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Worker’s Compensation for the Colorado State Trooper: Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (Part 1 of 3)

By Burg Simpson

February 17, 2015   Colorado Blog, Colorado Workers' Compensation

At Burg Simpson, we often represent members of the Colorado State Patrol who are involved in Worker’s Compensation cases. The information contained within this article could significantly impact you and your family if you were to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. As a State Trooper, you spend an extraordinary amount of time in your vehicle. As a result, you are statistically more likely to be involved in a serious car accident. This 3-part blog series is intended to address some of the questions that often arise in the course of those discussions.

What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (hereafter U-coverage) is a policy that can be purchased through your personal car insurance policy. It is intended to provide you additional insurance coverage in the event that you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and the at-fault driver either has insufficient or no insurance coverage.

Why is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Important

Colorado only requires drivers to carry $25,000 in liability auto insurance coverage. If you are significantly injured in an auto accident, $25,000 will do very little to cover your injuries and damages. Furthermore, many drivers in Colorado have NO auto insurance. This means that if you are injured by an uninsured driver, you may have zero chance of any financial recovery.

As of 2014, Colorado ranks among the top ten states for uninsured motorists. According to the Denver Post, “Nearly one out of every six motorists in the state was driving without auto insurance coverage in 2012, the ninth-worst ratio in the country, according to a report from the Insurance Research Council.” That works out to 16.2 percent of drivers in the state, or nearly 600,000 motorists that do not have auto insurance.

If you are involved in an accident, it is likely that the at-fault driver will either have no insurance coverage or the required state minimum of $25,000. A U-coverage policy will provide you an additional safety net of recovery in order to protect you and your family from instances where the at-fault driver’s insurance is lacking compared to the damages you have suffered.

Does Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage apply if I am in an accident while on duty and driving a Patrol car?

YES. U-coverage can be applied no matter what vehicle you are driving. Therefore, it does apply even while you are on duty and driving a Patrol car.

If you are involved in a car accident while on duty, you may have 3 potential claims. First, you will have a workers’ compensation claim since the injury occurred while in the course and scope of your employment with Patrol. Second, you will have a personal injury case against the at-fault driver. Third, if you have U-coverage, a claim can be brought under that policy in order to recover additional money if the at-fault driver either has limited or no insurance.

This information is not to be interpreted as providing legal services nor as proposing any form of legal advice. You should always consult with an attorney regarding any potential legal action or application of insurance policies.

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