Colorado Springs Car Accident Lawyer
100+ Years' Experience Representing the Injured in Colorado
Being injured in a car accident in Colorado Springs, is a painful and confusing experience, especially when you are bombarded by expensive medical bills and nonstop calls and emails from insurance adjusters. When this happens, you need a team of advocates on your side who can represent your interests an aggressively pursue the compensation you need.
With more than 100 years of collective experience, our Colorado Springs car accident lawyers at Clawson & Clawson, LLP have the skills and knowledge to guide you through this difficult time. Having represented car accident victims throughout Colorado Springs, Parker and Pueblo for decades, you can count on us to deliver the compassionate service you need.
"5/5 Stars" - Client Review
I have used Michael for my auto accident. I wish Michael and I would have crossed paths many years ago! He is a down-to-earth lawyer, very trustworthy, and affordable! His attention to detail is outstanding and he communicates effectively. Michael is an aggressive lawyer who is knowledgeable in all areas of law he practices. I am very SATISFIED with the outcome of my case and will continue to use Michael. - Rich, Former Client
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, we are here to help. Call (719) 602-5888 or complete an online form to make an appointment with our Colorado Springs car accident lawyers.
Crucial Steps After a Car Accident
While there is much emotion and stress immediately after a car accident, it is crucial that you stay calm and follow certain key steps to protect yourself. If you suffered injuries from your collision, it is extremely important that you do your best to cover all of the following issues:
- Check on all parties involved: Due to the amount of blunt force involved in a car accident, many individuals suffer severe injuries. As long as you don't compromise your own safety, you are obligated to check on the other driver and passengers involved in the accident. Once all parties have been accounted for, alert the police or call 911 if necessary. It is also helpful to move vehicle out of the roadway if damages aren't too severe.
- Avoid over communicating with the other driver: Once you have checked on the health and safety of the other driver and exchanged the appropriate information, you should avoid any further communication with the other party. You can always engage in polite small talk, but never admit to any wrong or apologize for the accident, as it could be used against you later on. You should always wait to discuss your liability until you have spoken with a personal injury lawyer.
- Gather as much evidence as possible: Your personal testimony can only go so far, which is why it's important to collect as much information as possible from sources around you. Talk with any witnesses who may have viewed the accident objectively, take as many photographs as possible and make detailed notes of the factors leading up to the accident.
- Alert your insurance company: Regardless of your liability in the accident, report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible. The more detail and information you give them supporting your claims, the more willing they will be to work with you during your case.
- Enlist an attorney: While some accidents can be handled quickly, those involving injuries often take more care and attention. You may meet opposition from the other parties involved, including your own insurance company. An attorney will be able to help you review all the information and evidence involved, building a strong case for your car accident claim.
Why Do You Need an Auto Accident Lawyer?
Many people wonder why they need a car accident attorney if they can just go through their car insurance. While you do not have to retain an attorney for an auto accident claim, doing so can be extremely beneficial. Far too many car accident victims receive settlements that are much lower than they deserve, or could have been achieved help from legal counsel. Additionally, car insurance claims can become highly complex, and having an advocate by your side who can explain and guide you through this situation could make all the difference in your case.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are not on the driver's side and will do whatever it takes to reduce the value of your claim. Our Colorado Springs car accident attorneys can investigate your case and advocate on your behalf so that you receive maximum compensation for any vehicle damage, medical expenses, and even emotional suffering such as PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder).
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help You Get Full Compensation?
Do I need a lawyer for a car accident? As we said before, you technically do not have to have an attorney, but getting full compensation for your damages and losses becomes a lot easier with one. If you have been injured in an auto accident, it is important to get legal help from a car accident attorney who can provide the necessary services to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your losses and damages.
A qualified car accident lawyer will be able to guide you through the process of filing a claim and fighting for justice. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of compensation that are granted to you by Colorado personal injury law, including medical bills, insurance claims, pain and suffering damages, lost wages, property damage costs, punitive damages and more. With their help, you can make sure that your rights are protected throughout the entire process.
