Read Our Frequently Asked Questions To Learn More About Your Options After A Serious Personal Injury
You had no reason to know you’d be injured. But now that it has happened, you undoubtedly have many questions about what your rights are and how to move forward with your life.
At VanMeveren Law Group, in Fort Collins, we have the skill and proven experience to help you through this. We encourage you to contact us today to arrange a free consultation about your specific situation with an experienced attorney. Call 970-792-2103. Based in Fort Collins, we serve clients throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
General Personal Injury
What is my case worth?
Once upon a time, there probably was a formula for determining how much a car crash victim’s claim is worth. But that is not the case today. Instead, the personal injury marketplace rules. The marketplace refers to what amount of money a jury in the victim’s jurisdiction typically determines for similar claims. Insurance companies keep databases of previous settlements and trial verdicts and uses them as a basis for new settlement offers. A good demand letter can help increase the amount offered, however.
How important is insurance in Colorado injury cases?
Insurance issues are very important in injury cases. This is especially true in car crash cases, when dealing with insurance adjusters to get fair value for your claim is critical. Insurance issues can also arise in cases involving dangerous property conditions, such as when homeowner’s insurance provides coverage for injuries caused by animal bites or other dangerous conditions that put others at undue risk of harm.
How much should the insurance company pay me for property damage?
First, if the vehicle can be repaired for less than what its value was the day before the collision, the insurance company will pay to repair it. Otherwise, the company will probably “total” the vehicle and pay what it determines its fair market value would have been had you sold the vehicle the day before the crash.
Issues that can come up include what “fair market value” really was or, if your car gets repaired, whether you are owed “diminution of value.” That means the difference in value between your vehicle after the accident and a similar vehicle that has not been in a crash. Insurance companies can offer far less in fair market value or diminution of value.
What should you do after an accident in Colorado?
Of course, the most important thing to do is to get any medical treatment that you may need. If the injury is obviously serious, you or someone else should call 911 so that you can go to the emergency room. Keep in mind, however, that even if you don’t think you are seriously hurt, some injuries – particularly brain injuries – can take longer to show themselves fully. So, even if you don’t go the ER right away, you still may need to get your condition checked out by a doctor of your choice sooner rather than later.
How should I document an accident?
If a police officer or state trooper investigated your crash, there should be a police report that you can get a copy of. Besides that, you should write down as much about the collision as you remember at your first opportunity. Things to take note of include:
- Where the accident happened
- The positions of the vehicles involved before and after the crash
- What the scene looked like immediately after the vehicles stopped moving
- The names and contact information of everyone involved, including any witnesses
If you can, take photos of objects, like signs and buildings, that might have caused or contributed to the accident.
What should be included in a demand letter?
The demand letter is part of the package you send to the insurance adjuster to show how much your claim is worth. The letter should start with a statement that you are communicating with the insurance company in an attempt to settle your claim without going through an attorney. You should also detail exactly what happened in the crash, so it is clear that it was the other driver’s fault. Also describe your injuries and their impact on your life without exaggerating or being overly dramatic.
What is the statute of limitations?
In Colorado, you generally have three years from the date of your auto accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the victim was your child, you likely have longer to file suit. But if the defendant was an employee of a government agency (such as a police officer), you could have much less time due to certain mandatory notice requirements.
When should I hire an attorney?
We do not recommend waiting until shortly before the statute of limitations runs out to start looking for an attorney. If an experienced lawyer finds out they only have a few months to investigate your claim, they may not have time to collect the evidence you need to prove your case. The sooner you start searching for an attorney, the easier time you will have finding a good one to work with.
What should I do if the insurance adjuster asks for a recorded statement?
You are not legally required to consent to a recorded statement, and we generally do not recommend that you make one. The insurance company wants you to give a recorded statement to use against you as much as they can. The only time you might have to consent is if you do not have an attorney and the adjuster won’t deal with you unless you agree to a statement.
