Grand Junction Underinsured / Uninsured Motorist Lawyer
Getting into a car accident is scary and stressful, but those feelings can be magnified if you find out that the person who hit you is uninsured. When that happens, it can be tough to know what to do, particularly when it comes to being fairly compensated for injuries or property damage. In Grand Junction, the attorneys at Killian, Davis, Richter & Kraniak, PC have handled dozens of uninsured auto accidents, including those involving hit-and-runs and pedestrian accidents. We understand all the options through which you can receive compensation even if the negligent party can’t provide it.
Colorado’s Uninsured and Underinsured Driver Problem
Despite a growing economy and strict state laws against it, over 16 percent of all drivers in Colorado are uninsured – the 9th most of any state in the country. According to the Denver Post, this works out to well over 600,000 drivers out on the roads with no insurance coverage. What’s more, these numbers don’t even take into account the number of drivers who are underinsured which could be many times more. In addition, many experts hypothesize that uninsured drivers are more likely to take risk behind the wheel and could be a significant factor in Colorado’s high rate of hit and run accidents (averaging over 16 per day).
What Are Colorado’s Uninsured Motorist Insurance Laws?
Driving without insurance is far too great of a risk anywhere, but Colorado has some of the most strict laws in the nation. The penalties are vary in their degree of punishment based on number of offenses, but all the money you thought you were saving would be lost no matter the consequence:
- First offense: minimum $500 fine, and license suspension until proof of insurance is provided to the DMV.
- Second offense: minimum $1,000 fine and a four month license suspension.
- Third offense: minimum $1,000 fine and an eight month license suspension.
Courts can add up to 40 hours of community service onto your sentence, and each instance of being caught driving without insurance also means losing four points on your driver’s license. If you are over 21, you lose your license if you accumulate 12 points worth of deductions within a year. If you’re under 18 it only takes six points to lose your license. Those points stay on your license for two years in Colorado.
It’s troubling that one-sixth of all drivers in Colorado have no insurance, considering that premiums have fallen by a significant amount in recent years. At an average of $848 per year, Colorado has the 15th-lowest auto insurance premiums in the country. The rate in Grand Junction is likely $100-$300 less, but spending $848 in a year is much better than spending close to that amount in one day for a driving without insurance fine.
What Is the Minimum Amount of Insurance Required in Colorado?
There are a dozen different companies with many more dozens of coverage options when it comes to auto insurance, and there is a bare minimum coverage required to avoid being underinsured.
- Bodily injury liability – Most insurance companies will recommend you carry $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence in coverage. However, Colorado only requires a minimum of $25,000/$50,000 of coverage.
- Property damage liability – This protects you if you damage someone else’s property with your car, whether you were at fault or not. Colorado requires $15,000 of coverage.
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage – This covers medical and any other expenses if you are hit by a driver without adequate insurance. This coverage is technically optional, but it’s automatically added to your policy unless you deny it in writing. It provides $25,000/$50,000 of coverage. You can also purchase uninsured motorist property damage coverage, but many people just get collision and comprehensive coverage instead.
If you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist, and assuming that they haven’t tried to drive away, take down all of their information as you normally would for any accident. Note the circumstances under which the accident occurred, and take pictures of damage if possible.
There are options if you need to seek compensation for damage and injuries from an uninsured driver. Compensation from your medical insurance policy, the other driver’s insurance (even if it’s inadequate), the other driver’s own pocket or your auto insurance. Killian Law understands all of these avenues, and we have a lot of success negotiating fair settlements. Our consultation is free, and we don’t collect fees unless you win.