Here are just a few of the tasks an auto accident attorney can help you with:
- Investigating the cause of the accident to determine negligence and fault
- Collecting evidence such as photographs, witness testimonies and traffic reports
- Filing a claim with the at-fault party's insurance company
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters to reach an appropriate settlement agreement
- Representing clients in court proceedings if necessary
- Advocating for clients’ rights under Colorado personal injury law
- Helping victims recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage costs, pain and suffering damages, punitive damages and more
- Protecting individuals from aggressive tactics used by insurance companies or other entities attempting to reduce their liabilities
- Helping individuals find appropriate medical care providers who can provide quality care while they recover from their injuries
What Are the Common Causes of Car Accidents?
While there are dozens of issues and events that can lead to car accidents, the top three causes of car accidents in America are:
Thousands of people get behind the wheel after consuming alcoholic beverages on a daily basis. According to the anti-drunk driving group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), people drive drunk more than 300,000 times each day, but only about 2,800 are arrested. Accidents caused by drunk driving are 100% preventable, but continue to occur due to people's irresponsible behavior. Speeding is another common issue that leads to a majority of car accidents in the United States. It contributes to one third of all car accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Not surprisingly, distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents. Drivers tend to partake in various activities while behind the wheel, including:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Talking to other passengers
- Applying makeup
While individuals may think it will save them time to partake in such activities while driving, it can cause a serious, and often deadly, car accident. Those who use cell phones and other hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into a car accident than those who strictly pay attention to the road.
Understanding the Car Accident Claims Process
After a damaging traffic collision, you must file a car accident report with the local police department before you leave the scene. It is important to limit your discussion to the law enforcement or medical staff present and never admit any sort of fault or liability. Beyond that, all you really have to do is come talk to us.
With the information you provide and a comprehensive case evaluation, our firm can take it from there. We will speak with the police to learn all of the details of the car accident in order to gather critical evidence that supports your claims. We will also want to communicate with any medical staff that treated you for injuries sustained in the collision to learn how much compensation will be necessary to fully cover your medical expenses. Lastly, we can converse with the insurance providers of the other drivers involved to determine if they have admitted any fault or divulged crucial information, such as the fact that they may have been texting or intoxicated when the car accident occurred.
Proving Liability After a Car Accident
Colorado is a "fault" state for car accidents. This means if another driver caused your crash due to his or her negligence, you can pursue compensation for your injuries and losses by filing a claim with their auto insurance provider. Determining liability is not always easy, however. Since there are at least two sides to the story, fault in a car accident is usually determined based on a compilation of all the facts. This includes an investigation of the scene and the damaged property, collecting eye-witness testimonies and even involving expert witnesses such as accident reconstructionists.
Depending on the circumstances, multiple parties may share fault for your collision, including:
- Other motorists on the road
- The manufacturer of the vehicle (if the crash was caused by a defective auto part)
- Local government agencies (if the crash was caused by a roadway defect)
- Local bars, stores, or restaurants that serve alcohol (if the driver that hit you was intoxicated)
Colorado's Car Insurance Requirements
Colorado requires all motorists to carry the following minimum insurance coverage to operate a motor vehicle on the state's roadways:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident;
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident; and
- $15,000 for property damage in any one accident.
Colorado Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Laws
Things get more complicated in situations where one or more drivers involved in a collision do not have insurance.
Colorado law regarding uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage changed in January 2008. According to the Colorado Revised Statutes § 10-4-609, all drivers with UM/UIM policies will notice the following major changes:
- Auto insurance companies can no longer "offset" (reduce) the amount they give you by deducting the amount of liability insurance the at-fault driver has.
- Auto insurance companies can no longer include "anti-stacking" language in their uninsured motorist policies. This means that people (particularly families) who have multiple auto insurance policies can add UM/UIM coverage to each individual policy.
