Responsibility Based Upon Negligence, Recovery on Injuries Sustained
When a Colorado car accident occurs, compensation is not based upon the injury itself, but instead on who caused the injury – the one with whom liability rests.
Liability for an automobile accident case means legal responsibility for not only the accident but also for the subsequent injuries that were sustained. Although an admission of liability can sometimes be obtained, it is not completely necessary to resolve a case, although the injured person will have to prove fault in order to be eligible for compensation.
Proving Liability in a Colorado Personal Injury Case
Legal liability for an accident is typically based on whether or not a driver was negligent. But it’s not enough to say that the driver who caused your accident must pay for all your damages. You must first determine who was legally at fault. Most accidents happen because someone was careless; if one driver was more careless than another, they will likely be required to pay at least part of the damages sustained by the more careful driver.
In Colorado, a modified comparative fault rule allows a victim to pursue compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, even if the victim was partially at fault, as long as they are not more than 50 percent at fault. Those who are found to be more liable for their injuries than the defendant (more than 50 percent) will not be entitled to seek damages.
But if their degree of fault is determined to be less than 50 percent, they will be eligible for compensation equal to their relative degree of fault. This means that if total damages are $20,000 but the plaintiff is determined to be 20 percent at fault for his injuries, he will only receive 80 percent of the damages, or $16,000, not the full $20,000. If he is 51 percent or more at fault, he will receive nothing.
There is no exact formula for determining each person’s relative degree of fault, but factors such as the circumstances surrounding the accident, whether or not any citations were issued, and the severity of the injuries will all be taken into consideration.
A personal injury lawyer can help you get compensation for your losses.
Once you have established that someone else is liable for your injuries, you will need to prove that you suffered damages – physical and emotional injuries, property damages, and lost income – in order to receive monetary compensation. The more information, documents, receipts, medical charts, etc., you are able to provide regarding the type and extent of your injuries, the more you may be awarded.
The amount of money that you’ve spent treating your injuries and the wages you’ve lost due to the accident are relatively easy to quantify, but putting a dollar value on pain and suffering is usually not that simple. Insurance companies often place monetary value on pain and suffering by connecting it with the corresponding levels of pain created. Broken bones, ligament or cartilage tears, and spinal cord injuries that can be identified by medical tests are typically easier to prove than soft tissue injuries like strains, sprains, and whiplash, which do not show up on x-rays regardless of how painful they may be.
If you were injured in an automobile accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, contact a seasoned personal injury attorney Daniel R. Rosen for a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case.