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Is Colorado a No-Fault State?

Posted on December 1, 2022 in

There are around a dozen states around the US that operate under a no-fault system when it comes to auto insurance. However, Colorado is not a no-fault state. Colorado handles vehicle accidents using a fault-based system, just like most other states around the country. Here, we want to describe what this actually means when it comes to vehicle accidents and insurance.

What is a No-Fault System?

A no-fault vehicle accident insurance system operates differently than what many people are used to. When an accident occurs in a no-fault state, each driver will turn to their own insurance carrier for compensation in most circumstances. It does not matter who caused the accident.

There are some benefits to a no-fault system. Typically, individuals receive compensation for their losses much quicker than they would if they had to go through the traditional fault-based process to recover damages. That is because it will not matter which party caused the incident, so the investigation into fault will not matter as much.

However, there are provisions in most no-fault insurance systems that allow crash victims to step outside of the no-fault system and file a claim directly against the other driver. Specifically, these provisions usually apply if there is a certain threshold of monetary damages or if the injuries are considered severe.

How the Fault-Based System Works

Colorado operates on a traditional fault-based system when it comes to vehicle accidents. After a collision occurs, there will need to be a determination of which party was at fault for the incident. An investigation is usually conducted, and this investigation begins at the scene of the incident. The police will fill out an accident report based on the evidence. Additionally, there may be further investigations by law enforcement, attorneys, and insurance carriers to figure out exactly what happened.

If another driver is responsible for causing an accident, then they and their insurance carrier will be responsible for paying compensation to others for their injury and property damage expenses.

Not every claim is straightforward, though. Colorado uses a comparative negligence system to determine how compensation is paid if more than one party is responsible for an accident. In this state, individuals are not able to recover compensation if they are more than 50% responsible for the incident. However, they can recover compensation if they are less than 50% responsible. However, the total amount of compensation they receive under this scenario will be reduced depending on their percentage of fault.

Every driver in the state of Colorado is required to carry a certain amount of insurance if they wish to remain legal on the roadway. The at-fault driver’s insurance carrier should pay compensation to the crash victim, but there are times when insurance carriers put up a fight from having to pay out compensation. Sometimes, insurance carriers outright deny a claim.

Under Colorado’s fault-based system, it is possible for crash victims to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover compensation in these situations. Lawsuits usually only occur if the insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement or if they deny the claim altogether.

Contact our Denver car accident attorneys for help with your claim.