According to Colorado law, every driver must carry liability auto insurance with a minimum coverage limit of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage plus $15,000 per accident for property damage. City and state police officers do a commendable job enforcing this rule, however many drivers manage to break this law without getting caught and remain an uninsured motorist. Bad car accidents can result in damages that exceed one or more of these limits. This is where uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance can save you or your loved ones from a financially devastating situation. This type of insurance is optional in Colorado. If you have it and are involved in an accident where the at-fault party does not have an insurance policy that can cover all of your damages, you can make an uninsured/underinsured claim. Most insurance agents and car accident lawyers recommend that you carry this type of policy.
Uninsured motorist coverage allows you to avoid large out-of-pocket expenses for your medical bills. You are normally responsible only for your deductible if your insurance provider finds you 0% at fault. Your claims adjuster will handle the bills so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. However, you will not be able to make a claim for personal injuries if the other driver is uninsured. Uninsured motorist coverage can be used to pay for damages including pain and suffering. UM gives you a second line of defense against drivers that break the insurance requirement laws. You may also be able to make a UM claim if the at-fault driver has insurance and the insurance company denies your claim.
Underinsured motorist coverage is a level of protection that can be used if your damages exceed the policy limits of the at-fault driver. An average hospital stay is about 5 nights. At $4,350 per night, the average stay costs $24,000. If the at-fault party only carried the legal minimum, you can see how the policy can quickly be maxed out. Your medical insurance covers the rest, minus your deductible and co-pay. That’s if you have medical insurance. If you don’t, the rest comes out of your pocket; unless you have UIM coverage under your own auto insurance policy.
If you do not have uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage, there are still legal actions you can take against the at-fault driver. A Colorado personal injury lawyer can help you determine the best options available to you. This often involves a civil lawsuit directly against the responsible party. Through a settlement or a jury verdict, you may be able to recover some or all of your losses. This really should be a last resort because it can take months or years to settle your case and there is no guarantee you will win. While you are waiting for the case to close, you will still be financially responsible for paying your medical bills.