Colorado tourism is stronger than ever, with approximately 7.7 million visitors having traveled to the state in 2015 alone, spending a record-setting $19.1 billion in connection with their travels. While the positive impact on Colorado's economic fortunes is undeniable, the annual influx of individuals from out of state can create some complicated scenarios when auto accidents involving tourists occur. Securing fair compensation in the aftermath of a car crash can be difficult even in the most straightforward of scenarios, but when a collision happens between a Colorado resident and someone hailing from another state altogether, the process can become far more cumbersome. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal understands the complexities of pursuing injury claims against an out-of-state driver and is ready and willing to guide clients through the steps required to obtain maximum financial recovery.
Colorado's System of Tort-Based Automobile Insurance
Broadly speaking, auto insurance structures fall into one of two main categories, namely, fault-based systems and no-fault systems. A number of states have chosen to implement no-fault insurance, and under such a doctrine, those who are injured in vehicle accidents generally receive medical care benefits and other types of compensation through their own insurance policies, no matter who was to blame for the event. However, Colorado has moved away from no-fault insurance, adopting a tort-based system instead.
Pursuant to Colorado's auto insurance structure, anyone harmed in a car accident who was not determined to be at fault in the collision will need to seek medical expenses and other benefits from the at-fault party's carrier. This can make the process of seeking and securing the resources necessary for recovery a bit more difficult than it would perhaps be under a no-fault system in which assessments of blame are essentially irrelevant to the filing of an insurance claim.
Filing a Claim After an Accident with an Out-Of-State Driver
As a general rule, an accident occurring within Colorado will be handled according to the state's tort-based insurance rules, even if the driver responsible for the harm is a resident of another state that is a no-fault jurisdiction. Thus, the Colorado resident will be required to seek financial compensation from the other party's insurance policy. Because many insurance companies operate in a large number of states, adjusters and claims personnel are typically quite accustomed to analyzing and processing cases involving drivers from different states. Of course, if negotiations with the out-of-state motorist's carrier do not yield sufficient recovery to provide for the losses sustained in the crash, it may be necessary to initiate litigation in order obtain an appropriate award of damages.
Important Jurisdictional Considerations
As mentioned earlier, the national nature of many popular auto insurance companies often ensures that claims filed with regard to accidents involving residents of different states tend to proceed in an orderly, relatively efficient manner. However, if it becomes apparent that a lawsuit will be necessary in order to achieve the true level of compensation to which a victim is entitled, things can quickly become a bit more difficult.
A key question many accident victims have under such circumstances is whether or not they can file suit in Colorado against someone living in another state. In most situations, the answer would be an affirmative one. The reason for this is that in enacting Colo. Rev. Stat § 13-1-124, otherwise known as the Colorado Long-Arm Statute, the legislature made certain that any non-resident may be subjected to the jurisdiction of the state's court system if they commit a tortious act within its borders. It should be noted, however, that even if Colorado jurisdiction is asserted in a lawsuit against an out-of-state driver, proper service of the legal complaint will need to be made at the defendant's residence, regardless of how geographically remote it may be.
Why it is Important for Victims of Out-of-State Drivers to Assert Their Rights
Though the immediate days and weeks following a serious injury accident are often marked by confusion and uncertainty about how to move forward, it is critical that victims not allow themselves to become so paralyzed by doubt that they fail to pursue their right to compensation. While seeking monetary recovery from an out-of-state driver may involve some extra effort, the potentially devastating financial effects of mounting medical bills, therapy costs and other expenses stemming from a car crash make prompt action crucial.
How an Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help Facilitate Recovery
When the unthinkable occurs and you are in a serious accident with an out-of-state driver, there truly is no substitute for knowledgeable legal counsel when it comes to effectively navigating the claims process and, if need be, initiating litigation against the party responsible for your losses. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal understands the critical importance of detailed evidence-gathering, accident analysis, medical records aggregation and other tasks that are fundamental to building an effective case for compensation. In addition, he stands prepared to engage in aggressive negotiations with the out-of-state driver's insurance carrier and, if those discussions do not yield the desired results, set the wheels in motion to effect proper service of a Colorado lawsuit in the at-fault party's home state.
Accident victims who suffer harm at the hands of a negligent driver from another state must never allow ambiguities or concerns about jurisdiction to stand in the way of their right to be made whole for the losses inflicted upon them. By aligning with an injury attorney possessing a track record of successful outcomes for clients facing this precise set of circumstances, it is possible for such individuals to gain real peace of mind and get themselves back on the path to real recovery.
Colorado Injury Accident Advocacy
The prospect of battling for compensation following an injury accident is typically not something victims relish. Some may feel so overwhelmed that they simply raise their hands in resignation, abandoning hope of receiving justice. Jeremy Rosenthal will work tirelessly to simplify the process of pursuing compensation against an out-of-state driver and provide the insights and explanations clients need to make wise decisions about their case. If you or a loved one would like to schedule a no-cost consultation to learn more, contact us at 303.825.2223.