Compounding Headaches: Uninsured Motorists, Accidents & Statutes of Limitations
Everyone is supposed to carry a minimum amount of personal liability protection to help pay for the costs of medical care and lost wages in the case of auto accidents. Unfortunately, even with the $25,000 individual /$50,000 requirement Colorado expects from drivers, this is still not enough to cover many costs involved in a car crash with injuries. Moreover, that doesn't mean that everyone will maintain their insurance policies. That's why a number of insurance carriers offer underinsured and uninsured motorist (UIM/UM) coverage. If only it was that easy.
Why Is This Different Than a Normal Accident Claim?
If you are involved in a car accident in Colorado, you usually seek damages from the motorist at fault in the accident and then their insurance carrier. As long as the amount of damages is less than their coverage, there's no issue. Unfortunately, if you would be otherwise awarded more money, then you need to file a UIM/UM claim. As with any other legal claim, there is generally a two-year limitation on when you can file. Two years from when?
Colorado State Courts' View on the Situation
In order to file a claim against your own insurance carrier to pay these benefits, you first have to establish that you could not get the money from elsewhere, namely the other driver. That can take time to determine including documentation from this company. Yet in Colorado, the extra effort is irrelevant. Instead, the courts have held that the underlying issue is the tort claim against the driver who can't pay up. So you only have two years from the date of the accident which makes time an even more critical factor.
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Where This Differs in Other States
Nearly two dozen states side with the policy holder in these sorts of claims. They hold that people injured in auto accidents who are residents of other states cannot immediately prove a negative, that the other motorist has insufficient coverage for their injuries. Minnesota's Supreme Court was the latest to agree with this jurisprudence. They decided that the issue was not the other driver's lack of coverage but rather your insurance company's need to pay you.
Takeaway: Start Fast with Your Accident Claim!
You may need to spend time in the hospital or in rehab before you even think about consulting with a Colorado auto accident attorney. Yet in order to get the damages that your case merits, it is vital to get the facts of your case sorted as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could lose out on your UM/UIM benefits.
Getting Help with Your Colorado Uninsured Motorist Accident Case
If you've been in an car crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver, finding the money to pay for your pain and suffering can be difficult. Medical bills might pile up and lost income could make bills tough to pay without money coming from their insurer. Learn more about your legal rights: Get a free consultation with an Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn personal injury attorneys today. Call 303-782- 9999 or use the easy case evaluation form to your right for a confidential review of the facts of your potential case. We look forward to helping you get the best possible outcome.