(Click on the question to see answer)
The insurance company is really pushing me to settle quickly; why would they do this?
The “smaller walk-away settlement” is part of the insurance company’s manual on how to pay less to injured people. Insurance companies bet that most victims of Colorado car accidents would rather take a lower payment now than fight against a large corporation for a fair amount to compensate for that victim's injuries. If you are not satisfied with the proposed settlement, if you are not 100% sure that it will cover all your present and future expenses, or if you are not being compensated for your pain and suffering or lost wages, contact our Colorado car accident attorneys for a free consultation.
I have been involved in an accident that was not my fault; can the insurance company raise my rates?
If you are involved in an accident which is not your fault the insurance company cannot raise your rates, refuse to renew, or otherwise hold the accident against you even though you have made claims for no–fault benefits, collision or comprehensive claims, or uninsured motorist claims. You paid a premium to the insurance company to protect you against these types of losses. They spread that risk out over many policies and make a profit for doing so. So long as you are not at fault, a claim does not count as a strike against you in any fashion.
How large an award can I expect?
The main elements influencing the outcome of your claim are:
- The Accident: How did it happen, what were the consequences (injuries, material damage, other losses), who was at fault, and what is the evidence (were there witnesses)?
- The Injuries: Are we talking about soft-tissue injuries? Broken bones? Brain injuries? Objective or permanent injuries? What is the medical history of the claimant, and what are the anticipated medical needs?
- The Impact on Your Life: Pain and suffering, loss of income or opportunities, impairment or disability, etc.
In order to recover for the damages to you, call Anderson Injury Law Firm and speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today to discuss your case.
An uninsured motorist ran a red light and hit my vehicle. Can anything be done despite the fact the other driver is uninsured?
There can be a claim made for medical bills and lost wages, as well other damages. Depending on the coverage you purchased, you may be able to make a property damage claim against your own company. This may include rental car and towing expense. Additionally, there may be uninsured motorist benefits available for your bodily injuries or different types of claims that can be made under the Victims Compensation Fund.
Lastly, even though the driver at fault may initially appear to be uninsured, that is not always the case. Many times drivers do have insurance that covers them such as through the vehicle owner, a resident relative, employer, or in some other fashion that they did not expect. It may also be that the person has insurance, but did not have proof of it on them at the time of the accident.
Before settling my Colorado Springs car accident the insurance adjuster says that I will have to sign “subrogation rights” before being paid my compensation. What does it mean?
It is not unusual for insurance companies to sue the negligent party for amounts much larger than the compensation you recovered. The best way to prevent them from making a profit on your accident is to ask for legal advice before you settle with the insurance company-especially when a large amount is involved, including not just the compensation for material damage but also for expenses resulting from sustained injuries.
If I suddenly have to slam on the brakes, is this monster truck right behind me going to flatten me?
Big trucks not only look dangerous, they are. There are several reasons why trucks, especially very large trucks, can be dangerous:
- Trucking companies putting delivery deadlines and costs control before safety
- Poorly maintained or worn out trucks
- Poorly stowed cargo, shifting or falling during transport
- Untrained or reckless drivers
- Sick or exhausted drivers, driving under the influence or distracted
- Large blind spots and truck maneuvering space
How can I prevent a head-on collision?
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Not paying attention to the road
- Turning the wrong way down a one-way street
- Entering an off-ramp instead of an on-ramp
- Animal or object in the road that makes the driver swerve
In order to minimize a head-on collision from happening to you, you should look far down the road, pay attention, don't text and drive, use your headlights even in the daytime, and pull off the road if you feel sleepy. If you are on a curvy road or a mountain road, it is best to stay on the right side of your lane so oncoming cars don't hit you if they are hugging the centerline.
Even if you have done everything you can to avoid and prevent a head-on crash from happening to you, it could still happen despite your best efforts. If you find yourself in this situation, and an oncoming driver is driving straight into you, try to slow down and go off the road to the right. A one-car crash is typically less fatal than a head-on collision.
