Figuring out whose insurance pays for damages if you and an at-fault party both carry insurance is an issue many accident victims face. Ideally, you’d submit your claim to the at-fault party and you’d receive compensation for your damages. But insurance coverage after an accident can be complicated if the other party’s insurance does not provide adequate coverage of your damages.
Other factors – that you may discuss with your Colorado car accident lawyer – may also influence your decision of how to approach the issue.
Determining Whose Insurance Should Pay
If the other driver has insurance, as required by Colorado law, his or her liability coverage can cover medical bills and vehicle damages.
- a minimum bodily liability coverage of $25,000 per person;
- $50,000 per accident; and
- minimum property damage liability coverage of $15,000 per accident.
On the other hand, if you have medical payments coverage, that can take care of your medical expenses and if you have collision coverage, that can take care of your vehicle damage.
So whose insurance coverage should pay after an accident? One of the benefits to using the other driver’s liability coverage is you won’t have to pay a deductible like you would if you filed a claim with your own insurance company.
Yet filing with your own company may be an easier process. Negotiating with the other insurance company to reach a claim settlement can be a hassle in some cases, and adjusters from the other insurance company may attempt to deny, reduce or delay the claim. Your claim will likely be settled much quicker by using your own coverage, if you have the right kind, of course.
Regardless of whose insurance pays for the damages, it’s a good idea to contact both insurance companies and report the accident. If you discover the at-fault driver has already filed a claim, obtain the claim number. Otherwise, you can at least make them aware of the accident.
How Coverage Amounts Impact Whose Insurance Pays
Not only do you need to take into consideration the aforementioned policy details, you also need to look into the amount of coverage available. If the other driver carries the bare minimum property damage liable insurance, and the damage to your vehicle exceeds that, then you might want to file a claim with your own insurer if you have adequate coverage.
The same is true for bodily injury liability. If your medical expenses exceed the minimum coverage requirements, then you may want to go with your insurance company if you have adequate coverage.
If you have underinsured motorist coverage, it may make up any differences between the other driver’s policy limits and your actual bills, up to the limits of your policy. So if the other driver carries the minimum $25,000 bodily liability coverage per person, and your medical bills are $35,000, your underinsured motorist coverage may make up the $10,000 difference.
Important Steps That Need to Be Taken After a Car Accident
You can start protecting your rights immediately after an accident. This is done by getting as much information about the other driver as you can.
Not only should you exchange contact information (name, telephone number, address), but make sure you get the name of his or her auto insurance company. Don’t forget to ask for a phone number and policy number.
In Colorado, car accident lawyer D. J. Banovitz can provide legal consultation and guidance if you’re dealing with an auto accident and navigating what can be a confusing insurance claims process. Call 303-300-5060 to set up a consultation to discuss whose insurance should pay for your damages.