Grand Junction Uninsured Motorist Accident Attorneys
Auto insurance can be lifesaving when you find yourself the victim of a car accident. If the at-fault driver has a high enough policy, you may not have to pay a dime for your property damage or hospital bills. In fact, you may even be able to walk away with some money in your pocket for your pain and suffering. But what do you do if the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is too low to cover your costs? What do you do if they don’t have insurance at all?
At Peters & Nolan, LLC, our Grand Junction uninsured motorist attorneys understand the shock and horror you may be feeling at the thought of covering the costs of your injuries and car damage out of pocket. Few of us have that kind of money sitting around. But you shouldn’t lose hope. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to find compensation in areas you never thought to look. Call our firm at (970) 243-4357 to learn how in a no-cost consultation.
When you find yourself the victim of a negligent driver, you can at least breath a sigh of relief knowing that their insurance will cover the costs of the damages caused. So, you exchange information with the at-fault driver, as you were always taught to, but when you begin to file your claim, you realize that the driver’s policy is expired.
That is a horrific reality that many Coloradans face every day. While most states – Colorado included – legally require drivers to have auto insurance, not everyone complies. When a person doesn’t have the required insurance, they are considered an uninsured motorist (UM). Drivers who flee the scene of an accident in a hit-and-run are also considered uninsured motorists, as you will not have an insurance provider to file a claim with. However, it also applies to “phantom drivers,” or drivers who never actually hit your car but caused your accident. For example, if a truck driver does not check their blind spot and merges into your lane, you may be forced off the road. Even though they did not technically hit you, that driver would be considered an uninsured motorist under Colorado insurance laws.
On the other hand, drivers who have followed the law and gotten auto insurance, but have very low policy caps, are considered underinsured motorists (UIM). While these drivers can offer you at least some coverage following an accident, their policies cannot cover all of your damages, meaning that you may be stuck paying out of pocket for an accident that wasn’t your fault.
Thankfully, UM/UIM insurance policies are readily available in Colorado. With a UM/UIM policy, you can turn to your own insurance provider in order to get the coverage you need to recover finically. A UM/UIM policy often mirrors your own auto insurance policy, so if you have $50,000 in bodily injury coverage, then you will likely be able to receive that much in compensation from your UM/UIM policy.
In Colorado, all drivers are required to have auto liability insurance. This helps to ensure that anytime a motorist in Colorado is in an accident that everyone can have their costs sufficiently covered. In Colorado, drivers are expected to have at least:
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
- $15,000 in property damage coverage
Just because that is the minimum, however, does not mean that it is a sufficient policy. Accidents, especially high impact ones, often require far more compensation than the minimal policy allows. For example, if you suffered a spinal injury as a result of your accident, you will need surgeries, physical therapy, and countless medications to heal. That could easily cost you in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is why making sure that you also have a UM/UIM policy is so important.
Unfortunately, Colorado law does not require UM/UIM policies, but insurance companies are required to offer it to drivers, and you can only reject this coverage in writing. If you did not sign such a rejection letter, then you likely are covered in the event that you end up in an accident with an uninsured or uninsured driver. If you are unsure whether you have a UM/UIM policy, then you should contact your insurance provider and ask. It is very possible that the policy is included in your insurance plan, even if you don’t realize it.
When you file with your own insurance company to get compensation for your accident, the damages you can recover mirror those if the damages that you can recover from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. There are two main categories of damages that you can receive compensation for. The first is economic damages. Every accident will come with a high price tag. That price tag is what is covered through economic damages. You can claim for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of career
However, you can also ask for compensation for non-economic damages as well. While insurance companies may not want to admit it, financial strain isn’t the only way an accident can cause you harm. The shock of a car accident on top of the physical pain of your injuries is enough to leave anyone in a great deal of suffering. That is why non-economic damages exists. That way you can claim for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Emotional trauma
- Lowered quality of life
The unfortunate side of UM/UIM policies, however, is the fact that your own insurance provider may treat you as an opponent, rather than a client. Insurance companies care about maximizing profits, and that means paying as little as possible. So, when you turn to your own insurance provider to help cover your damages, they may try to lowball and undersell you. Or they may act in bad faith and deny your claim altogether. That is why you need an experienced attorney by your side, fighting for your claim.
There is nothing scarier than realizing that the at-fault driver can’t help you recover damages. Many of us live paycheck to paycheck and don’t have several thousand lying around in our savings. The thought of paying out of pocket for damage to your car or for your hospital bills may seem impossible to you. That is where Peters & Nolan, LLC come in. As expert Grand Junction auto accident attorneys, we can work with you to find avenues of compensation you may not have realized were there. For quality legal aid, call our firm at (970) 243-4357.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.