The most frequently encountered personal injury case arises from an auto accident. A simple auto accident case is one where liability is clear - fault for the accident is not disputed - and the injuries suffered by the people involved are easily identified and staight forward. A complex case may involve a plaintiff with pre-existing medical conditions, little damage to the vehicles, disputes regarding how the accident happened or a wide range of care providers. Few cases fall completely within the simple category, and most require thoughtful analysis, investigation and competent presentation of the damages to gain fair compensation for the victim.
Typically, recovering compensation for those damages, whether they be medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering or permanent impairment, involves an auto insurance company. Auto insurance is required by Colorado law.
Colorado requires all owners and operators to carry "liability insurance". Liability insurance covers the damages suffered by other people, and damages to other people's property, as the result of the owner's, or operator's, own negligence. The minimum level of liability insurance required by law is $25,000 per person per accident, up to a total of $50,000 for all persons injured in the same accident, and $15,000 for property damage. Most consumers will want more protection than these minimums. Higher limits are available from insurance companies at relatively little additional cost.
If you need to make a claim against another driver for negligently causing a car accident, then the damages will be paid from the driver's "liability coverage." Occassionally, when liability or causation of the injuries are disputed, a lawsuit is necessary. Most cases are resolved without litigation, however.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance
The second type of insurance required by law is called "Uninsured Motorist" coverage. "Uninsured Motorist" insurance protects you by allowing you to make a claim against your own insurance carrier if you are injured by a driver who had no "liability" insurance or if your injuries are serious and you have more of this coverage than the at fault person had in liability insurance. "Uninsured Motorist" coverage also provides protection if you are the victim of a "hit-and-run" accident or are struck as a pedestrian. Uninsured Motorist coverage compensates you for the same type of damages that would be payable if the other person had sufficient liability coverage.
Automobile Medical Payments Coverage / Health Insurance
Medical Payments coverage is available in varying amounts and levels of coverage, term and conditions differ by insurance company. This is a voluntary coverage, however most consumers will want some level of this coverage even if they have health insurance. It can be available to cover co-pays and deductibles under health insurance for example. Also, this coverage will provide payment of medical bills of passengers in your car. As a rule, the less health insurance or the less comprehensive health insurance one has, the more consideration should be given for higher Medical Payments protection. Both Medical Payments coverage and health insurance pay for medical costs regardless of fault.