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Larimer County personal injury attorney car accident

Over Labor Day weekend, Fort Collins experienced its earliest snow accumulation in over 130 years, reminding Coloradans once again of the state’s extreme weather fluctuations and the possibility for hazardous road conditions at almost any time of the year. It is never too early to start preparing for the necessary safety precautions when driving on snowy and icy roads so that you can avoid being injured in a car accident or causing a crash that injures someone else.

Precautions for Driving in Snow in Colorado

As a driver, there are many ways that you can take responsibility for preventing accidents in snowy weather, including:

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Fort Collins catastrophic injury attorney

You may have recently heard of catastrophic injuries for the first time, especially with regard to brain damage. Recent discussions within the NFL surrounding traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy—TBI and CTE, respectively have brought catastrophic injuries into daily discourse and increased awareness of such injuries, many of which are suffered in car accidents. As you may have guessed, catastrophic injuries are among the most severe a person can suffer, including—but not limited to—“… those causing permanent severe functional disability, and those causing severe head or neck trauma with no permanent disability.” While emphasizing head, spine, neck, and brain trauma, many debilitating injuries are included within this category, up to and including death. For victims seeking compensation, an experienced personal injury attorney can help determine if a catastrophic injury was caused by another party’s negligence.

Coping Strategies for Serious Injuries

Beyond the physical trauma, a catastrophic injury-induced loss of function or disability can cause serious, lasting mental anguish, and victims may find themselves experiencing the famous five stages of grief. Although not every victim of a catastrophic injury will necessarily experience all five stages, here is what the average victim may experience along with strategies for coping with the effects of their injury:

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Larimer County hit-and-run accident attorney

Following a motor vehicle collision, the drivers involved are required to remain at the scene, render any necessary aid to those who have been injured, and exchange contact information with each other. Unfortunately, some drivers choose to flee the scene of a collision, and these hit-and-run car accidents can leave victims suffering from severe or fatal injuries. The Denver Post reports that, as of Thursday, May 28, 2020, the city of Denver has recorded 1,899 hit-and-run accidents since the beginning of the year, averaging approximately 390 incidents monthly. Drivers who have been involved in these types of accidents will want to understand the steps they can take to pursue compensation if the other person leaves the scene.

Four Steps to Take After a Hit-And-Run

An automobile accident is enough to leave anyone dazed, and doubly so if the other party has left the scene. Here are four things you should do in the event you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident:

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Larimer County bicycle accident attorney

The summer months are approaching, and bicyclists are going to flock to the roads in Colorado. As such, it is worth reviewing the rules of the road regarding how drivers and cyclists are supposed to interact. Using a few safety strategies can help avoid any unnecessary bike accidents. However, it is impossible to control the actions of others on the roadway, and negligent behavior by drivers can lead to serious injuries for cyclists. If you were injured in an accident while riding your bike, it is important to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney as soon as your immediate medical needs are addressed. Seeking compensation in Colorado requires finding fault with the other driver or cyclist involved, so you will need strong representation from a legal team you can trust.

Rules of the Road

Since Colorado is an “at-fault” state, abiding by the traffic laws will help prevent you from being deemed at fault for a collision, and this can ensure that you will be able to receive the compensation you deserve. Unlike pedestrians, cyclists are expected to follow the same rules as drivers, with a couple of additions. Determining how you should ride your bicycle depends on where you plan to go on your next trip. 

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Larimer County auto accident attorney

Colorado’s relatively new Made Whole Doctrine serves to protect you from losing all or a significant amount of your liability claim benefits to an insurance company. It is important to understand how this law works so that you know you are getting the compensation that you deserve if you have suffered a personal injury due to another party’s negligence. Even though this law is designed to protect you, you still must work with a qualified personal injury attorney to pursue compensation in court and ensure that insurance companies are not violating any part of the Made Whole Doctrine.

Compensation Before the Made Whole Doctrine

Before the Colorado legislature amended state insurance laws to include the Made Whole Doctrine, health insurance companies or medical providers were allowed to subrogate (substitute themselves as the primary recipient of your personal injury claim) to guarantee that their costs were covered in full before you, the insured, received any compensation. As you could imagine, this caused a lot of problems. For example, if you were involved in a car accident and accrued medical bills that totaled $150,000, but you only received $100,000 in compensation from an at-fault driver's insurance policy or a personal injury lawsuit, the health insurance company could take the entire amount of compensation you received, and you would still be at a loss. Since the goal of compensating an injured party for his or her losses should not harm him or her financially, the Made Whole Doctrine needed to be implemented. 

