Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Auto Accidents

The following are common questions asked by clients who have been in an auto accident, but many questions apply to all personal injury claims.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What should I do after a car accident?

A: As soon as possible after the auto accident, you should photograph any visible injuries (i.e. cuts, bruises, broken bones, etc.). Before repairing your car, photograph the damage from all angles. Provide your attorneys with the prints (and negatives) of all photographs pertaining to your claim.

Consult a Fort Collins auto accident attorney to determine who is responsible for payment of your medical bills. Your medical bills could be processed through the other driver’s insurance company, your auto insurance policy, or through your group health insurance. Be aware that most health insurance policies require reimbursement of any medical expenses they paid upon settlement of your claim.

Keep accurate records of your lost time and wages from work as a result of your auto accident. This information will assist your attorney in determining the value of your claim.

Before you repair the damage to your car, contact your Fort Collins personal injury attorney. Generally, your insurance company will pay to have your car repaired or pay you the value of the vehicle if it is a total loss. If it is determined that you are not at fault for the accident, your insurance company will seek reimbursement for medical bills from the driver at fault. Your attorney will explain the best way to have your car replaced or your total loss adjusted.

Q: What if the accident was partially my fault and partially someone else’s?

A: You can receive compensation even if you were partly at fault. The amount of the other person’s responsibility is determined by comparing his or her negligence with yours. So long as you are less than 50% at fault, you can recover for your injuries to the extent of the other party’s negligence. For example, if the other party is 70% at fault and you have injuries and damages totaling $100,000, you can recover up to $70,000. This is known as comparative negligence.

Q: I was hurt in an accident and it was not my fault. Who will pay my medical expenses?

A: Since the lapse of no-fault in Colorado, you are responsible for your own medical expenses from an auto accident—until you get compensated by the other driver’s insurance company. Many people have medical payments coverage through their own auto insurance. Others have health insurance, which will pay their medical bills. If you don’t have either of these, you may be able to arrange for your doctors to be paid through a medical lien. They will get reimbursed with once your case is resolved. We can help with that process.

Q: Who is responsible for reimbursing me for time I’m missing from work?

A:The person who is at fault for the accident is responsible for your lost wages. Since Colorado is an at fault State, those lost wages, your medical bills, your pain and suffering, and your loss of enjoyment of life are all covered by the at fault party’s insurance. The sooner you initiate your claim, the sooner you get paid back by the other driver’s insurance company.

Q: The person that hit me has no insurance. Is there any way for me to recover?

A:Over 30% of Colorado drivers are uninsured. This means there is a good chance the at-fault driver in an accident will be uninsured. In these cases, you can usually collect from your own insurance under your uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage if you have it. Fortunately, most auto insurance policies are sold with this coverage.

Q: The person that hit me has only the minimum insurance limits. Is there anything else I can do to receive reimbursement for all of my losses?

A: In Colorado, the minimum liability coverage a driver must carry is $25,000 per person, $50,000 per incident. Just a few days in the hospital can eat up this amount. The good news is that you can recover from your own UM/UIM coverage, again if you have it. For example, if the at-fault driver pays you the minimum $25,000 for your injuries and you have $50,000 in UM/UIM coverage from your own policy, you can collect another 50,000 from your own insurance company.

Q: How long does it take to settle a case?

A: The length of time it takes to settle a case depends on a variety of factors. These factors include the nature and severity of the injuries, the course of treatment, when you submit your claim (through an attorney or on your own), and whether it’s clear the other party is at fault. Also, there are many factors unique to each case. On average, cases settle within 6 months to a year.

Q: Will my case go to trial, or will it settle?

A: Most cases are settled without the need to set foot in a courtroom. Our attorneys and staff have extensive experience presenting cases to insurance adjusters and mediators before the need for an expensive trial. The idea is to let the adjuster or mediator know that the case is not one they want to go to trial but that the injured party’s attorney is ready and willing to take the case to court.

Q: How long do I have to make a claim?

A: Claims are limited by the Colorado Statute of Limitations and vary from case to case. For automobile accidents this is usually three years and for other injuries this is usually two years. However, there are situations when shorter time limits apply.

Q: Should I give the insurance company a recorded statement or sign papers they send me?

A: Although you are required to cooperate with your insurance company, we generally recommend that you do not agree to a recorded statement or sign release forms from the other driver’s insurance company.

Q: Should I negotiate with adjusters myself?

A: There are times when we would advise a client to negotiate themselves, but generally the client is better served having an attorney handle the negotiations. Insurance adjusters are usually experienced professionals working for the insurance company’s best interest.

Q: How long should I wait to consult an attorney?

A: It is always best to consult an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Sometimes an attorney may advise you to wait until you know the extent of your injuries, but sometimes they may want to see you right away.

Q: Can I get a rental car?

A: If the at fault party has insurance then their insurance company will usually cover the use of a rental car for a reasonable period of time.

Q: Will I have to go to trial?

A: The vast majority of cases are settled without going to trial. It may be necessary to file a lawsuit, but usually the cases settle before going to trial.

Q: How does my lawyer get paid for handling my case?

A: Unless other arrangements are specifically made with our clients, fees and litigation expenses are handled as follows:

  • Payments for legal fees are computed as a percentage of the total cash recovery you obtain.
  • If no cash recovery is obtained, you owe us nothing. However, certain costs, such as previous medical expenses, remain your responsibility

At The Malman Law Firm we have been helping clients injured in auto accidents for over 38 years. We can assist you with legal representation in your claim for compensation and fight for a resolution that has your best interest in mind. For help with your auto accident claim or other personal injury case, please  contact the Malman Law Firm today. We’re here to help. Because we work on a contingency basis, you won’t have to pay for our representation until you have been compensated.