Personal Injury FAQs

You are here: Home » Personal Injury FAQs

ATTORNEY
Can I afford to hire an attorney?
Will I get to talk to a lawyer if I call?
Do I have a case?
Do I need to file a lawsuit to recover damages?
Do I need to consult a lawyer?
How can I afford a lawyer?
I don’t want to bankrupt somebody. What happens to the person I sue?

THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER
Is the adjuster looking out for my best interests?
Do I cooperate with the adjuster?
How do I know if the adjuster’s offer is fair?
What are the dangers of signing a release too soon?
Can the adjuster limit my medical treatment?
Do I have to give a recorded statement?
How can I get the adjuster’s attention?
Who will pay if the other driver has no insurance?
Does my auto insurance cover accidents when I am on my bike?

YOUR CASE
What can I do to preserve evidence?
Why is an accident / police report important?
Is it too soon to settle my case?
Can I recover without causing the driver financial hardship?
When should I get medical care for my injuries?
Can I lose the right to recover damages?
What if I am hurt, but don’t get treatment?
What is a hospital or medical lien?
What is Medical Payment “Med Pay” coverage?
Should I submit my medical bills to my health insurance carrier?
After I sign a release, how will my future medical bills be paid?
What do I do about the damage to my vehicle?
When is my car a total loss?
What if my personal property is damaged?
Can I settle on the property damage claim with releasing my injury claim?
Will my case require a jury trial?

YOUR RESULTS
How long will it take to resolve my legal issue?
How is my case valued?
Is my claim worth more than the medical bills?
How much will I recover?
In what parts of Colorado do you handle personal injury cases?

Can I afford to hire an attorney?
Because it is difficult for most people to come up with money in advance to pay an attorney, Colorado law allows for a contingency fee agreement. In a contingency fee arrangement, the attorney agrees to accept a fixed percent of the recovery at the conclusion of the Colorado injury case upon recovery. The attorney is only paid when you are paid. Although clients are ultimately responsible for actual out-of-pocket expenses, a personal injury law firm may advance necessary expenses to prepare your case for settlement or trial.

Do you offer Free Consultations with an Attorney
Yes. Everyone who calls for a free consultation gets to talk to a lawyer. Usually you will get to talk to a lawyer right away or later the same day so you can explore all your personal injury claims. Colorado Auto accidents to legal malpractice by lawyers in Colorado, we handle it all.

What are the risks of representing myself?
Colorado insurance adjusters receive extensive training on how to handle claims and people making claims. The first thing an adjuster may ask for is a recorded statement. This is followed by a request for a medical authorization, so the Colorado adjuster can collect and examine your medical records. A Colorado personal injury attorney, typically, would advise that you not give the liability insurance company a statement and not to sign the insurance company’s medical authorization until you talk with an Colorado attorney. Also, if you are representing yourself, you may not know your legal rights and may not know when to say “no.” If you wait to contact an attorney until you are negotiating a settlement, you may have already compromised your case.

Do I have a case?
Whether you have a case depends on many factors. First, you must have suffered injury, loss or harm. Second, that injury, loss or harm must have been caused by the wrongdoing of another person or entity. Third, Colorado law must provide you the legal right to recover from the wrongdoer for your injury, loss or harm. Other important factors are the cost of taking the case to a Colorado court and, if you win, whether the wrongdoer has any insurance, money or other assets to pay you.

Do I need to file a lawsuit to recover damages?
It depends. Sometimes it is necessary to file a lawsuit in Colorado to force wrongdoers to pay for the injuries they cause. Other times, a wrongdoer or their insurer will settle before a lawsuit is filed in Colorado. If the wrongdoer knows that you understand your Colorado legal rights and that you will file a lawsuit if necessary to enforce your rights, then the wrongdoer is often more likely to deal fairly with you. Many times, just having a Colorado attorney will yield more positive results than working with the insurance company directly.

Do I need to consult a lawyer?
Yes, if you have questions about your legal rights in Colorado. Even if you choose to take no action, you empower yourself by knowing your legal rights. If you or a loved one has suffered injury, loss or harm, a Colorado lawyer can help you determine whether there is a case.

How can I afford a lawyer?
Weselis & Suchoparek, LLC, The Fast Filers provides free legal consultations to individuals who have suffered injury, loss or harm because of the wrongdoing of others in Colorado. If you hire The Fast Filers to represent you, then you have the option to pay for the legal services on an hourly basis at our hourly rates or on a contingency fee basis. The contingency fee is paid as a percentage of any recovery.
It is important to understand that an attorney fee is different from costs, which are the necessary expenses incurred in representing a client. In some instances Weselis & Suchoparek, LLC will advance these costs for clients, which may later be recouped from a portion of the client’s recovery if there is a favorable outcome of the matter.

