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What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Car Crash
Call the Police/911 & Seek Medical Attention
After a car crash, first, get to safety and make sure there is no additional danger. Then call 911. Calling 911 will alert first responders to your location so that injured accident victims can receive medical treatment. Let them know how the accident happened. Seek Medical Attention. It is very important to seek medical attention after a car crash to determine if you have been hurt, especially if you obtained whiplash injuries. The adrenaline from a crash can hide injuries. It can sometimes take hours or even days before pain sets in.
Document the Accident
Immediately after an auto incident, if you are able, document and gather general accident information including the other driver’s license and insurance information and the police report number. Take pictures of both vehicles and the car accident scene.
Call Your Insurance Company
Once you are safe and have seen a medical provider, you should contact your insurance company to set up a claim. You will most likely be contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company as well. Do not provide a statement or sign any authorizations for insurance companies. Talk to a car crash attorney first.
Call a Denver Car Accident Lawyer
As soon as you are able, contact the Colorado car accident lawyers at Eisenstein Law. Valuable evidence can be lost or destroyed if you don’t act quickly. In some cases, experts will be needed to investigate the crash. An auto attorney will help guide you through this process and make sure important evidence is preserved.
Work with a Colorado accident lawyer you can trust.
Eisenstein Law is devoted to our auto accident clients. We will make sure your rights are protected every step of the way. Our car crash attorneys will guide you through medical issues and the insurance claims process. If a settlement is not possible, we are ready to take your case to trial. Don’t settle for less, contact one of the best Denver car accident lawyers today.
Frequently Asked Car Crash Questions
What are common car accident injuries?
Car and truck crashes can result in a wide variety of personal injuries and even death. These injuries involve various parts of the musculoskeletal system and brain. Whiplash is a typical mechanism of injury in rear-end motor vehicle collisions. The impact causes rapid flexion and extension of the spine, which can cause damage to tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints between the bones of the spine. These injuries can be serious and permanent. Injuries to the hips, ribs, knees, wrists, and feet are also common in car wrecks.
Motor vehicle crashes can also cause concussions and traumatic brain injuries (“TBI”). TBIs occur when your brain moves rapidly in your skull, even if your head does not hit anything. This can occur when the brain scrapes across the rough inside of the skull, when it impacts the inside of the skull, or when shearing forces tear the brain’s connecting nerve fibers called axons. Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are very serious and can cause long-term complications and seriously impact your life and relationships. These types of injuries are often overlooked in the emergency room.
Another type of injury that is not usually diagnosed in the emergency room is emotional injury. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and depression are some of the mental and emotional injuries that are typical following an accident.
What are the common causes of car wrecks?
Most car and truck crashes are caused by human error. These errors can happen while operating a motor vehicle, e.g., distracted driving, impaired driving, going too fast for the conditions, failing to pay attention, failing to yield the right of way, or following too closely. Errors can also occur before a car or truck is even on the road, e.g., when an employer fails to properly train their employee truck drivers or fails to properly inspect or perform maintenance on their 18-wheelers.
Distracted driving happens when anything takes a driver’s attention away from the road. This includes talking, texting, using the radio, eating, or any other non-driving activity. Failing to pay attention for even a few seconds is the equivalent of driving with your eyes closed.
Impaired driving is when a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or even fatigued from a lack of sleep. All of these can cause cognitive issues like distorted perception and delayed reaction times.
Careless, reckless, and aggressive driving occurs when drivers do not follow the rules of the road. Failing to signal, ignoring traffic signals, switching lanes erratically, speeding, tailgating, or any other aggressive behavior endangers other drivers and can cause motor vehicle crashes.
What are Colorado car accident insurance laws?
If you drive a motor vehicle in the State of Colorado, you are required to have minimum insurance coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident and $50,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident. Bodily injury includes economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages, non-economic damages like physical and mental pain and suffering, and any physical impairment or disfigurement. You are also required to have $15,000 insurance for property damage in any one accident. Unfortunately, these minimum insurance limits usually do not reflect the real world when it comes to medical costs and property damage. Medical bills can easily exceed the $25,000 minimum. There are also many drivers who do not have insurance at all.