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Larimer County auto accident attorney

Although other drivers’ actions are unpredictable, there are two things all motorists can do to help avoid auto accidents, including driving safely and properly maintaining their vehicles. Typically, people are often reminded to obey traffic laws, pay attention at all times, and to stay sober when driving. However, faulty or worn-out auto parts can also cause collisions with minor to serious injuries. Since Colorado is an “at fault” state, a driver who does not properly maintain his or her vehicle can be deemed at fault for negligent maintenance and upkeep. If you have been in an accident that involves broken or faulty vehicle components, you should work with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine your legal options, especially since these types of cases can be more complicated than your average fender-bender.

Essential Vehicle Maintenance

Although many people wait for warnings to appear on the dashboard or for other obvious symptoms before bringing their cars into a repair shop, some preemptive maintenance goes a long way. At least once a year, every motorist should make sure to have a skilled mechanic check the following:

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Larimer County auto accident attorney

If you have been in a car accident there are a variety of steps you should take to protect yourself in the immediate aftermath. You must first seek emergency medical attention if necessary, then report the accident and exchange insurance information with the other driver. You may be wondering what to do next if your vehicle is significantly damaged. The window of time after an accident can be stressful, but taking the right steps during this time can ensure that you are properly compensated for property damage, as well as any injuries you suffered in the collision. By receiving legal assistance from a personal injury attorney, you can be sure that you will be properly compensated for all of your damages.

What Are Colorado’s Total Loss Laws?

“Totaling” or “totaled” are words that often get used as slang for vehicles that are not functional or are undrivable, but drivers may not understand what these terms actually mean. To "total" a car means to declare it a total loss, which dictates how you and your auto insurance provider will move forward. A car does not have to be a complete wreck to be totaled. Instead, the cost of repairs must exceed a certain threshold, which may differ from state to state. In Colorado, that threshold is 100 percent. That is, Colorado legally requires insurers to declare a vehicle a total loss if the estimated repair costs would exceed the market value of that vehicle.  

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Larimer County car accident attorney

Every driver in Colorado is required to carry car insurance in case of an accident. If you or a family member are involved in a vehicle collision, it can be difficult to maintain a clear mind and understand exactly what your policy covers. Most policies function similarly, so the guidelines here will likely apply to you in many ways. However, even when you have a general understanding of your auto insurance policy and relative confidence in determining what the other party’s policy covers in an accident, it is imperative that you obtain sound legal advice from a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights.

Legal Aid When Seeking Damages

Before diving into what your and another driver’s insurance policies cover in a crash, it is important to understand how vital legal guidance can be after you or your loved one are involved in a car accident. In many cases, determining which driver is at fault is not that simple. A police report might not accurately describe what happened, or there may be other mitigating circumstances, like a nearby construction zone. Even if there were just minor injuries and vehicle damage, a skilled attorney can help you establish liability for the collision, and they can negotiate with insurance companies and help make sure that you receive the compensation you need and deserve. That is why it is essential that you contact an attorney first before talking to any insurance company, including your own. 

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Larimer County car accident attorney

While many people believe that pedestrians always have the right of way when crossing the street, the truth is that pedestrians are not infallible. They can make mistakes just like drivers do, and this probably occurs more often than you might think. In fact, many pedestrian accidents and pedestrian deaths in Colorado over the last few years have been clear cases that illustrate the pedestrian was at fault. In other cases, the collision may involve a combination of fault by both the driver (or drivers) and the pedestrian. Below are some circumstances in which a motorist may not be at fault, and a pedestrian may be liable for any damages and injuries.

When the Driver Is Not at Fault

Pedestrians might believe that if they are hit by a car, it will almost always be the driver’s fault. However, a driver may not be at fault if all of the following can be proven in court:

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Larimer County auto accident injury attorney

Whether seen on the news, witnessed, or through personal experience, we are all familiar with car accidents. In 2018 alone, 4.5 million people in the United States were injured in car accidents, and 40,000 people lost their lives. Some circumstances increase the likelihood of car accidents, such as poor weather conditions or negligent actions by a driver. No matter what causes a vehicle collision, it is important to understand your rights and your options for seeking compensation if you find yourself a victim of a crash.  

Who Can Be Held Liable?

Generally speaking, many auto accidents take place in rural areas. The likelihood of an accident occurring also increases if it is dark outside, if alcohol is involved, or if a young driver is behind the wheel. Sometimes, car accidents are unavoidable and are the fault of neither driver. However, when someone is responsible for causing a car accident in Colorado, he or she can be held liable for the damages caused by his or her negligent actions. A person may be found negligent if he or she failed to take reasonable care in a situation, and another person suffered injuries as a result.

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

123 North College Avenue, Suite 160,
Fort Collins, CO 80524

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3835 W. 10th Street
Greeley, Colorado 80634 |
970-460-2220
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Longmont, Colorado 80501 |
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