Fault is an important principle in Colorado car accidents. Drivers who are at fault must pay compensation to anyone injured by their negligence. By contrast, a motorist who is not at fault can make a claim on the at-fault driver’s insurer and receive compensation for their own losses.
What happens if you are actually to blame for the accident? In this article, we will run down what to expect, but a word of warning: Colorado recognized shared fault, which means you still might qualify for compensation even if you were negligent.
What is Shared Fault?
Sometimes, more than one motorist is to blame for an accident. Let’s say you were speeding when you struck a vehicle. However, the motorist of the vehicle you hit failed to use a turn signal, which contributed to the crash.
In this simple example, both motorists share some blame for the collision. But Colorado law does not prohibit someone from seeking compensation simply because they were negligent. Instead, under Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-21-111, they can get compensation if their fault is less than the other driver’s.
If you made a mistake that led to an accident, you can own up to that fact. The other driver might also have been more negligent, which means you can possibly receive compensation.
Notify Your Insurer of the Accident
You need to report all accidents to your insurer promptly. Read your insurance policy to check the deadline. Generally, it is a good idea to report an accident within 24 hours. Your insurer will want to know where the accident took place and other information, such as the identity of the other driver or witnesses.
Your insurer will probably ask you to tell them what happened. You should be honest with them. Remember, you have insurance precisely for those accidents where you are negligent and end up hurting someone. The last thing you should do is lie about your actions, which can get you in trouble.
Pay for Medical Care
You might have been injured in the accident that was your fault. Unfortunately, you can’t use your bodily injury liability insurance to pay for medical bills, since this insurance only covers people you have injured because of your negligence. You also can’t make a claim on the other driver’s insurance because you were at fault for the crash.
However, you might have purchased medical payments coverage. This type of insurance is no-fault, so you can tap it even if you are to blame for the accident. Many people only carry a few thousand in medical payments coverage, which might be all you need to treat a minor injury. If you need more care, you will probably have to pay for it out of pocket unless you have health insurance.
Contact Cimarron Ridge Legal Group with Questions
If you need help determining fault in an accident, then meet with an attorney who can analyze the surrounding circumstances. At our firm, we understand that many accidents are not black and white. We will survey the facts known and help you determine if you were at fault. Contact our Grand Junction auto accident lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.