If you have been injured in a serious Colorado Springs car accident, you may need ongoing medical care. If you believe the accident was caused due to negligence of others, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, hospital bills, medication, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and lost wages.
I was injured and my car was totaled. What should I know about trucker's insurance companies?
If you have pain and suffering, medical bills, or lost wages as a result of this accident, contact our experienced Colorado Springs and Denver truck accident attorneys for a free legal evaluation to make sure you are getting fair compensation you deserve.
What do we know about large truck crashes?
What might car and truck drivers in Colorado learn from the study?
We'll leave aside what the study calls the "critical events" leading to the crash, i.e. the vehicle action that made the crash unavoidable, like turning or rear-ending. It is more to the point to look at the "critical reasons" of the accident, namely the failures that led to the critical events. The three critical reasons are:
- Driver error
- Vehicle failure
- Environment (weather, road conditions, etc.)
The study further shows that, of all accidents, 87% were caused by the driver, 10% by a vehicle failure, and just 3% by the environment.
Associated factors causing a truck crash: LTCCS makes a careful analysis of the elements leading and contributing to the critical reasons, looking at a wide range of factors that can be associated with the truck involved in the crash. Associated factors could be brake problems or driver fatigue, for instance.
It is important to figure out if a factor is associated more frequently with a truck when it causes the accident than when it does not cause the accident. In the list below, the column "relative risk" shows that trucks that have caused the accident are associated with "traveling too fast" 7.7 times more frequently than trucks not having caused the accident, which means that speeding increases the probability of causing an accident close to 8 times. Had the relative risk ratio been equal to 1, speeding would not have been a factor in causing accidents.
The list also mentions the percentage of associated factors assigned to all the studied truck crashes. Only a few significant associated factors are mentioned hereafter.
- Brake problems – 29% (Relative Risk: 2.7)
- Travelling too fast – 23% (Relative Risk: 7.7)
- Inadequate surveillance – 14% (Relative Risk: 9.3)
- Fatigue – 13% (Relative Risk: 8.0)
- Pressure from employer – 10% (Relative Risk: 4.7)
- Illegal maneuver – 9% (Relative Risk: 26.4)
- Inattention – 9% (Relative Risk: 17.1)
- Following too close – 5% (Relative Risk: 22.6)
Brake problems are present in a large share of the trucks involved in crashes (which is not really reassuring), but are only moderately likely to be the cause of the accident. On the other hand, tailgating is not frequently associated with truck crashes, but when it is, it is almost always associated with the truck having caused the accident.
Who do I sue for damages after colliding with a large truck?
To give the example of a semi-trailer, the tractor often belongs to one company while the trailer is the property of another. Depending on who or what caused the accident and the existence of aggravating circumstances, any one of the following parties could be held liable, to a certain extent, for the damages you suffered:
- The tractor owner
- The trailer owner
- The driver's employer
- A parent company of any of the above
- The driver
- The manufacturer of truck, trailer or parts
- The cargo owner or logistics company
When our car crashed, I took a serious blow on the side of my head. How do I know if I have a concussion?
- Loss of Consciousness (i.e. blacking out)
- Seeing stars
- Short term memory loss
- Long term memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Inability to look at computer screens for long periods of time
- Visual disturbances
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Constantly bumping into things like desks and doors
Concussions symptoms are often involved in other serious medical conditions. For example, a person with a brain bleed may exhibit some of these same symptoms, but a brain bleed requires immediate medical attention to prevent serious long term injury or death. Seek out immediate medical attention if you have any symptom of a brain injury.
Is it necessary to hire an attorney if the insurance company makes us a decent settlement proposal?
There are several reasons why this may not be the case:
- Many injuries have symptoms that only appear gradually and at a later stage. This is often the case with concussions or back and neck injuries, among others. Retinal detachment, for example, can blur the vision after a number of days or weeks, and needs to be treated at once when it is discovered.
- The same reasoning applies to the material damage. Are you sure your car will be repaired within the quoted budget, and that it will be in the same condition as before?
