Statutes Designed to Keep Your Claim on Track
Our state has various laws that apply to personal injury cases, so if you’ve been injured in an accident in Colorado due to another person’s negligence, these rules will likely apply to your claim.
Insurance Coverage Laws
Colorado drivers are required to carry liability insurance in the following amounts (minimum):
- $25,000 bodily injury or death per person.
- $50,000 bodily injury or death per accident.
- $15,000 property damage per accident.
Motorists can also buy optional coverage in Colorado, including uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage for losses caused by a hit and run driver, those who don’t have automobile insurance, or those who don’t carry a sufficient amount of coverage to pay for the damages. Under current law, all Colorado insurers must provide UM/UIM coverage in an amount equal to the insured’s level of liability coverage for bodily injury, although the policyholder can reject this coverage as long as the waiver is done in writing.
Another option is to buy medical payments coverage, which will pay medical expenses, co-pays, and deductibles for the driver as well as passengers, regardless of fault. Insurers are not required to offer medical payments coverage in the state.
Colorado’s Comparative Fault Laws
Colorado has been a “fault” insurance state since 2003, so if you want to receive compensation for an injury, you’ll need to file a claim with an insurance company and/or file a lawsuit in court. Colorado is also a modified comparative fault state, meaning that your damages will be decreased by the amount of your own relative fault. As long as your fault is less than 50 percent, you will still be able to collect compensation; if your fault is determined to be 50 percent or more, you will likely be prevented from collecting damages.
Family Car Doctrine
Colorado parents can be held liable for accidents and injuries occurring when their children are driving a family vehicle. Under the family car doctrine, if the parent shares a household with a child that is of driving age and that child causes a collision in a family automobile, the parent can be held legally responsible for the harm that results. This principle does not apply in situations involving a self-supporting adult child who lives outside the household.
Non-Economic Damage Caps
Colorado limits the amount of non-economic damages available to an injured person. Non-economic damages typically include pain and suffering and other harms that can be difficult to put a monetary value on. In 1986, Colorado capped non-economic damages at $250,000, up to $500,000 if “clear and convincing evidence” exists to justify the higher amount, for accidents occurring before January 1, 1998, although the law allows adjustments for inflation. There is no cap on non-economic damages for victims who sustained a permanent injury.
Statute of Limitations for Filing Claims
Like all states, Colorado has its own specific deadlines for filing a personal injury claim in court. According to state law, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit involving an injury. However, in some circumstances, an injured person may not immediately know that they have sustained an injury; in these situations, the two-year time limit will begin to run from the date the injury was discovered, instead of the date it was actually suffered.
If you were injured in an auto accident in Colorado, contact accident attorney Dan Rosen at (303) 454-8000 for a free consultation to discuss your case.