I don’t want to bankrupt somebody. What happens to the person I sue?
Although the lawsuit will have the other persons name on it, we are actually going after the insurance company’s money in most Colorado cases. In virtually every case, the person we sue does not have to pay a penny, as their insurance company pays the settlement or verdict amount, as well as all of the legal fees.

Is the adjuster looking out for my best interest?
Claims adjusters are hired to represent the insurance company. This is the same in Colorado and in every other state. One way insurance companies make money is by not paying the full value on claims made by people injured in accidents. For example, if the insurance company value a claim at $100,000; but the injured party, unaware of the true value of his case, is willing to accept $10,000, the insurance company will quickly issue a check for $10,000 in exchange for a signed release. In other words, it is a mistake to think that the insurance company has your best interest at heart. You may want to seek the assistance of a Colorado personal injury attorney to protect your rights. We offer services throughout the State of Colorado from Denver to Grand Junction, From Fort Collins to Pueblo.

Do I cooperate with the adjuster?
Generally, you have no obligation to cooperate with the adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company. You do not have to give the adjuster any information or a recorded statement under Colorado law. The insurance company may want to take your statement in order to begin building its case against you. That is what they are trying to do. Insurance companies will conduct their own investigation of an accident, and you are not required to do their work for them. When you hire an attorney, they will collect and provide the information the other driver’s insurance company may need to evaluate your claim.
However, your relationship with your own insurance company is established by your Colorado insurance policy; it operates as a contract. Most polices state that to collect on a claim under your own policy, you must cooperate with the insurance company in its investigation of the accident. That means that if asked, you may be required to cooperate with your insurance and provide names of witnesses, the medical providers you are treating with and a statement about how the accident happened. It is a good idea to consult with an attorney prior to giving a statement even to your own insurance company.

How do I know if the adjuster’s offer is fair?
The first offer from an insurance adjuster is typically on the low side in Colorado. When you are not represented by an attorney, the adjuster may be trying to find out whether you understand what your claim is worth. Several facts and factors may be involved in figuring a range of value in a Colorado personal injury claim. You are entitled to money damages for several factors including but not limited to reasonably necessary medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may also be entitled to receive compensation for future pain and suffering, loss of income and loss of earning capacity. The adjuster is working for the insurance company, not for you. Since you will have to live with the results of your settlement, don’t sign a release until you have talked with a personal injury attorney. Otherwise, you may waive many of your Colorado Rights.

What are the dangers of signing a release too soon?
The insurance company will not give you a settlement check until you have signed a release which is typically a full and final release of any and all claims you may have against its insured. After you sign the release, you cannot go back and ask the negligent driver or the insurance company for more money. The claim is closed and the case is over as it relates to any party you released. Since many injuries can affect you for a lifetime, don’t rush into settling your personal injury claim too soon. You typically should wait until after you have been released from your doctor’s care. Before you sign a release in Colorado, you need to talk to an attorney.

Can the adjuster limit my medical treatment?
In the case of an accident, an adjuster has no control over the type or amount of medical treatment you can seek. Often, an adjuster may argue that you are only entitled to a certain number of doctor visits for your particular type of injury in Colorado. This is probably an attempt to intimidate you into not receiving the medical treatment you may need to properly treat your injuries. Adjusters know that your failure to get proper treatment or physical therapy as prescribed by your doctor may decrease the value of your case.

Do I have to give a recorded statement?
You are not required to give a recorded statement under Colorado law to the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance company may want to take your statement in order to begin building its case against you even if you are clearly not at fault for the accident. Providing a recorded statement can only hurt your case. Therefore, if the adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company requests that you make a statement, you should refer them to your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, get one! On the other hand, if you are making a claim under your own policy of insurance, you may have a duty to cooperate and provide a statement, but you probably will want your attorney to be part of that statement to protect your interest.

How can I get the adjuster’s attention?
Retaining the services of a Colorado personal injury law firm usually gets the attention of an adjuster. As soon as the adjuster is notified that you have an attorney, the adjuster has to leave you alone. The adjuster must deal directly with your attorney. The attorney’s role is to protect your rights.

Who will pay if the other driver has no insurance?
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured vehicle or a hit-and-run driver, then your own policy of insurance may provide coverage for your physical injuries. Uninsured Motorist coverage is often carried by someone in the accident. The nice thing is that since 2008 in Colorado, you can “stack” several policies of uninsured motorist for a greater recovery for you.

