Even when you’re familiar with laws that allow you to recover monetary damages as an accident victim, you may not know the basics of personal injury compensation or how the amount is calculated.
The details will vary according to your specific situation, and a Colorado personal injury attorney can provide more personalized information.
However, you might find it useful to review background on what’s available to victims in these types of cases.
Why Personal Injury Compensation Matters
The whole point of compensation is to reimburse you for losses that you suffer because of someone else’s negligence. If it weren’t for the other party’s careless acts, you wouldn’t experience these damages. Though monetary damages can’t always put you in the same position you’d be if the accident had never happened, they’re intended to make you as whole as possible.
One type of compensation in a personal injury case is to pay you back for ascertainable losses. Economic damages are losses that you prove through documentation or other verifiable means.
You receive invoices or other paperwork for medical treatment, including surgery, medications, doctor visits, appointments with specialists, emergency care, hospitalization, and other costs.
Plus, if you missed work because of your injuries, you can use your past pay stubs or income tax records to make a claim for lost wages.
This form of compensation is not so easy to prove, but you still experience hardship because of your injuries. Non-economic damages include pain, suffering, scarring, disfigurement, diminished quality of life, and related losses. Because you don’t get receipts, invoices, or other documentation, you must rely on other tactics to prove them.
Personal injury attorneys have strategies for establishing non-economic damages, both in negotiations with insurance companies and in court.
You’re more likely to recover fair, reasonable personal injury compensation with:
Though your history of diagnosis and treatment is useful for proving economic damages, your medical records also play a role with non-economic losses. These documents contain detailed descriptions of your injuries, the severity, and what you went through to return to health. They also reveal the facts if you’re unable to fully recover and will be permanently disabled.
Plus, medical records can describe your physical limitations and how they affect your life.
Your medical records are obviously important, but they can only prove your right to non-economic damages if someone else can understand them. Medical experts can help explain highly technical medical issues in terms that a non-medical person can comprehend. They can describe the extent of your pain and suffering because they’ve probably treated someone else with the same conditions.
In addition, medical professionals can lay out the prognosis and what lies ahead for someone who has suffered the same injuries as you. If the pain is likely to linger, an expert can put this discomfort into perspective for others – including a claims adjuster or member of the jury.
In some cases, your injuries will affect your future – both in terms of what you can earn as income and how much you may expend for additional treatment. An economist, actuary, or another financial professional can help put a dollar value on these non-economic losses.
Limitations on Personal Injury Compensation
When considering personal injury compensation, you should also note the factors that may affect your rights. For one, Colorado’s statute of limitations allows you three years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. You’ll recover zero compensation if you don’t sue the responsible party within this time frame. Plus:
- Colorado law follows the rule of comparative negligence, which could impact your compensation if you were partially at fault for your own injuries. Your monetary damages are reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to your actions.
- There is a cap on non-economic damages in Colorado, so you cannot recover compensation in excess of the statutory limit. The amount changes based upon inflation, but the base ranges from $250,000 – $500,000 depending on your circumstances. The statutory cap does not affect your compensation for economic losses.
A Colorado Personal Injury Attorney Can Explain the Details on Compensation
The amount of personal injury compensation varies according to the details of your case, but most claims will usually involve one or more of these types of damages. If you have questions or want to know more about how compensation works in a personal injury claim, please contact McCormick & Murphy, P.C.
We can set up a consultation at any of our Central Colorado offices in Denver, Colorado Springs, or Pueblo.