According to research conducted by the National Safety Council, injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents that required medical attention totaled 4.6 million in 2016, and more than 40,000 fatalities occurred.
Although every personal injury is unique, personal injury lawsuits brought to collect monetary damages from the responsible party have many similarities, such as:
1. An Accident and Subsequent Injury
Most, if not all, personal injury lawsuits arose from some sort of accident –– a car collision, slip and fall accident, or animal bite, for example –– in which one or more people sustained an injury. Accidents happen every day, but if no one was injured as a result and no damages occurred, there is nothing to base a personal injury lawsuit on, and therefore no viable case exists.
2. Negligent Conduct
Just because an injury occurred doesn’t mean cause for a personal injury claim exists. Most personal injury cases are built on the theory of negligence, which is the failure to meet a standard of behavior intended to protect other people from unreasonable risk. To recover damages, injured parties must prove four elements: duty, breach of duty, proximate cause, and damages. If one or more of these elements cannot be established, monetary compensation is unlikely to be available.
3. Limited Time
Due to a state’s statute of limitations, an accident victim only has a limited amount of time to file a personal injury claim in court. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for negligence actions, such as accidents, slip and falls, and other civil torts, is two years, three years if a motor vehicle was involved. Once the statute of limitations expires, a claim cannot be pursued regarding that particular accident.
4. Insurance Companies
Most personal injury cases involve insurance companies, particularly those related to automobile accidents, medical malpractice, and premises liability. Because insurance adjusters are focused on protecting the financial interests of the insurance company they work for, settlement offers are often not fair since they reflect an attempt to limit the exposure of the insurer.
Personal injury cases attempt to identify the person or entity at fault for an injury and require the responsible party to compensate the injured victim for their losses. Many states, including Colorado, follow a modified comparative fault model that allows a victim to pursue compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, even if the victim was partially at fault – just not more than 50 percent at fault.
All personal injury claims are eventually resolved, either through an out of court settlement or at trial. The victim’s personal injury attorney may be able to successfully negotiate a monetary settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Sometimes a settlement is reached through mediation, a collaborative process in which a third party mediator helps the parties work toward an agreement. If a settlement between the parties cannot be reached, the matter will proceed to a court trial.
Because personal injury cases are often complex in nature, injury victims should consult with several attorneys before deciding which one will best represent their interests. The attorney you choose should have significant personal injury experience to pursue your claim and obtain maximum compensation for you.
If you are looking for competent legal advice regarding your personal injury case, contact Colorado accident attorney Dan Rosen for a free consultation. With more than 30 years of experience and $100 million in settlements, Dan helps accident victims overcome their injuries and receive the compensation they deserve.