Most everyone has been in the unfortunate situation of standing outside their cars after a car accident and debating with a stranger about how one of you will have to pay for the damages. But when it comes down to the law, whose insurance do you use after an auto accident?
The answer mostly depends on determining who the at-fault driver is for the accident. Sometimes this process is cut and dry, and drivers may even be able to settle the dispute without involving their insurance companies. Additionally, some states have no-fault insurance laws that ensure both drivers are covered regardless of who’s at fault.
However, Colorado doesn’t have no-fault insurance laws, and many cases with more severe damages may necessitate the influence of litigators. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, having a Denver car accident attorney on your side to help fight for your rights to compensation can improve your chances of payments for your damages. Call Paul today to see what damages you’re entitled to after being involved in an accident.
Using Your Insurance Provider
Collision coverage gives you the ability to make a claim on your own insurance policy after an accident. In this case, your insurance will pay for any damages your car incurs, minus the deductible.
After they issue recompense for your claim, your insurance company will likely issue a subrogation demand from the other party’s insurance. Subrogation is the process by which your insurance company reserves the right to recover its damages from third parties such as the other individual in the accident or their insurance company.
Once the other party’s insurance admits its policyholder was at fault, it will reimburse your insurance company and refund your deductible. Subrogation claims take anywhere from 3-9 months, and the process virtually eliminates all of your costs- as long as the other party is at fault.
Subrogation works the same way for personal injury protection (PIP) as it does for car damages. However, subrogation only works up to the limits for your PIP coverage.
Benefits to Using Your Insurance Provider After an Auto Accident
If you feel more confident in your insurance company than the other drivers, you should use your insurance provider. Using your insurance company can expedite the payment process so you can get your car repaired quickly and have assurance for your medical bill payments.
Your insurance company may be faster because it won’t have to determine fault to do so. If you decide to go through the other driver’s insurance company, they must establish that the accident was their policyholder’s fault, delaying the claims process.
If you have rental reimbursement on your insurance policy, you may also be able to get a rental car right away and get a timely refund for the rental car.
If you didn’t cause the accident you were involved in, your insurance company shouldn’t raise your rates. In any case, the fault for your accident has to be determined before any adjustments to your policy occur.
Drawbacks to Using Your Insurance Company After an Accident
When you use your insurance company, you expedite the process by which you can recover your damages. However, this means you have to pay a deductible upfront, with no guarantee that you’ll get it back.
Using the Other Party’s Insurance Provider
Coordinating your claims process with the other driver’s insurance company can take longer, but doing so will save you from incurring the upfront deductible costs. If you contact the other party’s insurance company, they will investigate whether their policyholder was at fault.
After determining that their policyholder was at fault, the insurance company will send an adjuster to estimate the repair cost for your vehicle. They will also pay you for a rental car until the shop completes your car’s repairs. Except for no-fault states, the other insurance company will also cover your medical bills.
However, when compensation from the other driver’s insurance company, it’s important to note that they will only cover up to the policyholder’s limits.
Benefits To Using the Other Party’s Insurance
If you don’t have collision coverage, using the other party’s insurance may be the only way to recover your damages. Even if you have collision coverage, you won’t have to pay your deductible and wait for reimbursement.
Drawbacks to Using the Other Driver’s Insurance
If the other driver doesn’t have liability coverage, or they have limits that can’t cover your medical expenses, you may have to file a claim with your insurance provider anyway. In this situation, your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage from your insurance coverage would pay for your injury treatment plans and car damage.
Subject to a deductible, you might have to use your collision coverage or uninsured motorist property damage coverage in these situations. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you can use an uninsured motorist lawyer to try and recover your compensation.
Determining Fault After an Accident
Determining fault after an accident isn’t as simple as pointing your finger and saying “they did it! they did it!” You can’t expect to simply call the other driver’s insurance company and ask for money. Without sufficient proof that their policyholder was at fault for the accident, the insurance company can easily deny your claim.
In cases such as those where the other driver doesn’t admit fault or the at-fault party is unclear, hiring an attorney can help you with your claim and recover damages. One of the most common reasons claims get denied is that a driver may be at-fault while not being negligent. For example, the driver might have caused the accident while trying to avoid hitting a negligent pedestrian, or they may have had a medical emergency that prevented them from driving safely.
If the other driver’s policy doesn’t cover your cost, and you end up paying a deductible, you can pursue the other driver independently. This type of compensation requires the skills of a litigator who understands the various aspects of litigation. Whether you successfully recover your damages from the other party depends mostly on proving they were negligent. If they are uninsured, recovering your damages from them will depend on whether the party has the available funds to pay you back.
Tips for the Aftermath of an Accident
After being involved in an accident, you may feel incapacitated to the point of shock. Shock can lead you to make rash decisions that have adverse consequences. Whatever you do after an accident, never admit fault. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, so it’s challenging for people involved to determine fault with any degree of certainty.
After an accident, stay calm, avoid getting into an argument with the other driver, and call the police. The police will be able to examine the situation from a legal perspective to determine who is responsible. The authorities will also help both parties exchange information and create a report for both insurance companies to investigate.
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney Can Save You From Admitting Fault
After an accident, there are many moving parts, and insurance companies try to avoid claiming responsibility. They can engage in deceptive practices to confuse you into admitting fault. Because insurance companies have extensive experience avoiding losses, having a car accident attorney at your side to walk you through the complex legal process and receive the compensation you deserve.
The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm has a team of Denver accident attorneys who will fight to bring you the compensation you deserve. Whether the other party’s insurance company tries to avoid paying for your losses, or you need to seek compensation from an uninsured driver, our experienced attorneys are here to help. Contact us today to discuss your case.