Posted in Blog on March 18, 2015
For those who drive through states, understanding how automobile accident laws change from jurisdiction to jurisdiction is important. An accident can happen just about anywhere, and it often occurs where someone is extremely comfortable driving, such as near home, or in places that are entirely unfamiliar.
Colorado is a prime example of where the laws have just changed, and those assuming that an accident in the Rocky Mountain state might be a simple affair could be in for a rude surprise.
Colorado recently amended its vehicle laws to eliminate what is commonly referred to as a no-fault coverage system. Under the no-fault approach, most accidents were essentially settled for an out-of-pocket cost-share by both parties’ insurance companies, after which those involved in the accident then went on their way.
If someone were hurt in the accident, under this approach he or she would receive medical coverage from his or her own policy, irrespective of who might have been at fault in the incident. The assumption was that people who were injured would get medical treatment much faster and could file claims to arrange for payment of the treatment much faster, as well.
However, the new and current legal approach is a fault system, otherwise known as a tort area or jurisdiction. This change essentially allows blame to be placed on the responsible party who was the major cause of the accident, and all costs triggered should be borne by the responsible party, including medical costs.
To fix this cost on a responsible party, the legal system revisions assess each party’s involvement in the accident and the percentage responsible for causing it. When proven, injured parties can have their medical bills paid by the responsible parties’ insurance coverage, not their own coverage, which reduces the costs assessed to their own insurer, and there is still the loophole that if coverage can’t be attributed, covered drivers would seek medical cost coverage under their policies’ uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage.
However, this term is discretionary and not always included automatically in a policy unless a driver requests it, being all the more reason that legal counsel is needed in these situations. It’s clear that the new laws have changed the recovery process for auto accidents and seeking damages in Colorado, which is why it has become even more important to have a skilled and experienced auto accident attorney involved in your recovery.
The effect of the new laws increase the technical expertise needed for an injured motorist to have on his side in order to obtain full recovery from an accountable at-fault party and his or her insurer. Where an accident has occurred, a party should at least have a consultation with a trained accident lawyer, especially in Colorado, and representation in every insurance discussion.
A fault system can easily get out of control, with even the victim of an accident being sued and blamed for the cause to reverse the expense and potential liability. Hiring a lawyer is essential for most serious car crashes, even if it seems as if the matter on its face can be settled quickly.