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Who Pays for What?

Ultimately, the at-fault party is responsible to compensate injured parties for all of their economic and non-economic harms and losses. These damages include obvious losses like lost wages and medical expenses as well as less obvious harms and losses like inconvenience, emotional distress, and physical pain. The real issue involves who actually pays for these harms and losses.

The primary source of compensation to injured parties comes from the at-fault party's insurance company. In Colorado, individuals are required to carry a minimum of $25,000.00 of liability insurance. Finding out how much coverage the at-fault party has is not as easy as you might think. Unlike other states, in Colorado the at-party is not required to disclose how much insurance is available until a lawsuit is filed, in which case the defendant must disclose available insurance within 30 days.

Issues can arise when multiple people are hurt and there is only a limited amount of available insurance. You may be familiar with policy limits phrased in terms like $100,000/$300,000. What this means is that the insurance provides a maximum of $100,000 per person and a total of $300,000 per incident. If a family of five were seriously hurt in this situation, there would be a total of $300,000 in available coverage.

Generally, if the at fault driver was on the job when the accident occurred, the employer is responsible for the negligence of the driver through a legal concept known as Respondeat Superior. When this occurs, the employer's general liability insurance policy usually provides coverage. These "general liability polices" often carry one million dollars or more in available insurance coverage.

As you can imagine, there are many unfortunate situations when the defendant's insurance policy is not enough to fully compensate for the harms and losses caused. There are several options available when this occurs. First, you can attempt to collect against the at fault driver personally. Here is an example:

Our firm handled a case in which the at fault driver, who happened to be intoxicated, who turned left on a red arrow and caused very serious injuries to our client who was on a motorcycle. Making a bad situation worse, the defendant only had $100,000.00 in available insurance. The defendant's insurance company very quickly offered to settle the case (completely releasing the at fault driver of any personal responsibility) for the $100,000 policy limits. When the driver's assets were checked, however, it became clear the driver had significant assets to pay any judgment. After a few months of intense litigation, the at-fault driver wrote a check for an additional $100,000 to settle the case. Of course, every case is different. If you have any questions regarding your case, please call or email us. The Kaudy Law Firm is here to help.

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The Kaudy Law Firm LLC
333 W. Hampden Avenue,
Suite 850,
Englewood, CO 80110
Phone: 303-623-1885
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The Kaudy Law Firm, LLC, provides legal help to injured people and victims of insurance misconduct, including bad faith, in Denver, Colorado, and communities throughout the Denver metro area, Rocky Mountain region, Front Range, Eastern Plains, the Foothills, the Western Slope, I-70 and I-25 corridors, Denver County, Arapahoe County, Douglas County, Jefferson County, Adams County, Boulder County, Summit County, Eagle County, Pitkin County, El Paso County, Weld County and Larimer County, including the cities of Aurora, Broomfield, Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley, Colorado Springs, Lakewood, Littleton, Golden, Longmont, Loveland, Vail, Aspen, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Castle Rock, Parker, Highlands Ranch, Thornton, Brighton and Westminster.