Does my auto insurance cover accidents when I am on my bike?
Many Colorado auto policies will cover you if you are injured in a bicycle accident or while on foot.

What can I do to preserve evidence?
The days following a Colorado accident sometimes are important for finding and preserving evidence. Take photos or video of the cars involved, the accident scene and your injuries as soon as possible. Those concurrent photos will more accurately represent the condition of the evidence immediately after the accident. Keep a log or journal regarding details of your injuries and their effects on your daily life. Having notes will be a more accurate reminder of all the details of what happened and what you went through. This will make it easier for you to recall information at a later date if you ever need to testify in court.. Keep a folder with all the letters, receipts and general information that you may receive regarding your accident and treatment. This way you will be less likely to lose a key piece of evidence that may be needed to pursue your claim in Colorado.

Why is an accident / police report important?
An accident report is important for several reasons in Colorado. First, it provides the name and address of each driver and the name of the driver’s insurance company. Second, an accident report gives a description of how the accident occurred, and the police officer’s opinion as to who caused the collision. Since the officer was not an eye witness, he reaches this opinion be examining evidence at the scene and taking statements from drivers and witnesses. This may include measuring skid marks to determine the speed of the vehicle and noting where the vehicles came to rest. Third, an accident report records other relevant facts such as time of day, the weather conditions and road conditions at the time of the accident and where it occurred in Colorado. Call the police immediately no matter where your are in Colorado if you are in an accident and do not delay. If the police are not called at the time of the accident, you can go to the police station and file a statement of what happened. The police typically will not issue a ticket or complete the standard form if they do not respond to the scene of an accident.

Is it too soon to settle my case?
The appropriate time to settle a case depends on several factors. Many Colorado cases settle when an injured person is “medically stationary,” meaning that the injuries have either fully resolved, or remain but are no longer improving. In some Colorado cases, it is necessary to file the case in court to preserve the statute of limitations, or to obtain an agreement to toll the Colorado statute of limitations, because it will take too long before the injured person is medically stationary.
Insurance companies generally will not settle a case unless the settlement is final. That means that once a case is settled, injured persons generally are not be able to recover any more money from anyone, even if injuries that were previously unknown are discovered, or if medical care that was not anticipated becomes necessary. In some cases a client chooses to settle a case despite ongoing symptoms. In this situation, there is a greater risk that symptoms will worsen. In other cases, a client may believe he or she has reached a full recovery, but symptoms recur. Because of these risks, it is important for an injured person considering settlement to understand that in most cases when a settlement is reached, there is no way to recover any more money even if new injuries or medical bills arise.

Can I recover without causing the driver financial hardship?
Sometimes an injured party is hesitant to make a claim because he feels the collision was not intentional and he does not want to cause a financial hardship to the other driver. On the other hand, the injured party is frustrated because of mounting medical bills and expenses.

When should I get medical care for my injuries?
It is important to receive medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible. This could include going to the Emergency Room, Urgent Care or your family doctor. At the ER or doctor’s office, tell the doctors and nurses all of your injuries, pains and discomforts. Too often, people only tell doctors about injuries that hurt the most. As a result, the medical records may be incomplete as to a description of all of your injuries. A record of all of your injuries and treatment helps establish your claim for damages.

Can I lose the right to recover damages?
You can lose your right to recover compensation in Colorado if you fail to file your lawsuit within a certain time period. Every state has certain time limits, called “Statue of Limitations,” that govern the period during which you must bring a personal injury lawsuit. The facts of one accident may give rise to several legal claims, and each legal claim may have a different Statue of Limitations. It is in your best interest to talk to an attorney as soon as you receive an injury or discover you may have a claim in order to protect your legal rights.

What if I am hurt, but don’t get treatment?
If you are injured but fail to get appropriate medical treatment, you put your health at risk. A record of medical treatment also helps establish your claim for damages and pain and suffering. If you are injured and fail to get the care you need, it is more difficult to prove the value of your case. Insurance adjusters often reason that a person in pain follows the treatment path prescribed by the doctor. Likewise, if you fail to follow doctor’s orders, an adjuster may think that you have fully recovered from your injuries. Insurance companies also look for gaps in your care path.

Who pays the medical bills?
The most obvious source to pay your medical bills is the negligent driver’s insurance company. However, the insurance company typically will not pay the medical expenses as they occur, but will wait until final settlement. There are at least three other sources of money which may be available immediately to pay your medical bills; health insurance and medical payment coverage and Medicaid or Medicare. If you submit your bills to your health insurance, you will first have to meet your deductible and at the time of settlement, they may want to be reimbursed. The second source is medical payment coverage or “med pay” under your own auto insurance policy or the car you were riding in at the time of the accident. Under med pay, insurance will pay reasonable and necessary medical expenses as they are incurred up to the amount of coverage. It is not based on fault, and there is no right or subrogation at the end of your case. In other words, med pay does not get paid back. Finally, Medicaid or Medicare sometimes applies depending on the circumstances.