- Some people are not aware of the full medical bills they owe. Hospitals, for example, usually show up in 2-3 separate bills. One from the treating doctors, one from the facility and one from the radiologist (if any imaging was performed). The hospitals will often send their bill to the auto insurance company. It may take months before the hospital receives a rejection from the auto insurance company. When this happens, the hospital will then pursue you directly for the bill.
- Insurance companies always want to settle as quickly as possible. Doing so prevents you, the victim, from claiming additional medical and other costs when the occur.
Do I need to hire a lawyer who specializes in truck accidents to settle this case?
In Colorado and elsewhere, transport companies operate hundreds of trucks and deal with accidents almost daily. Trucking companies and their insurers work hand-in-hand to limit their exposure to claims whose frequency and size could wipe out their profits. Knowledge and firsthand experience of the trucking companies, the FMCSA regulations, and the insurance companies' tactics is essential to a successful claim for just and complete compensation, and this is precisely what a truck-accident attorney like Anderson Injury Law Firm offers.
What is a commercial truck and how would a Colorado car accident be different if it involved a truck?
Because of a truck's large size and heavy weight, a Colorado car accident involving a semi is more severe in nature than an accident involving another car. The basic laws of physics show that due to the difference in size between the two vehicles, a truck-car crash is more likely to result in severe injuries and death.
I was in a Colorado Springs car accident and was hit by an uninsured motorist, what should I do?
If you do not have uninsured motorists coverage included in your insurance policy, you will need to take legal action against the uninsured motorist for your vehicle damage, as well as any personal injury you may have sustained. Our Colorado Springs injury attorneys will be able to answer your questions and help you get the maximum compensation available.
Is a trucker texting ban justified?
Distracted driving is drawing the attention of legislators, research and safety organizations, and a wide range of interest groups. A surge of disastrous accidents caused by driver inattention in Colorado and elsewhere has taken alarming proportions, and the widespread use of hand-held electronic devices by car and truck drivers is clearly the main culprit.
If dialing a number on your cell phone is dangerous, texting and reading is the shortest way to disaster.
A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has shown that for a driver, the key to safely using a phone is keeping the eyes on the road. The study further showed that text messaging had the longest duration of eyes-off-road time (4.6 seconds over a 6 second interval). This equates to a driver traveling the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking at the roadway. The risk of crashing while texting is twenty-three times as high as for non-distracted driving. (source VTTI)
The conclusion is obvious: just like you wouldn't drive with your eyes shut, texting or reading behind the wheel needs to be banned.
A distracted truck driver can inflict devastating damage by running a stop light or rear-ending a car. If you or a loved one have been the victim of such an accident in the Colorado Springs, Pueblo or Denver areas, successfully winning full and just compensation will be an uphill battle. You will have to assess the responsibility of the transport company and the truck driver, collect witness reports, deal with wrongful death or the complex medical issues related to severe injuries, cope with insurance companies' defensive tactics and sneaky claims adjusters, calculate loss of income and long-term medical or disability expenses, evaluate pain and suffering, and much more. We can help you deal with all of these complicated issues. Call Anderson Injury Law Firm today for your free consultation to learn how.
Say I am involved in a car crash in Colorado, and nobody knows yet who is at fault; who pays for the ambulance and emergency care?
All insurance companies are now required to offer Med-Pay at the time of subscription or renewal, and may charge an additional premium depending on the insured limit. Consumers, however, have the opportunity to opt-out in writing confirming that they reject the additional coverage. Do not do this. You will want Med-Pay if you are ever in a motor vehicle accident causing bodily injury.
Motor Vehicle Accident FAQ
Should I sign medical authorization?
When you have been injured in an accident, the insurance company is going to send you a medical authorization. DO NOT sign it. This authorization will make your medical records public and gives them access to sensitive information they have no business having.
How long will my case take?
A successful case takes time. We handle a case the way it should be done from start to finish. The only one that benefits from a fast settlement is the insurance company. If a claim is fast, it is not fair to you. We have to evaluate the claim and your total loses over time to get you full compensation for the other person's bad driving.
Do I need a personal injury lawyer?
