Dealing with a car crash of any nature is stressful enough. But when it involves an out-of-state driver, there can sometimes be additional issues that arise. Keep in mind that insurance coverage extends into other parts of the nation, so if the driver is insured and was at fault for the accident, a car accident claim with his/her insurance company can still be filed.
Impact of At-Fault Insurance Laws in an Accident
No matter where the driver resides, the biggest issue will be determining who was at fault. In states where no-fault insurance laws apply, regardless of responsibility for the crash, each driver relies on his/her own insurance coverage to pay for any injury-related costs. It can also make filing a lawsuit against a driver difficult.
While at one time Colorado was a no-fault state, it now follows at-fault insurance laws. This provides a few options when injured in an accident. One is to file a claim with one’s own insurer. A second is to file a claim with the out-of-state driver’s insurer, known as a third-party claim. But there is also the possibility of filing a civil lawsuit seeking damages.
Typically what happens is whoever was at fault for the accident will bear the responsibility of paying for costs (medical, lost wages) through their own insurance coverage. Sometimes however, it can get complicated when fault isn’t obvious or both drivers were partially responsible for the accident.
Impact of Negligence Laws in an Accident
There may be limits in one’s ability to file a claim through another driver’s insurer. For instance in the state of Colorado, this can only be done if the individual is 49 percent or less at fault. Any degree of fault above that would prevent the person from recovering damages.
So if it’s determined the out-of-state driver was at least half responsible for the crash, a claim against his/her insurance company could be filed. Keep in mind that any damages that may be recoverable will be reduced if the injured person was partially at fault.
Let’s say a person is rear-ended by an out-of-state driver. While in many cases fault is generally with the person who hit someone from behind, it could be that after investigating the crash, it’s determined the person who was struck had made a sudden lane change without signaling. Now that person is assigned a degree of fault in the accident of 30 percent.
If the damages total $25,000, they will be reduced by 30 percent ($6,250). Instead of receiving that full amount, the injured person would only be able to recover $18,750.
This deduction in awards could be significant since damages may include compensation for:
- medical expenses;
- lost wages;
- repairs for property damage; and
- pain and suffering.
Whether an accident was caused by an out-of-state driver or someone else, it’s important to seek legal counsel when fault isn’t clear and there are serious injuries suffered. D.J. Banovitz can assist clients filing a car accident claim and can help determine the types of compensation that could be available for the car crash.