After a car accident, the first step toward recovering your losses is typically to file an insurance claim. In a fault-based state like Colorado, every driver must purchase and maintain auto insurance coverage that meets state minimum requirements. In Colorado, those minimums are $25,000 or more in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person in an accident, $50,000 or more in bodily injury liability coverage for all victims of an accident, and $15,000 or more in property damage liability coverage.
While these minimum amounts may sound generous, the reality is that many people who suffer serious injuries and extensive losses from negligent car accidents cannot recover the full amount of their loss through an insurance claim alone. Additionally, an at-fault driver may contest their liability or attempt to cast blame for the accident on the victim.
While an insurance claim may not fully cover your losses after a car accident, it is still vital to understand the insurance claim process and what to expect if you need to file a claim against a negligent driver’s insurance policy. A successful insurance claim can also play a role in a future personal injury case if your situation demands further action.
First Steps in Filing an Insurance Claim for a Car Accident
If you have been injured by another driver, any evidence you can secure from the scene of the accident could support your insurance claim. It could also assist you in future legal action against the negligent driver responsible for your accident. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, your injuries, the vehicles’ positions after the accident, and nearby landmarks if you can do so safely after the accident.
In Colorado, drivers must report all crashes that result in injuries or significant property damage. If you are unsure whether an accident qualifies for a call to the police, it is always best to err on the side of caution and report the accident. This creates a record that you were proactive about the situation and will generate a police report that may assist you in your insurance claim or future legal claim.
Before filing your claim, it is essential to have as much documentation as possible to send along with your claim. It’s also important to review your own insurance policy to determine your reporting obligations to your own insurance carrier; failing to report an accident, even one that was not your fault, can pose serious problems with your own auto insurance coverage.
Interacting With Insurance Companies
Hiring an attorney to assist with your car accident insurance claim is a good idea. Once an insurance company recognizes that you have retained legal representation for your insurance claim, there is a far lower chance for the insurance company to push back against your legitimate claim. Insurance companies lose money when they pay out on policies, so they generally look for any justification they can find to reduce or deny a claim. If you have an attorney assist you with your initial claim letter, your legal representative will ensure it is as complete and accurate as possible and includes all necessary supplemental documentation.
An insurance claim adjuster will investigate your claim after filing. Every insurance carrier must have a process for investigating and handling claims made against their policies. It’s important to know how to approach your conversations with insurance claim adjusters. It’s typically best to have your attorney communicate with an insurance company on your behalf. The golden rule of speaking with an insurance agent is never to say anything that may implicate you as responsible for your damages or anything that indicates your claim is not as severe as you have reported. Your attorney can provide more specific guidance for navigating interactions with insurance company representatives.
What to Do About Bad Faith Insurance Practices
If you have suffered damages due to a negligent Colorado driver, you have the right to file an insurance claim against their auto insurance policy under Colorado’s fault-based system. Insurance company employees have a legal duty to process every claim in good faith, meaning they must execute payouts faithfully if a claim is legitimate. If an insurance agent lies, misrepresents key aspects of a policy, or attempts to delay a claim intentionally to coerce a claimant into accepting a lower payout than they legally deserve, call an attorney immediately. This is bad faith practice and illegal.
Your attorney can help you determine the best approach to a difficult insurance claim adjuster. Hiring an experienced Denver car accident lawyer can minimize the chances of experiencing pushback in the first place, and your legal representative can provide additional guidance and support if an insurance company is uncooperative or acts in bad faith. If you have recently experienced a car accident and have experienced undue resistance from an insurance company for your legitimate claim, contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal today. Speak with an experienced car accident attorney and learn more about your options for legal recourse.