Understanding the Basics of Personal Injury Claims
When you were hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, Colorado law allows you to recover compensation from the persons or entities whose carelessness caused the incident.
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What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury claim is how you go about enforcing your rights and receiving monetary damages for your losses.
In many situations, you would seek compensation from the responsible party’s insurance company. People carry insurance policies to protect their personal interests against exactly this type of situation. There are many scenarios that fall under the umbrella of personal injury claims, including:
- Crashes involving motor vehicles, including auto, truck, and motorcycle collisions;
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents;
- Injuries caused by dangerous conditions on property, often termed “slip and fall” cases;
- Dog bites and animal attacks;
- Injuries that result from a dangerous, defective consumer product;
- Nursing home neglect and abuse;
- Medical malpractice; and,
- Many more.
Depending on the nature of your injuries, there are multiple types of compensation available to cover your losses. Examples include:
- Medical bills you incur to treat your injuries;
- Lost wages, if your injuries prevent you from working;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring, disfigurement, and disability;
- Emotional distress;
- Losses based upon your relationships with loved ones; and,
- Decreased enjoyment of life.
Four Requirements for a Valid Personal Injury Lawsuit
The strength of your case and right to recover compensation as mentioned above depends on being able to prove the essential elements of a personal injury case.
It takes solid evidence and credible testimony to establish the four requirements of a negligence-based injury claim.
- Duty: You need to show that the responsible party had a duty to act with reasonable caution, so as to avoid causing a risk of injury to others.
- Breach: You must prove that the other person breached this duty by acting carelessly or in a way that deviates from what others would do in the same situation.
- Causation: Not all breaches of duty allows you to recover compensation, especially if they’re unrelated to how the injury-causing accident happened. Therefore, you need to show that you were hurt as a direct result of the responsible party’s misconduct.
- Damages: You have to present evidence of how your life was adversely affected as a result of your injuries.
Other Factors Affecting the Strength of Personal Injury Lawsuits
Though some issues are not included in the four essential elements of an accident claim, you must still be aware of two factors that can impact your success in a personal injury lawsuit. They include:
- Time Restrictions: Colorado has a statute of limitations, which gives you amount of time from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit in court. If you don’t initiate litigation before this deadline expires, you are barred by law from ever recovering compensation for your losses.
- Comparative Negligence: There’s another law in Colorado that may affect the amount of monetary damages you can receive. A rule called “comparative negligence” focuses on your own conduct in an injury-causing accident and whether certain acts may have contributed to your injuries. If you were partially at fault for creating your situation, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of blame attached to your actions.
Reasons Your Personal Injury Lawsuit May Fail
In measuring the strength of your personal injury case, it’s also critical to assess whether there are any weaknesses. Flaws are the first thing insurance companies will seize on and use to deny your claim.
Besides the statute of limitations and comparative negligence, you may be at a disadvantage if:
You failed to seek proper medical care after the accident
If you delay in getting treatment, you’re sending the message that your injuries aren’t serious. Going to the ER, an urgent care center, or your own doctor should be a priority for your claim – and it’s also essential for your overall health.
You said too much to the insurance company
When you file a claim with the responsible party’s insurer, the claims adjuster will want to talk to you the details. This employee isn’t concerned with your well-being; they’re looking to get as much information as possible from you about the accident.
Any statements you make can come back to haunt you.
You didn’t support your insurance claim with proper documentation
You can’t expect an insurance company to pay out compensation without getting supporting paperwork regarding your injuries and other losses. Your word alone isn’t enough, so you must include medical records, pay stubs, and other documents.
You shared too much on social media
Insurance companies can get a lot of information from your online profile, and some of what you share could hurt your claim. That picture of you out celebrating with friends contradicts your assertion that you’re at home suffering from your injuries.
You didn’t hire a skilled personal injury attorney
While much of this information on the strengths and weaknesses of your claim is useful, there’s much more you may not know if you don’t have a legal background. Trying to go it alone puts your rights at risk.
Personal Injury Articles & FAQ
- Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
- How Much Is My Injury Case Worth?
- What Types of Compensation Are Available in Personal Injury Claims?
- How Long Will My Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
- What Questions Should I Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer About My Case?
- What Should I Know About Negotiating with the Insurance Company?
Schedule a Free Case Review with a Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you were hurt in an accident and want to know more about the strength of your personal injury lawsuit, please contact McCormick & Murphy, P.C.
We can set up a free consultation to review your circumstances, answer your questions, and explain your legal remedies. Our team represents clients throughout Central Colorado from our offices in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo, and we’re dedicated to fighting for your rights as a victim.