That is why it is also important to purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (“UM/UIM”) and Medical Payments coverage through your own insurance company. UM/UIM is designed to cover your damages if you’re in an accident caused by someone who does not have insurance or enough insurance. Medical Payment coverage is used for any medical expenses regardless of fault. UM/UIM coverage is not mandatory in Colorado, but your insurer is required to at least offer it. You can then reject it in writing if you choose to.
How much does a Denver car accident lawyer charge?
Auto attorneys in Colorado charge different rates, but between $250 – $350 per hour or more are common. Not surprisingly, this makes it hard for most people to hire a Colorado accident lawyer on an hourly basis. Contingency fees allow everyone to have access to the best Denver car accident lawyer, even if they cannot afford a high hourly rate.
A contingency fee means that the lawyer receives a percentage of the money that the client receives only when they settle or win their case. In other words, the auto attorney only receives compensation if they have successfully represented their client. In personal injury cases, it is typical to see different contingency fee percentages for different phases of a case. E.g., an injury lawyer might charge a contingency fee of 35% for a case that settles early on, or 45% for a case that goes all the way to a trial.
Contingency fees improve access to justice for people who cannot otherwise afford hourly rates, provide an incentive for car accident lawyers to seek successful outcomes, and also allow clients to shift the risk of losing their case to the lawyer.
What should I do after a car crash?
If you have been involved in an auto incident, first make sure there is no additional danger. Next, call for help. Once help is on the way, and if you are able, document the motor vehicle accident. Sometimes, police will not respond for a long time. Sometimes, they do not do a good job of actually investigating the cause of the car crash. That’s why it is important to use your cellphone to take pictures of your injuries, the vehicles involved in the crash, and the scene. Exchange insurance information with other involved people. Once the police arrive, report what happened. Make sure to let police and first responders know if you are hurt or even if you are unsure. A car wreck is a traumatic event and people who are injured in auto accidents don’t always develop symptoms immediately. This can be because of your body’s internal “fight or flight” response. Your body releases adrenaline because it perceives a potentially dangerous situation. The adrenaline effectively masks pain and injury, but once the adrenaline wears off, injuries usually become more pronounced. Do not wait to seek medical care. You should always seek medical attention if you have any symptoms following an auto accident. They are likely to become worse.
You should not talk to an at-fault driver’s insurance company or sign any documents after being injured in a car crash before talking to your auto attorney. You do not have to accept a low settlement check while you are still treated for your injuries. You do not have to sign authorizations allowing the insurance companies access to your protected medical records. You do not have to give the insurance company a recorded statement. They are trying to minimize the amount of money they have to pay you for the actions of their insured driver who caused you injuries. Doing any of the above only helps them and hurts you.
Next, you should call an experienced car crash attorney to help protect your rights.
Who is liable for an auto accident in Denver?
Colorado is an at-fault state, which means that if another person is responsible for a motor vehicle accident, you can seek compensation from them for your injuries, damages, and losses. “Fault” for causing a car or truck accident is usually determined based on common law principles of negligence. Negligence generally means that a driver was not being careful and that resulted in some harm. A driver can be negligent by failing to do something, like paying attention to the road, or by actively doing something, like trying to beat a red light. Violating a traffic rule, like speeding or following too closely, can also be used to prove negligence.
Pro-rata, or comparative fault, applies when more than one person is responsible for a car accident. A jury can assign a percentage of total fault to different parties, with the total equaling 100%. In Colorado, if you are 50% or more at fault, you will not be able to recover from your injuries.
Other people or companies might also be liable for your injuries even if they were not directly involved in the accident. E.g., parents might be liable for a motor vehicle accident caused by their minor child under the family car doctrine, and a trucking company might be liable for a tractor-trailer accident caused by their negligent employee under the doctrine of respondeat superior.
Should I go to the doctor after a car accident?
