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Do I Have to Go to Court for a Car Accident in Denver?

July 15, 2020

Seeking compensation for a car accident in Denver, Colorado can be a trying process. If it is your first time filing a claim to damages, you may not know what to expect. While there is a chance you may have to go to court to receive fair compensation, the majority of car accident claims settle at the insurance stage without the need for a personal injury trial. Do not let the fear of going to court, however, prevent you from fighting for the best outcome possible. A Denver car accident lawyer can make going to court easier for you and your family.

Courtroom

Negotiating With an Insurance Company

Whether or not you have to go to court depends largely on how your negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company go. Colorado is a fault-based car insurance state, meaning you will file your initial claim to damages with the insurance company of the person who caused the wreck. Soon after you report the accident, an insurance claims adjuster will contact you to begin a review of your case. You can increase your odds of obtaining fair compensation from the insurance company by knowing how to deal with the claims adjuster.

  • Do not admit fault. Do not admit that you had anything to do with causing the auto accident. Even if you think this might be true, wait for the results of an official police investigation. The other driver or someone else may have also played a role.
  • Do not say too much. Be careful how much information you give to a claims adjuster. He or she will be searching for ways to reduce your payout, as well as reasons to deny your claim. The insurance adjuster can twist what you say and use it against you.
  • Do not do it alone. You have less of a chance of obtaining maximum benefits from an insurance company as an unrepresented client. Insurers take clients more seriously when they hire attorneys to speak for them.

Settling your car insurance claim without going to court is more likely with assistance from an injury attorney in Denver. Your lawyer can use aggressive negotiation tactics to convince an insurance company to offer a reasonable amount for your medical bills and property damages. If negotiations fail to garner the results you need, your lawyer can go to the next step with you: mediation.

Settling Via Mediation

Mediation is a meeting between you, the defendant’s insurance company, a mediator and your attorneys (if desired). The mediator is not there to decide the outcome of your case. He or she is an unbiased third party available to hear both sides of the story and help you facilitate a settlement agreement. Mediation is not the same as taking a case to trial. It usually takes place in an attorney’s office or similar location, not a courtroom. If you and the insurer still cannot reach an agreement, your case may need to proceed to court.

Taking Your Claim to Court

A car accident claim in Denver may need to go to court if the insurance company involved refuses to offer a fair settlement or denies the claim. Going to court seeks to prove the defendant’s fault for the auto accident to secure a judgment award from a jury or (less often) a judge. A judgment award is an amount the insurance company is legally obligated to pay you for your damages.

Taking your case to court rather than settling via insurance negotiations could result in a higher award. A positive verdict at trial could pay you for more than just property damages and medical costs. It could also include an award for your noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and lost quality of life. A judge may also grant punitive damages, in some cases. If your car accident case does go to trial in Denver, a lawyer can represent you. Your lawyer can handle all the steps of the trial process while you focus on your future.