If you are injured because of the acts of another person and plan to sue, the first thing you need to consider is whether it is financially reasonable to do so. Hiring a lawyer and filing a personal injury lawsuit is no small task. If the amount you stand to obtain is too small, you could end up spending more on your lawyer and court fees than the amount you would actually win. Hence, it is important to discern how much money you can obtain before going through with a suit.

Below are a few frequently asked questions to help you examine your chances for a substantive recovery.

What damages can I receive?

The first category of damages you may be able to receive are called compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are given to you by the opposing party to compensate you for the amount of money you lost due to your injury. These damages include most personal damages and property damages, such as past, present, and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity over time, and damages to your vehicle, house, or other property. Although these types of damages are easy to calculate, there are other types of damages that are more difficult to put a figure on. For example, damages for pain and suffering may also be awarded by a court.

Punitive damages are a second category of damages you may also receive. Punitive damages are given to a plaintiff to punish a defendant for particularly abhorrent behavior, and are not given to specifically compensate the victim. In Colorado, a plaintiff cannot request punitive damages when he or she files the lawsuit but must wait until a verdict is reached. Further, punitive damages are prohibited from exceeding the amount of compensatory damages in most cases.

Can I still obtain compensation if I was partially to blame for what happened?

It depends on your jurisdiction. Comparative negligence allocates damages by the percentage that each person was at fault, and then each party to the case pays the other’s damages accordingly. Colorado follows a modified comparative fault rule, this means a claimant’s fault must be lower than the defendant’s fault. Hence, if you are at fault 49% and the defendant is at fault 51% you can recover.  However, if you are at fault 50% or 51%, for example, then you will not be able to recover damages.

How much does a lawyer cost, and how long will my lawsuit take?

Both of these questions are difficult to answer. In terms of cost, lawyers charge different amounts and handle fees in different ways. For example, while some attorneys will charge you for the time they spend on your case, others will charge you a contingent fee.  The same goes for time. Each case is unique and exceptional in different ways. Hence, it is difficult to generalize a time frame.

If you or someone you know has been injured and has questions regarding the viability of lawsuit, contact McCormick & Murphy today.

May 30, 2016 | Personal Injury FAQs

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