A majority of Colorado insured drivers are covered by UM and UIM policies, which is extremely beneficial considering one out of every seven drivers on the road does not have auto insurance (national statistic). Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage works by making up the difference between the cost of accident-related expenses and the at-fault driver's insurance coverage.
Say for example you were injured in an auto accident and your medical bills total $35,000. Since the minimum liability coverage required for bodily injury in Colorado is $25,000, the accident victim's UIM policy could make up the difference- $10,000.
At this point you may be wondering if you have UM / UIM coverage. By law, unless you expressly waived your right to this coverage, your auto insurance policy will automatically include this. To learn more, speak directly with a car accident lawyer from our firm. Call (719) 602-5888 today.
Common Car Accident-Related Injuries
When it comes to car accidents, the types of injuries that are likely to occur depend on how serious the accident was. Factors that may contribute to the seriousness of an automobile accident involve the speed of the vehicles, the direction of impact and the size or weight of the injury victims. With all of these factors contributing, even seemingly minor fender benders can result in subtle and unseen injuries.
Even if you were involved in a minor collision, you may find yourself suffering from the following injuries:
- Neck Pain
- Seat-Belt Burns
- Lower-Back Pain
- Muscle Sprains and Strains
- Vertigo (Dizziness)
While these may not seem like they are serious injuries, they can be very burdensome and it is important that you seem medical or chiropractic treatment so that they do not become worse. If you are being held back from seeking treatment because of the prospect of having to pay the expenses, you should know that even minor injuries can be included as damages in your car accident claim.
Catastrophic Car Accident Injuries
Unfortunately, car accidents do not always limit their damage to minor injuries. Every year, thousands of lives are permanently ruined and even lost due to serious car accidents. These injuries are considered catastrophic because of the extent of damage to the body, to the victim's life and to their ability to live independent of outside help.
As mentioned before, a car accident can either cause minor injuries or major injuries depending on a few determining factors. For example, a rear-end accident can either be a minor "fender-bender" or a major fatal accident depending on how fast the car came from behind to collide with the other car.
Injuries that are often associated with serious car accidents can include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Severe Burn Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries (Partial or Full Paralysis)
- Permanent Nerve Damage
- Broken Bones
- Limb Amputation (Surgical or Traumatic)
When injuries such as these occur, it increases the size of damages in the car accident. Since the impact, cost and duration of these catastrophic injuries is much greater than minor injuries, the potential amount of compensation one can claim is much larger. Injuries such as traumatic brain injury or limb amputation can change one's life forever, keeping them from an independent lifestyle and from their ability to work. Such impacts increase the long-term costs of injuries.
If an accident caused by someone else leads an innocent victim to sustain these serious injuries, that driver will be liable for the costs and damage. Likewise, if an accident leads a victim to lose his or her life altogether, it can be considered a case of wrongful death. In either situation, the victims and their families have the right to seek compensation to help them cover the cost and adjust to their life with injuries.
Damages Available in Colorado Springs Car Accident Cases
If you have suffered any form of physical or emotional injury as a result of a car accident in Colorado Springs, our attorneys can help you seek the full compensation you are due. The exact value of your case will vary depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your crash, the extent of your injuries, and the level of evidence proving the other driver's liability.
Money won in a car accident settlement can be used to pay for dozens of items, including:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Any necessary surgeries
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Car repair or replacement costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death (if a loved one passed as a result of the crash)
Special Damages vs. General Damages
Generally speaking, any damages that can be quantified in a monetary amount can be claimed in a car accident insurance claim. The damages in an insurance claim are usually divided into two categories. The first category is known as the category of special damages. These are expenses and losses that have directly resulted from the car accident. Any money that was lost due to the incident is included in this category. This applies to emergency medical response costs, medical treatment, cost of surgery, cost of prescription medication and the predicted future costs of treatment and care.