If you do give a recorded statement, make your own recording of the statement and ask for a transcript of the insurer’s recording. Review both and check for errors in the insurance company’s transcript.
Questions About Attorney Counsel
In a Colorado Personal Injury Claim, what am I entitled to be compensated for?
Subject to some exceptions, a person who sustains an injury due to the negligence of another is entitled to be compensated for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Aggravation of a preexisting condition
- Lost wages and/or loss of earning capacity
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Pain, suffering and other “noneconomic damages”
- Loss of consortium for your spouse, if you are married
What kind of case can be settled without hiring an attorney?
You might not need to hire a personal injury lawyer for a relatively minor injury. Signs that you can proceed without an attorney include:
- Your injuries were nothing more than “sprains and strains,” and there was little to no property damage.
- You only had to go to the doctor once or twice.
- You needed no more than a few visits to a physical therapist or chiropractor.
- You did not miss more than a week of work.
In cases like these, the amount of damages involved are pretty low, and hiring an attorney probably would not be worth the expense. Please download our free book, Get It Settled Without A Lawyer, for more information and guidance.
Questions About Physicians And Medical Care
Who will pay my medical bills while my claim is pending?
First, make a claim on your auto insurance. In Colorado, your auto insurance company must offer to cover medical bills for unexpected, accident-related care of up to $5,000. Once you exhaust that coverage, submit remaining bills to your health insurance. When your case settles (or ends in a jury verdict), the insurance company for the person who hit you will be responsible for paying the settlement amount or verdict, which will usually include a global payment for all of your damages, including medical bills.
I have a prescription for medication. Will the pharmacy bill my insurance company?
Most pharmacies do not bill the auto insurance companies for medication. You will need to pay for the medication first and wait until the case settles to be reimbursed the money you paid out. If you have health insurance, depending on your plan, they may front the cost and request to be reimbursed from any recovery. If you have medical payment coverage on your own insurance, these benefits will reimburse your out-of-pocket costs.
Can I get money from my own insurance company to pay medical bills?
Check your insurance policy or call your agent to find out if you have medical payments coverage, or “Med Pay,” as it is called here in Colorado. If you do, you can get coverage for medical expenses up to a certain limit, usually $5,000.
Should I sign a medical authorization?
Be careful before signing a medical authorization. When you sign one, it gives the insurance adjuster permission to collect your medical records on their own. You never know what records they would actually get. They could include records from medical care you got before your accident, which can feel like an invasion of privacy. If you are settling your case on your own, consider requesting and sending your medical records yourself.
Questions About Treatments Like X-Rays And MRIs
I have a prescription, but can I choose an imaging facility in Fort Collins, Colorado?
An X-ray or MRI prescription works in the same manner as a drug prescription. You can have your X-ray or MRI performed at the imaging facility of your choice. A prescription is required for an X-ray or MRI diagnostic test.
Will I have to remove my clothes?
As a precaution, a gown may be required due to metallic fasteners and metallic fibers in clothes.
I’m afraid of being in tight spaces. Is there an open MRI design?
Many MRI facilities now have modern equipment with a more open design to accommodate patients who are claustrophobic or obese. If you think that open MRI equipment would be better for you, please call ahead to the MRI facility to ensure that they can accommodate your needs with open MRI technology.
I have piercings. Do I need to remove them?
All metal objects need to be removed, including earrings, dentures, hearing aids and all piercings. Metal objects will obscure inside bodily structures and make it difficult for a radiologist to read the films. By remembering to remove these items at home, you will save time, keeping your appointment on schedule.
When do I get the results?
Results of your X-ray or MRI test will usually be available within two to three days. Your prescribing physician will give you an explanation of the results.
Take action: If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, don’t be shy about getting help to pursue the full and fair compensation you need. Give us a call today to schedule a confidential consultation with a lawyer. Or, if you prefer, complete the online form.
Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this application is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.