If you are injured through the fault of someone else, you may have a bodily injury claim. For this type of claim, a lawyer generally is needed. There is no set schedule or formula for payouts on bodily injury claims. Most people who handle these claims on their own end up obtaining less compensation than they are entitled to. This is because there are no hard–and–fast rules for evaluating the claim. Each case is unique and a combination of many factors goes into properly evaluating the claim.
In a bodily injury claim, a person is dealing with an insurance adjuster who is well–schooled in building goodwill to settle the claim for low dollars. In the long run, an adjuster is evaluated and promoted based upon how little money is paid out on a bodily injury claim. Whether it is "fair" has nothing to do with it. Every dollar the insurance company does not pay to you is a dollar more of profit to the company. It is a one–to–one relationship. Even if you are dealing with the same company as your own insurance company (because the other driver was insured by the same company, or you are making an uninsured motorist claim) odds are you will be better off represented by a lawyer. The adjuster at your company is not evaluated based on whether you are happy, or whether you keep your insurance with the company, but on the amount the insurance company pays out.
How long do I have to bring my claim?
Care must be taken to confirm the statute of limitation that applies to your case. The time for bringing a claim can vary depending on a person's age, mental state, entity against which a claim is brought, type of claim and type of vehicle involved.
For example, a minor's three–year period may not start to run for several years. A person injured in a motorcycle accident may have a two–year limitation period. A death claim has a shorter timetable. A claim against a third party for negligently allowing someone to operate their vehicle may have a two–year limit. Some claims against drunk drivers or claims for punitive damage may have much shorter limits. A claim against a Colorado Governmental entity has a six–month very specific notification requirement. There are other factors that can make the statute of limitations one year.
As you can see, there are many factors that can affect the time limits that apply. You should contact a personal injury lawyer to see what period of limitation exists in your claim. Failure to do so can unknowingly cost the right to pursue your claim.
Will our medical expenses and car repair costs be covered by the truck's insurance?
The limit of the insurance coverage varies with the type of activity of the transport company and can range from $500,000 to $5,000,000. Further requirements may be imposed at the state level.
It is also important to know whether the truck driver was an owner-operator or if he was employed by a transport company. Critical to your claim for compensation are the truck driver's and trucking company's respect of rules and regulations governing operations of commercial vehicles.
Immediately after the accident, steps need to be taken to collect witness reports and verify critical evidence such as the driver's qualification and training, truck log book, cargo weight, etc. You should consult an attorney before settling with the insurance company.
How soon can I get my claim resolved?
Claims for property damage typically get resolved within two weeks, although the actual repair may take longer than that. Most lawyers take no fee for helping resolve the property damage claim if they are also handling the bodily injury claim.
Claims for bodily injury other than death claims usually take much longer to properly handle. Insurance companies often want to settle a bodily injury claim right away, but that is almost always in their interest, not yours. The true value of a non–death bodily injury claim cannot be determined until the extent of injury and recovery is known. Depending on the injury, this is usually between a couple of months and two years. Most lawyers handle this type of claim on a contingent fee for a percent of the recovery. This allows an injured person to be represented and owe nothing for lawyer fees until and unless money is produced.
I came very close to being hit by a car when crossing a street downtown Colorado Springs. The street doesn't have any crosswalks or traffic lights, so I crossed when I felt the coming car had ample time to see me and slow down. This car didn't and simply swerved to avoid killing me. Did I have the right of way?
Right of way laws are a compromise. If every car driver has to slam the brakes when someone bolts into the roadway, chaos will ensue. It is equally unacceptable to have pedestrians walk half a mile to reach a crosswalk, or wait sixty minutes before they can safely cross the street. In this last case, it is obviously for local authorities to correct the situation.
A last point worth mentioning is that drivers who are breaking any traffic law—speeding, driving under the influence or failing to use turn signals—may lose their right of way because pedestrians can't predict their unlawful behavior.
Is walking the most unsafe method of transportation?