Furthermore, this also includes any money that is lost by the inability to work for earnings. Many car accident injury victims are unable to work for a period of time or even permanently due to their injuries. This lost income can also be added to the special damages in the claim. The other type of damages is known as general damages. These are not necessarily financial losses but can be compensated with financial awards. For example, a victim can claim damages for the experience of past, current or future pain and suffering, for the loss of enjoyment of life due to catastrophic or permanent injuries and the loss of independency due to a permanent disability. While money cannot take these difficulties away, it is an attempt to compensate the victim in a practical manner.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits in Colorado
It is important to know that your time to take legal action after a car accident is limited. Under Colorado Revised Statutes section 13-80-101, all lawsuits related to car accidents, whether they be for personal injury, property damage, or both, must be filed within three years of the date of the accident. If someone tragically dies as a result of a collision, the victim's family has two years from the date of death to pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.
If you try to file a car accident lawsuit after the applicable filing deadline has passed, your case will most likely be dismissed and you will lose your ability to recover compensation. This is why it is crucial to get an attorney involved as soon as possible after your collision to guard your rights and protect yourself against potentially costly pitfalls. The more time you give your attorney to build a strong case on your behalf, the better your chances are of having a successful outcome.
It is important to note that these deadlines only apply to car accident lawsuits, not insurance claims. Most auto insurance policies require you to file a claim or at least notify your insurer that you were involved in a collision "promptly" or "within a reasonable time", which can be as little as a few days or a few weeks at most. Failure to notify your insurer can result in a denial of coverage or even termination of your policy.
Auto Accident Statistics at a Glance
Every year, it is estimated that between 2 and 3 million Americans are injured in a motor vehicle accident. According to NHTSA data released in December 2020, there were an estimated 2.74 million roadway injuries in the United States in 2019 alone. That is separate from the more than 36,000 car accident fatalities that occurred this same year. Statistics like these prove to show that as common as car accidents are, their potential to cause damage and injury should never be underestimated.
According to these figures, an injury-causing car accident is likely to occur every 14 seconds on average. Each one of these accidents involves its own victims, unique difficulties and a separate set of damages. The costs of car accidents can increase exponentially when injuries are involved as the victims now face the cost of medical expenses and the loss of wages on top of the property damage to their vehicle.
Nearly 10 million people are involved in car accidents on an annual basis, and almost all of them could have been prevented. According to the Centers for Disease Control, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States.
As for Colorado, The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) records more than 25,000 car accidents in the state every year. Not all accidents are investigated by the CSP; most are investigated independently.
The statistics compiled from the 30% of car accidents the CSP does investigate indicated that the most common causes of accidents are:
- Exceeding a safe speed - accounts for over 5,000 accidents annually
- Inattentive to driving or "distracted driving"- accounts for over 4,000 accidents annually
- Animal caused- accounts for over 3,000 accidents annually
- Lane violations- accounts for over 2,000 accidents annually
- Following too closely or "tailgating"- accounts for over 2,000 accidents annually
- Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI)- accounts for over 1,000 accidents annually and the highest number of traffic fatalities in the state, about 70 annually.
El Paso County has one of the highest car accident rates in the entire state of Colorado. According to data from the CSP, there are more than 2,000 car accidents in El Paso County annually, coming in only second to Jefferson County. No matter what the cause or type of accident you were involved in, we encourage you to seek legal counsel from our law firm as soon as possible.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Colorado Springs
If you were injured in an auto accident because of a negligent or careless driver, or your accident was caused because of an outside factor such as a mechanical defect or road defect, contact a car crash attorney at Clawson & Clawson, LLP. Our injury lawyers have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, and we can fight to ensure that you get what you deserve. Initial consultations are free! We have locations in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Parker.
Call Clawson & Clawson, LLP today at (719) 602-5888 for more information about passenger rights and how you can recover damages as the passenger of a vehicle involved in a car accident.
CAN I SUE THE DRIVER OF THE VEHICLE IF I AM A PASSENGER?There is no law barring injured passengers from making insurance claims against the driver of their vehicle. As a passenger, you have rights and your safety should be a priority for the driver. Regardless of personal ties, if the driver acted negligently and it resulted in injury to you, you have the right to seek compensation.