What if I cannot pay for treatment?
You should go to the doctor until the doctor says he has done all he can do and you’ve gotten as well as you are going to get. At this point, the doctor typically releases you from his care. Unfortunately, medical treatment may often take time to produce results and is expensive. Lack of money should not prevent you from getting the care you need for your injuries. Sometimes, if the medical provider knows that you are represented by an attorney, he may wait until your case is settled to be paid. Some doctors, however, cannot afford to wait until the conclusion of your case. An attorney may be able to find other available funds, such as med pay coverage, which will help with your treatment cost. However, keep in mind that an attorney will not always be able to prevent a provider from turning your bills over to collection, which may in turn adversely affect your credit.

What is a hospital or medical lien?
In reference to a personal injury case, a lien is a legal claim against settlement money you might receive from the liability insurance company. Holders of liens may include a health insurance plan or HMO, workers’ compensation, medical providers or Medicare.

What is Medical Payment “Med Pay” coverage?
An auto policy may provide additional coverage to cover your medical bills, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. The insurance company will pay reasonable and necessary medical expenses up to the limit of coverage as the bills are incurred under the “med pay” provision of the policy. In Missouri, there is no right of subrogation for med pay funds. In other words, the other drivers insurance does not get a credit for the amount collected from your med pay funds and likewise, your insurance does not get reimbursed or paid back at the time of settlement from the other drivers insurance company. Claiming coverage under your car’s med pay coverage may result in a greater net in pocket to you when your case is settled.

Should I submit my medical bills to my health insurance carrier?
Normally, when you are ill or injured, you look to your own health coverage – whether through health insurance, health maintenance organization (HMO) or your employer’s self-insurance program – to take care of your bills. When you have been injured in an accident, it is not unusual for the injured party to allow health insurance to help pay your medical providers. This often opens doors for treatment and helps preserve your credit. Most health insurance plans have a right to reimbursed by you, out of the settlement you receive for the medical expenses that the health plan already paid. The health plan’s right to reimbursement depends on various factors, including your agreement with the health plan provider and varies with the type of health coverage you have.

After I sign a release, how will my future medical bills be paid?
In exchange for the settlement check, the liability insurance company will require you to sign a release which is typically a full and final release of any and all claims you may have against its insured. After you have settled, you cannot go back the next month, six months or a year later and ask for more money to pay subsequent medical bills. Before you sign a release, you need to talk to an attorney.

What do I do about the damage to my vehicle?
Damage to your vehicle is usually paid by the negligent driver’s insurance company in Colorado. You may also want to review your policy and consider submitting the property loss to your own insurance, if they are willing to offer more for your car. It is a good idea to get two or three written estimates of your damage in Colorado. It is reasonable for the insurance company to examine or inspect your vehicle, but you do not have to accept the estimate based on the insurance company’s inspection. A car is considered a total loss or “totaled” when the cost of repairing the car is more than the car is worth. A car’s worth is equal to the price it would bring in your area, in the condition it was in before the collision. The price is determined by comparing your car to the current sale price of cars in your area of the same year, make and mileage along with any improvements you can document. When looking at your loss also consider any items of personal property, such as sunglasses, stereo, CD, car seat etc. When dealing with the other drivers insurance, also consider the value of loss of transportation, in the event they have not provided a rental car. The property damage claim can be settled separate from your personal injury claim. If the insurance company asks you to sign a release on the property damage claim, it may be a good idea to have a Colorado attorney review it to make sure you are not releasing your personal injury claim.

When is my car a total loss?
A car is considered a total loss in Colorado when the cost of repairing the car is more than the car is worth. In that case, the insurance company only pays you the car’s fair market value in the condition it was in before the collision. In effect, when a car is totaled, it is similar to the forced “sale” of your car. The price is determined by comparing your car to the current sale price of cars in your area of the same year, make and mileage. Often, insurance adjusters will look at the NADA blue book, which has a link on this website.

What if my personal property is damaged?
You have a right to be compensated not only for your injuries and damage to your car, but also for any personal property damaged in the accident. For example, an accident might break your sunglasses, car seat, CD’s or stereo. It is your duty to document the loss. A photo showing you with the item is useful. A receipt, credit card slip or other proof of purchase also establishes value and ownership. If you have no other proof, you can offer to the insurance company a written statement by someone who knows that you had the item. The insurance company does not have to pay the cost of replacing your personal property. Instead, it only has to pay you the actual cash value, which is the item’s current market or resale value.

