Being Sued for Car Accident in Colorado – What Can They Take?

Being Sued for Car Accident in Colorado – What Can They Take?

A car accident is a frightening experience for anyone, but it can be worse if you are being sued as an at-fault driver. Colorado is an at-fault state for insurance claims. Determining fault is a necessary part of a car accident for both insurance claims and additional damage coverage through personal injury claims.

The person who caused an accident can also be sued by the other driver. If a personal injury claim is filed against you, it’s essential that you understand your legal rights in these circumstances. When someone files a personal injury car accident claim against you for damages, you are likely worried about what they could take in a successful claim.

Compensation for Damages in a Car Accident Claim

Compensation is paid to cover a loss of something in the accident. This loss may be categorized as economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages do not have a cap, while non-economic damages do, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include measurable financial losses. The driver who was not at fault can file with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover these damages, but sometimes the coverage is not enough. That is when a personal injury claim is filed to cover additional economic damages as well as non-economic damages.

It’s easier to calculate exact values for economic damages, and they generally include the following types of damage:

  • Loss of income. After a car accident, a driver may be unable to work for a period of time while they recover from injuries or trauma. This person can hold the at-fault driver liable for that lost income. If the person is permanently disabled and this limits their future work abilities or promotions, they can also claim lost future income or earning capacity.
  • Property damage. Colorado has a minimum requirement for property damage liability coverage for drivers. If property damages of the car or belongings exceed that coverage, the driver who was not at fault can file to cover those damages.
  • Legal costs. If the driver who was not at fault files their claim and is successful, their legal fees and court costs may be covered.
  • Medical costs. The at-fault driver is responsible for any costs associated with treating car crash injuries of the other party or parties. This includes emergency response and transport services, hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, prescriptions, and any long-term care that is required.

Many drivers who file for claims don’t realize the damages they can get covered until they speak with an attorney. To minimize the damages you are asked to pay as an at-fault driver, you’ll want an attorney to argue fault in the accident.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are harder to calculate, as they refer to severe yet abstract damages. They include:

  • Pain and suffering. Car accidents are often traumatic experiences, leading to psychological pain and distress for those in them. If there is an injury, it also causes physical pain. The at-fault driver is considered responsible for that distress. Pain and suffering damages have a cap in Colorado if one driver is clearly at-fault. For permanent injury or disability, there is no cap on this form of compensation.
  • Emotional distress. The driver not at fault can file for the direct trauma of the car accident and any long-term mental disorders or distress.
  • Loss of enjoyment. If someone is unable to enjoy life activities or close relationships, this is compensable.
  • Permanent impairment, scars, or brain damage are grounds for compensation.

Calculating the value of these damages can be complex and up for interpretation.

Punitive Damages in a Car Accident Claim

In unique situations, punitive damages may also be awarded in a car accident claim. These damages are assigned solely to punish the at-fault driver for significantly egregious or intentional errors before, during, or after a car accident. The court assigns punitive damage if they believe making amends to the victim of the crash isn’t enough. Extremely negligent behaviors may include driving under the influence or driving at excessive speeds.


Q: How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Investigate a Claim in Colorado?

A: Colorado law only requires that insurance companies respond within a reasonable amount of time and provide the person with the necessary contact information. There is no specific time limit set by state law, though individual companies may have a stated deadline to settle claims. If an insurance provider is not responding in a reasonable period of time, speak to your attorney about your legal options.

Q: Is Leaving the Scene of an Accident a Felony in Colorado?

A: If someone was injured or killed, leaving the scene of the accident is charged as a felony in Colorado. If no one was hurt, the crime is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction results in up to a year in jail. If someone was injured, leaving the scene is a Class 4 felony. The punishment for a Class 4 felony is two to six years in prison. If a driver leaves the scene of the accident and a person was killed, this is a Class 3 felony, punishable by four to 12 years in prison.

Q: Is Colorado a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?

A: No, Colorado is an at-fault state for car accidents. All Colorado drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance to cover accidents. After an accident, fault needs to be determined. The driver who was not at fault can file with the insurance company of the at-fault driver to cover damages, including property damages and medical costs. If the at-fault driver’s insurance doesn’t cover all the damages, the non-at-fault driver can file a personal injury claim.

Q: How Long Does an At-Fault Accident Stay on Your Record in Colorado?

A: Generally, a serious accident like an at-fault accident will stay on your driving record for three to five years. This is also likely the amount of time your insurance will be impacted by the accident. Insurance premiums are less likely to be changed if you were not at fault for the accident.

Working With a Car Accident Attorney

At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we have years of experience representing clients who have dealt with serious and complex car accidents. For legal assistance and to protect your interests, contact our attorneys today.

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Kevin Cheney

Attorney Kevin Cheney, an experienced personal injury lawyer based in Denver, Colorado, serves as the Managing Partner at Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, LLC. He specializes in personal injury and auto accident cases. His approach combines deep legal knowledge with a commitment to client advocacy. Education: Graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law, demonstrating early legal prowess and a passion for justice. Professional Associations: Active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and the Colorado Bar Association, contributing significantly to legislative and community initiatives. Experience: Extensive experience in handling complex personal injury cases, with a track record of securing substantial compensations for clients.

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