WHAT SHOULD I SAY TO MY INSURANCE CLAIMS AGENT?
After a car crash, here are important tips for dealing with insurers:
• Avoid accepting the insurance company's first offer
• Refuse to give a verbal or written admission of guilt
• Seek necessary medical attention immediately
• Follow through with your physician's treatment plan
• Keep adequate records of all accident-related expenses
• Do not sign anything without consulting a car crash attorney
THE INSURANCE COMPANY HAS OFFERED A SETTLEMENT, SHOULD I ACCEPT IT?It is highly advised that you consult with a personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement from an insurance company. As mentioned before, the insurance adjuster will use a number of tactics to get you to settle at a lower amount of what you are owed. If an insurance company has offered a settlement, contact a Colorado Springs car accident lawyer and ask them to review your case before you accept the offer. Many times, your attorney may be able to get you a larger award than what you were initially offered.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY TO MAKE A CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM?It is not required by law that you retain legal representation when filing a car accident claim. However, it is universally agreed that having a legal advocate can significantly increase your chances of making a successful claim and of recovering the full amount that you are owed. Insurance adjusters will attempt to settle at a lower amount by claiming that you were at more fault than you were or by stating that the damages do not fall under the coverage. A car accident lawyer can see past these tactics and fight for the amount that you are rightfully owed. Furthermore, if your case goes to trial, then you will need to have a legal representative appear and argue on your behalf.
WHAT SORT OF INFORMATION SHOULD GATHER FROM THE SCENE OF THE CAR ACCIDENT?The first thing to point out here is that, if you are injured in the accident, your first priority should be to seek out medical attention at once. If you are able to remain at the scene and gather evidence, it will be helpful to your car accident attorney and your future claim if you are able to take pictures of the scene, record the number of eye witnesses, collect their contact information and collect the information of the other drivers involved. If the police are present at the scene, they will compile a police report themselves which can then be used for your future claim as well.
IF I WAS PARTIALLY AT FAULT FOR THE CAR ACCIDENT, CAN I STILL CLAIM DAMAGES FROM THE OTHER DRIVER?
Yes. In Colorado, there is a standard for car accident claims that is known as comparative fault. This rule states that an individual cannot claim the percentage of damages that they were at fault for causing. In practice, this is carried out by the following process: a percentage of fault will be assigned to both the plaintiff and the defendant. Once the percentages are established, the plaintiff will be responsible to cover the percentage of damage he or she was at fault for and the defendant will pay the plaintiff the remaining percentage.
For example, if Jack was involved in a car accident with Jane and he was given 25 percent of the fault because he was driving ten miles over the speed limit at the time, Jane will be responsible for the remaining 27 percent. Therefore, if Jack's damages totaled $100,000, he will be expected to pay for $25,000 himself and Jane will be compelled to give the remaining $75,000. This is the principle of comparative fault. The only restriction that Colorado places is if the plaintiff is found to be 50 percent or more at fault for the accident. In that case, the plaintiff would not be permitted to claim damages from another driver. (The example was intended as an illustration and it does not reflect real results. The judge or jury will determine fault on a case by case basis.)
WHO CAN RECOVER DAMAGES IN A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT?Anyone who is not found to be at fault for 50% or more of the incident can claim damages. That includes the driver of the vehicle, his or her passengers, victims of pedestrian accidents and victims of motorcycle accidents.
HOW CAN I AFFORD A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY?The last thing you need after a car accident is to be saddled with expensive legal fees during your pursuit of compensation. No injured person should ever be denied justice due to the inability to pay. For this reason, most car accident attorneys, including those at Clawson & Clawson, LLP, accept cases on a contingency fee basis. In short, this means that you do not pay any attorney's fees unless and until we are able to secure compensation on your behalf. This ensures your attorney's goals are aligned with yours and allows you to focus on your physical recovery with peace of mind as your case progresses.
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