According to a NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) study some 4,500 people are killed and 70,000 are injured in car-pedestrian accidents every year in this country. Looking at the average distances covered by all vehicles and by people on foot, the study concludes that whereas 11.4 percent of all traffic deaths are pedestrians, they account for only 8.6 percent of all trips.
My biker friend just got seriously injured riding over a pothole and losing control of his motorcycle. The unsafe road surface was not signaled and impossible to see in the dark. Can he file a claim, and against whom?
Are cyclists in Colorado subject to a special code?
- A cyclist cannot allow himself or herself to be pulled by a motor vehicle;
- Cyclists are required to ride on the right-hand lane when riding at a slower speed than the traffic flow;
- If the right-hand lane is wide enough to allow vehicles to overtake the bicycle, then the cyclist shall ride far enough to the right to allow safe overtaking;
- Using lanes other than the right-hand lane is allowed when preparing for a left turn, to avoid the right-turn lane at an intersection, or when riding on a one-way roadway.
A cyclist will keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times and will not carry more persons at one time than the number for which the bicycle is designed. He or she will obviously yield to pedestrians on a crosswalk.
More details and further rules regarding bicyclists signaling turns, parking of bicycles and sharing of paths and roads with pedestrians can be found in the Colorado Vehicle Code, Statute 42-4-1412.
Slip and Fall/Premises Liability FAQ
Premises liability? Slip and fall? What does this mean?
While some accidents are simply moments of personal clumsiness or carelessness, other accidents should have been prevented and are the result of property owner action. If you think your serious injury could have been prevented if not for the condition of the property you were on, you should immediately discuss your case with an experienced premises liability or slip and fall attorney. It is also very important to take photographs showing the premises and the conditions that existed at the time of the incident.
- While visiting a friend, a Woodland Park man's son is mauled by the property owner's aggressive dog. The boy must undergo reconstructive surgery.
- An elderly Castle Rock man slips on an apartment staircase when a tread buckles, shattering his hip. The apartment management had been aware that the stair's treads were inadequate and unstable, but did nothing to prevent this risk of harm.
- A Fremont County woman falls on the icy walkway outside of a restaurant. The restaurant owner and staff had not sanded, salted, or shoveled the entrance to the establishment, but still wanted customers to cross the walkway into the restaurant.
- A Colorado Springs warehouse store employee is carelessly stocking the upper shelves when a box of products is knocked onto a customer below. The customer suffers a traumatic head injury that includes permanent short-term memory loss.
- A small girl drowns in a Canon City hotel swimming pool that was unsupervised by a lifeguard or other hotel staff.
I had a slip and fall accident at my boyfriend's apartment in Colorado Springs. Can I sue the landlord for knowing about a broken step and not repairing it?
If the accident occurred outside of your boyfriend's apartment, in the public area of the apartment complex, the landlord can be found negligent if he was told about the broken stair and did not do anything to repair it or block it off to caution people. Colorado slip and fall cases can be complex and often require advice and the expertise of an attorney. Beware, the apartment's insurance company will probably look to recover costs. If you were injured, it is your right to seek justice and recovery of damages. Contact an experienced Colorado Springs slip and fall attorney and get answers to your legal questions.
I keep hearing the term slip and fall, what does that mean in Colorado?
Slip and fall cases are difficult to win without the assistance of a knowledgeable Colorado Springs slip and fall attorney. A thorough investigation needs to take place and a proof that the property owner had knowledge of the condition and failed to act is necessary.
Is a dog's owner liable for medical bills if a dog bites someone in Colorado Springs?
Colorado's dog bite statute is very complicated and requires assistance from an experienced Colorado Springs injury attorney. You may be eligible to receive compensation for any disability caused by the attack, medical and hospital bills, or lost wages if the injury prevents you from working.
My daughter was bit by a dog in Colorado Springs and suffered serious injuries. The attack happened on our street by my neighbor's pit bull. Do I have any legal rights?
If your daughter sustained any injuries, seek medical attention immediately and retain all your records. It would be in your best interest to hire an attorney to pursue compensation for her injuries. Contact an experienced Colorado Springs injury attorney today for legal advice.