coverage on your personal auto insurance policy, you can utilize that coverage in a situation where the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, or does not have enough insurance.

In Colorado, unlike many states, insurance companies are required to sell Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance as part of every policy sold unless the coverage is specifically refused in writing. UM/UIM coverage “steps into the shoes” of the at-fault driver and pays you the same kind of damages you could have recovered from the at-fault driver’s insurance had the driver been insured.

If you have rejected UM/UIM coverage on your personal policy you should always check the policies of people who you are living with. UM/UIM insurance coverage may be available to pay your claim if any resident in your household owns a car that has UM/UIM coverage regardless of whether you were occupying the car at the time of the accident. In fact, your uninsured motorist coverage will even cover you if you are a pedestrian or bicycle rider hit by an uninsured or under insured driver.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident by an individual who is uninsured or under-insured, you have a right to make a claim through your personal auto policy under your UM/UIM coverage clause. If your insurance company refuses to promptly and/or fairly pay your claim you may have grounds to file a bad faith insurance action against them. Your insurance company may be acting in “Bad Faith” if they fail to:

  • Promptly investigate your claim
  • Promptly pay your claim
  • Communicate regularly with you regarding the status of your claim
  • Promptly pay you any undisputed portion of claim
  • Provide a prompt and reasonable explanation of any claim denial or offer compromise settlement

If your insurance company has acted in bad faith on your claim you may also be entitled to interest on those benefits, attorney fees, costs of filing a lawsuit against the insurance company, punitive damages (damages designed to punish the insurance company for their wrongful behavior), and other damages.

Many people who suffer personal injuries in car accidents hesitate to call to get legal counsel. After seeking immediate medical care, your personal injury lawyer in Denver Colorado should explore all available insurance coverage. If you’re not at fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance should cover your losses. But what if your injury is so serious the other insurance can’t cover all of the bills or the other driver failed to maintain insurance coverage?

Liability insurance is important because you don’t want to be fined or ticketed for failing to have insurance at the scene of an accident you caused. But shouldn’t the other person’s insurance cover everything if you suffer an injury as a result of an auto accident? No, not necessarily.

When you find a personal injury attorney, he or she can help you with specifics of your case and work with insurance companies to make sure you have the time to get the medical care you need. However, if you waived Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist insurance and the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover your costs, you might end up with unpaid medical bills, unresolved injuries, and nowhere to turn for help.