What Colorado Accident Attorneys Look for When They Evaluate a Potential Claim
When someone suffers a personal injury due to the carelessness of another party, one of the first things they must decide is whether or not to seek compensation for the damages they suffered. To help make this decision, they should seek advice from an experienced Colorado personal injury lawyer who will review the facts of their case and decide if it is worth pursuing.
So exactly what do lawyers look for when they evaluate a potential personal injury case?
Most personal injury cases are based on the theory of negligence: the failure to exercise the care toward others that a reasonable person would have done under similar circumstances. When an attorney evaluates a potential case, they are really determining whether or not all the elements of a negligence claim can be successfully proven. The four elements of a negligence case include:
Duty of Care
For a negligence claim to be successful, it must be proven that the person responsible for their injury owed them a legal duty of care. A duty of care is present when the law recognizes a relationship between two parties. All drivers have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and passersby, and this duty requires them to obey all traffic laws and avoid causing unreasonable dangers to others. In the event of an auto accident in Colorado, the at-fault motorist must have owed this duty of care to the injured party in order to be held liable for their damages.
Breach of Duty
The second element of a negligence case is a breach of the duty of care. To prove this element, the injured party must establish that a breach occurred when the responsible party did not exercise reasonable care while fulfilling a duty. Some examples of duty of care breaches that commonly occur in personal injury cases include exceeding the speed limit, failing to heed a traffic signal, or neglecting to allow a safe following distance when approaching an intersection, endangering others.
The third element of negligence that must be proven in order to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit is causation. This means that the breach of the duty of care must be the legal cause of the harm sustained by the injured person. Actual and proximate cause are the two types of legal cause. Actual cause is present if the injured person would not have suffered the injury had the breach not occurred. Proximate cause exists if the type and degree of the person’s injuries were reasonably connected to the liable party’s breach.
The fourth element of a negligence claim is damages. To be eligible for compensation, the injured person must prove that they suffered an injury that can be remedied by monetary damages. Some common compensable damages include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. If the injured party sustained only minor injuries or no injuries at all, they will likely fail to meet this final element, but if the injuries were severe, long-term, or required extensive medical care, their chances of receiving compensation for them will generally increase.
Were you injured in a car accident in Colorado and don’t know whether or not you should bring a personal injury case? For competent legal advice from a skilled personal injury attorney, contact Dan Rosen for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.