The Factors Involved in Estimating the Worth of Your Colorado Claim
There is no typical, minimum, or maximum amount that a Colorado personal injury case might settle for. Since every case is unique, your settlement will depend upon a number of factors.
The Details and Degree of Injuries Sustained
Severe or permanent injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury or paralysis, generally yield larger settlements than soft-tissue injuries such as whiplash or a sprain, but this might not always be the case. Evidence of permanent and significant scarring or disfigurement will likely increase the overall settlement award and may allow recovery for pain and suffering as well, although Colorado limits the amount of pain and suffering damages that may be awarded in most personal injury cases to $250,000.
Comparative Negligence in Colorado
In order to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant’s negligence must be the cause of the injury. To prove negligence four elements must be established: duty, breach of duty, proximate cause, and damages.
Colorado applies a modified comparative fault rule to injury cases, meaning that an injured plaintiff’s damages award will be lowered by the level of his or her relative fault. Plaintiffs who are found to be less than 50 percent at fault will be eligible for a reduced damage award, but if they are found to have been 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, they will be barred from collecting anything.
The size of the settlement in an injury claim may also increase dramatically if one of the parties is found to have been impaired by alcohol, drugs, or medication at the time of the accident.
However, if you fail to mitigate your damages, such as by not complying with your physician’s advice regarding the treatment of your accident-related injuries, this can reduce the value of an injury case.
Documentation and Proof of Liability
Photographs that document the damage, accident scene, weather and road conditions, along with the presence of eyewitnesses to the accident, can affect the size of the settlement in an accident case. Even if liability can be proven, if there is no payment source, an injured person may be unable to recover damages except under the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on their own policy.
Although the force of the impact is not always a true indicator of the severity of the injuries, insurance companies tend to put some stock in vehicle damage when calculating the value of an injury case.
Income Lost and Expenses Incurred
If someone’s negligence caused you to lose money by being unable to work, your lost wages will impact the size of the settlement in the case. If your injuries have diminished your future earning capacity, your potential for recovery will likely improve. Your injury-related medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related expenses will be the basis of your injury claim, along with the cost of any future medical treatment you may require.
Contact an Experienced Colorado Personal Injury Attorney
Generally speaking, injured people who retain legal counsel are more likely to recover larger damage awards in a personal injury case than plaintiffs who represent themselves. Are you thinking of pursuing a personal injury case against a negligent driver in Colorado? Contact personal injury attorney Dan Rosen to discuss your case and potential for recovery.