Can I settle on the property damage claim with releasing my injury claim?
Typically, the negligent driver’s insurance company will pay for damage to your car and property soon after the accident. Damage to your car can be settled before and separate from your personal injury claim in Colorado. However, you must be sure that when you settle on your car the release you sign clearly states property damage only. Again, this is very important. You should consult an attorney before signing any release to make sure that you are not releasing your Colorado personal injury claims.

Will my case require a jury trial?
Every case is different and unique. However, there may be several opportunities along the way to explore reaching a fair resolution of your case without going to trial, if that is your desire. The mere fact that you hired an attorney does not necessarily mean that your case will wind up in Colorado court. But keep an open mind to allowing a jury to decide your case on the merits if the insurance company is not fair.

How long will it take to resolve my legal issue?
It depends on the complexity of your case and frequently Colorado cases can be resolved through settlement in a matter of months. If a lawsuit is filed, it can take approximately 12 to 18 months to get the case to trial in Colorado. Court delays and any appeals can increase the time to ultimately resolve the case through litigation. We strive to move our cases forward as quickly as possible, and to maintain a caseload that is not so heavy that any case falls behind. We communicate with our clients on a regular basis so that if a case will take a long time, the client understands why the time is necessary for thorough preparation of the case.

How is my case valued?
Every case is different and unique and no two cases are the same. The value of a your Colorado injury case depends upon the facts and circumstances. A determination about the range of fair compensation cannot be made until relevant facts and factors are considered. The value of a claim includes medical care and related expenses, time off work, pain and physical suffering and permanent physical disability or disfigurement. While it is easy to add up the cost of medical bills and time off work, there is no precise, set formula on your pain and suffering. For example, the value of a scar or disfigurement may have very little relation to the amount of related bills associated with the scar or disfigurement.

Is my claim worth more than the medical bills?
The settlement value of a case is typically more than the medical bills in Colorado. This assumes that the medical treatment was reasonable and necessary for the type of injury you sustained and that there was no comparative fault on your part in causing the accident. You should be compensated for reasonably related expenses such as past and future medical bills and lost wages. In addition, you can receive damages for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can sometimes be explained in terms of restrictions, limitations, or the effect your injuries had on your life and daily routine. The value of pain and suffering can be a significant portion of the value of your case.

How much will I recover?
The answer to this question depends on numerous factors, which may include extent of culpability of the wrongdoer, whether the wrongdoer admits liability at trial, the extent of your injury and losses, whether the law will hold someone liable for your injury, “tort reform” caps on your damages, availability of expert opinion, pretrial and trial rulings of the court, whether the wrongdoer has insurance or money to pay for your injury, any contributory fault, whether the case is in federal or state court (including which county in Colorado), and the fees and costs required to obtain a recovery. No lawyer can guarantee a recovery or result.

What Parts of Colorado do you handle personal injury cases?
We offer personal injury lawyer representation throughout the state of Colorado, including handling auto accident cases and personal injury cases in all Front Range and Western Slope cities such as Denver, Aurora, Arvada, Littleton, Thornton, Westminster, Brighton, Boulder, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Pueblo, Greeley, Windsor, Loveland, Longmont, Denver County, Arapahoe County, Adams County, Douglas County, Boulder County, Jefferson County, and El Paso County, Colorado. We handle Auto accidents, legal malpractice, and wrongful death cases.

Call for free consultation if you are looking for a Denver car accident attorneys or Lawyers in Colorado. We offer services throughout the State of Colorado including all Front Range and Western Slope cities such as car accident injuries in Aurora, motorcycle accidents in Arvada, boating accidents in Littleton, semi-truck crashes in Thornton, big rig collisions in Westminster, dog bite accidents in Brighton, Highway Accidents in Boulder, car wrecks in Castle Rock, legal malpractice injuries in Colorado Springs, bike accidents in Fort Collins, pedestrian crashes in Grand Junction, running or jogging injuries in Pueblo, ski injury Accidents in Greeley, snowboarding injuries in Castle Rock, skiing accident in Monument, and car crashes in Longmont. We also represent clients in Denver County Car Accidents in, Arapahoe County motorcycle accident, Adams County wrongful death accident, Douglas County semi-truck accident, Boulder County boat accident Jefferson County personal injuries, and El Paso County car injury law and all other Colorado Car Accidents.


Show Comments