Yes, it is necessary to file multiple insurance claims when more than one party is liable. Colorado is an at-fault accident state, so injured parties can file third party claims with the at-fault drivers’ insurance companies.
Impact of Negligence in a Multi-Vehicle Accident
Whenever more than one person contributed to a collision, a degree of fault is assigned to each one. This can help establish which individual bears greater responsibility.
Keep in mind that if you were also at fault, it could impact your ability to recover damages. Your responsibility for the crash must have been 49 percent or less in order to pursue an insurance claim following a car accident against the at-fault driver. When fault lay with others, their insurance companies are responsible for your damages.
Any evidence you have should be submitted to them including:
- the accident report;
- photographs; and
- witness statements.
There can be challenges with establishing negligence in a multi-vehicle accident, especially if you are also partially at fault. Seek legal counsel if your injuries are severe. An attorney can help gather evidence that builds a strong case and can work with the insurance companies to reach a fair settlement.
Recovery of Damages When More Than One Party Is Liable for Injuries
Although a claim would be filed with both parties, one insurance company might be liable for most (or even all) the damages. It’s important to note that when more than one party is liable, the injured person cannot collect more than the full amount of damages he/she is entitled to receive.
For instance, let’s say an accident on the I-70 in Aurora resulted in someone sustaining a moderate traumatic brain injury. The individual is out of work for a few months and has to undergo rehabilitation. Personal injury damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering total $45,000.
The driver assigned more fault for the accident provides primary coverage. But if that person only has the minimum amount required, which is $25,000 in Colorado, it won’t be enough to pay for all the damages. Secondary coverage would kick in, which is provided by the other driver’s insurance company, who would cover the remaining $20,000.
But if the accident resulted in neck and back injuries, where the individual was out of work for a few weeks and damages totaled just $12,000, then only the first party’s insurance company would be responsible for payment.
When It Becomes Necessary to Seek Legal Advice
As mentioned, if you or a loved one sustained serious injuries, it’s best to contact an attorney to get legal help. But sorting out liability can be another reason to secure legal representation. Insurance companies aren’t quick to take responsibility, and they may attempt to deflect blame from their policyholders.
D.J. Banovitz helps Aurora residents injured in auto accidents recover compensation for their injuries, whether through a single insurance claim or by filing multiple insurance claims. Call (303) 300-5060 to set up a consultation about your claim.