Why Car Insurance Is So Important in a Vehicle Crash
You cannot trust other drivers. It is a sad but true fact of life in the United States. You cannot tell when another driver has been drinking, is sleep-deprived, or is distracted and about to ram into you from behind. You also cannot tell whether another driver has insurance to cover your hospital bills and repairs in the event of a serious crash.
For those reasons alone, you should purchase ample coverage on your own auto policy. We at Leventhal & Puga, P.C., have seen too many innocent people, hurt by others, who were left with little to no recourse due to a lack of insurance on both parts.
Also, it’s the law. You cannot own or operate a motor vehicle in Colorado (indeed, in most states, save Arizona, Virginia, and New Hampshire) without a minimum amount of insurance. The most important coverage is liability insurance – the type that goes to pay for other people’s injuries and property damage if you are at fault for a crash. This protects you from being sued directly and losing your personal assets and property to the victim, who is owed that cost to make him or herself whole again.
However, we recommend you have more than the minimum. And sometimes, that you call a Denver car crash attorney right away. Here’s why.
The Other Driver’s Insurance
If you are struck by another driver who does have insurance, the money is there – but that does not necessarily make getting it much easier. Insurance companies have a vested interest in finding their client “not at fault” for every collision, because this pushes the burden of coverage back on you. While you are contesting the insurance company’s denials, your bills are not being paid. Working with an established law firm, like Leventhal & Puga, P.C., may help you find alternative ways to get medical treatment while your case is pending, and take the burden of battling the red tape off your shoulders.
For non-commercial/passenger vehicles, Colorado law requires these minimums for liability insurance:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per crash for bodily injury to two or more people
- $15,000 per crash for damage to the vehicle and property inside it
As we shall discuss below, these minimums are hardly enough to cover serious injuries like brain or spinal trauma, traumatic amputation, burns, or even severely fractured bones. But some drivers do carry more insurance while traveling through Colorado.
Commercial trucks, for instance, generally carry insurance policies that range between $750,000 to several million dollars in liability benefits. But they are loathe to pay one penny of that money to crash victims. In our experience, trucking company insurers rush in to shield themselves from liability. They have “accident investigators” who can make it to the site before law enforcement and “fix” the scene. They falsify logbooks and obfuscate black box data.
If you ever get involved in a collision with a big rig, delivery truck, or another commercial vehicle, call a trucking crash injury lawyer right away. These cases require immediate and aggressive action.
Your Own Insurance
Colorado has an estimated 16% population of uninsured drivers – among the highest in the nation, and expected to grow higher. “We’re concerned as Colorado is ranked highest in the nation for rising auto insurance rates that, that contributes to people cutting corners on insurance,” reported Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. For that rise in rates, what value do Coloradans get? More uninsured and underinsured drivers. Yet, having your own auto insurance policy, rising rates or not, is ever more vital in this situation. Especially uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits.
Colorado requires the following minimum amount of UM/UIM motorist coverage, unless waived in writing by the policyholder:
- $25,000 per person
- $50,000 per crash
UM/UIM should kick in when you are struck by another driver who is either uninsured or who does not have enough insurance to pay for your crash-related bills. Your benefits should cover the difference between your actual bills and what that driver’s insurance can pay, up to your policy limits. The more you have to work with, the better. For example, our law firm has seen that a severely broken leg by itself can cost over $30,000 to treat. If the other driver has Colorado’s minimum liability insurance, your shattered tibia and fibula have already maxed it out. What about your other injuries and hospital costs? What about your lost wages?
In short, the more UM/UIM coverage the better. We hope you never have to use it, but the protection should be there just in case.
The Role of an Attorney
Insurance companies do not always deal with their clients in good faith. In fact, they rarely offer the full and fair amount for your crash-related compensation without considerable negotiation and persistence. If you are writing letters and calling adjusters and following up by yourself, while trying to heal from a devastating injury, the insurer knows it can wear you down as you grow increasingly desperate. However, if you work with a personal injury firm, the insurance company knows it cannot employ “delay, deny, and defend” tactics successfully. It knows the nationally acclaimed trial attorneys at Leventhal & Puga, P.C., are ready and willing to go to court and tell your story to a jury. It knows how bad that will look in the newspapers. For that reason, insurers tend to settle more quickly and fully when you “lawyer up.”
We represent clients with serious claims and catastrophic injuries, or claims in which an insurance company is acting in bad faith by refusing to deal with you in a reasonable and fair manner. That’s when you call our Denver office. And we go to work to uncover the evidence to prove your case.
Though this article dealt with insurance coverage in Colorado, where our law firm is located, our trial lawyers are licensed in many states and do handle cases across the United States. If you have questions after a serious collision, please do not hesitate to call Leventhal & Puga, P.C., for a free initial consultation. We can be reached at toll-free (877) 433-3906.