Colorado’s House Bill 19-1283 passed in 2019 and becomes effective on January 1, 2020. The purpose of this law is to provide the citizens of Colorado transparency in the insurance claims process by understanding the total amount of insurance coverage available to them when they’ve been injured in an auto accident. The law will apply to any automobile insurer that provides or may provide commercial or personal automotive liability coverage to pay for some or all of a prospective claim.
According to this law, the insurer will be required to provide claimants or their attorneys, within 30 days of receiving a written request, with a statement — via fax, mail, or email — that sets forth the following information regarding any policy their insured may have that may provide coverage for a pending claim, including excess or umbrella insurance:
What Are Liability Limits?
Colorado law requires that drivers insure their vehicles with at least $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident of bodily injury liability coverage. That means that a “minimum limit” policy of $25,000.00 may provide an injured party with up to $25,000.00 of coverage for the damages the at fault party caused. In the same scenario, if multiple people are injured, then the combined minimum limit of coverage for all bodily injury damages is $50,000.00 – regardless of the number of claimants or injured parties.
Colorado drivers can elect to get more insurance coverage, and many do if they have assets that are in excess of $25,000.00.
Why Was This New Bill Passed?
The idea is to emphasize transparency and reduce litigation. Currently, the liability insurance carrier for the liable party does not have to disclose the liability insurance policy or the amount of coverage provided by the policy until the injured party files a lawsuit against the defendant. Colorado lawmakers want to lessen the litigation caused by the insurance companies’ failure to be forthcoming about the amount of insurance coverage a defendant has.
This new law is also designed to help injured parties evaluate whether their underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage will be triggered. By having the liability limit information available to them, injured parties and their insurance provider will know sooner whether they will need to make a UIM claim against their own insurance policy, and the UIM insurance carriers will be able to start evaluating the claims sooner.
What Happens If The New Law Is Violated?
Any insurer that violates the disclosure requirement will be liable to the claimant for $100 per day, starting on and including the 31st day after the claimant’s written request was received. These damages continue to accumulate until the insurer provides the necessary information. Any insurer that doesn’t comply with the mandatory disclosure rules will also be responsible to pay attorney fees, plus any costs incurred in enforcing the penalty.
All in All: a Win for Colorado’s Auto Accident Victims
Having accurate and reliable information regarding a defendant’s total available insurance coverage will help accident victims, and their attorneys make the best decisions about their cases.
At Mintz Law Firm, we know what is at stake. We work with our clients, striving to achieve the best possible outcome for each situation, and guiding them to do what is in their best interest. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, fill out a contact form or call us at 303-462-2999 today!