Yes. You should go to a doctor to make sure you haven’t been seriously hurt in your motor vehicle accident. Not seeking medical care, gaps in between treatments, or not following up with recommended care, when you claim you are still injured can be very damaging to your case. Defense attorneys will argue that if you were truly hurt, you would have continued to seek medical care. Always continue to treat if your doctors have recommended it. Make sure you tell your doctor the specifics of your pain and symptoms. You should talk about the location, the duration and frequency, and what makes it better or worse. You should also be sure to discuss pain that you cannot see such as shooting, stabbing, burning pains, numbness, and/or tingling. Memory and thinking issues, irritability, and sleep disturbances should also be reported to your doctor. Oftentimes, cognitive issues and minor brain injuries are overlooked by emergency room doctors and primary care physicians.
Should I talk to the insurance company after a car crash?
You should not talk to an insurance company or sign any documents after being injured in an auto accident before you talk to a Denver car accident lawyer. From sending low settlement checks to demanding blanket authorizations for all of your protected medical records, the insurance companies know what they are doing. Insurance companies try to minimize the amount of money they have to pay you for the actions of their insured driver who caused you injuries. Make sure you talk to a motor vehicle accident lawyer before talking to the insurance company.
What is the statute of limitations for a car accident in Colorado?
The statute of limitations for bodily injuries arising out of a motor vehicle collision in Colorado is generally three years from the date of the accident. However, there might be additional available claims with shorter statutes of limitations. Claims for negligent entrustment or negligent maintenance could have a two-year statute of limitations. Dram shop claims against an establishment that served a negligent driver alcohol might have a one-year statute of limitations. It’s important to contact a Denver car accident lawyer as soon as possible to make sure these important deadlines aren’t missed.
How can I prevent a car accident?
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely avoid the risk of being in a car accident. However, you can lower your risks by driving safely and using common sense. Always avoid distracted driving. Never text or talk on your phone while driving. Keep your focus on the road ahead and the traffic around you. Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Avoid driving late at night when bars are closing. Make sure you always adjust your driving for road conditions. Leave more following distance and drive slower if it is snowy or icy on the roads.
Do not assume that other drivers will always drive carefully. Anticipate potential hazards and leave enough time and space to react in case there is an emergency. When driving in neighborhoods, keep an eye out for children or animals. On highways, leave plenty of space between yourself and other vehicles. Stay out of the blind spots of 18-wheelers and give them plenty of time to slow down and stop. Remember, car and truck accidents can cause serious injuries or kill. Slow down and be safe.
Find Your Auto Attorney with Eisenstein Law
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in Colorado. With the increased improvements around vehicle technology, more lives are being saved, but unfortunately, safety improvements will not help always protect you or help you recover from an accident you have already been involved in. Our personal injury lawyers will help you seek legal settlement for your car accident injury. The auto attorneys at Eisenstein law additionally offer legal services for those involved in truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, distracted driving accidents, pedestrian accidents, and much more.
Contact a Denver Auto Attorney Today
Referring to Motor Vehicle Collisions as crashes instead of Motor Vehicle accidents
As car crash attorneys, we believe it’s important to use the correct terminology to describe the injuries and crashes that arise from the negligent conduct of at-fault parties. When people refer to anything as a car “accident,” there is an implication that no one—not even a negligent or drunk driver—is to blame for the outcome and resulting injuries. Using the phrase “car accident” implies that the results are outside the realm of human control and that no one should be held accountable. Insurance companies and defense attorneys love this implication. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Car crashes are the predictable result of specific human actions and the laws of physics. Usually, the actions involved are a driver ignoring safety rules that are designed to protect us all from serious injuries or death. Since the causes of car crashes, collisions, or incidents can be identified, we can then hold negligent people accountable, and we can take actions to avoid similar injuries and crashes in the future. Changing the ways that we think and talk about car crashes makes everyone safer.
Roadway fatalities are increasing at a rate not seen in 50 years, resulting from driver-caused crashes, collisions, and other incidents. Almost all crashes are caused by risky driving behavior, such as drinking and distracted driving. Vehicle malfunctions, weather, and other factors account for about 6% of the total traffic incidents.
It is critical that we use the correct words to describe the situation, especially when inattention, distracted driving, and other avoidable actions are involved. Traffic accidents are avoidable problems caused by inattentive drivers and poor driving behavior. They are not accidents.
While this website may sometimes still use the term “accident,” we want to be clear on the distinction. We will also be striving to update our pages and will make efforts to refrain from using the term car accident moving forward.