Mintz Law Firm
Golden Personal Injury Attorneys
Whether you got into a car accident on your way to work or were bitten by a neighbor's dog, you probably didn’t start your day expecting to be in a situation that results in a trip to the emergency room. Even knowing that accidents happen, you expect to make it to your destination safely. This isn’t an unfair expectation. In fact, Colorado law recognizes that people expect safety, which is why a legal standard of reasonable care applies in most situations. When someone fails to act in a way that a reasonable person would to prevent harming someone, they can be held legally and financially responsible for the hurt and damage they cause.
Filing a personal injury claim isn’t easy, especially if you’re doing it while healing from some serious and painful injuries. At Mintz Law Firm, we are proud to offer the legal support you need to pursue fair compensation to focus on the most important thing—your health. Contact our firm today to start discussing your claim and get the advantage you need against insurance companies looking to protect their own best interests.
Why Is Duty of Care so Important to Personal Injury Cases?
In most personal injury cases, you’ll hear the term “duty of care” because it’s critical to building a negligence claim against the at-fault party. The first part of nearly every negligence-based case is proving that the at-fault party owed you, the claimant, a duty of care.
Duty of care refers to the appropriate way individuals and entities must act toward others to prevent causing physical, emotional, mental, and financial harm. To abide by the legal duty of care, individuals and entities must exercise a reasonable amount of attention and watchfulness that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances to prevent causing harm.
To pursue a negligence-based personal injury claim proving that a connection exists between the claimant and the at-fault party is key. The connection between the parties is often the relationship formed under the legal theory of duty of care. For instance, duty of care applies in the following situations:
- A driver owes a duty of care to other motorists, their passengers and pedestrians on the road
- Medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients
- Transportation companies owe the people they’re transporting a duty of care
- Business owners owe a duty of care to their customers
- Landlords and property owners owe a duty of care to visitors on their property
- Dog owners owe a duty of care to prevent their dog from biting or harming another person
A person or entity cannot be held liable for their action if there is no legal connection between them and the person they injured, which is why establishing duty of care is the first and crucial step to a personal injury claim.
How to Prove Negligence in a Golden Personal Injury Case
Once duty of care is established, then the next step is proving the at-fault party negligent. A simple definition of negligence is failing to act reasonably and carefully, and this failure leads to some form of harm to another individual. In a personal injury claim, the claimant bears the burden of proving that the at-fault party was negligent and that negligence led to their injury and other damages. Proving negligence means establishing the following four elements:
Duty of Care
As mentioned above, the first step in almost all personal injury cases is establishing a legal relationship between the claimant and the at-fault party. This relationship is often established by proving that the at-fault party owed the claimant a duty of care.
Breach of Duty of Care
The second component of a negligence claim is proving that the duty of care to the at-fault party owed was violated. The violation of their duty of care is negligent behavior that may consist of:
- Drunk driving
- Failing to maintain a property up to reasonably safe standards
- Misdiagnosing a patient or giving them the wrong dosage of a prescription
- Not keeping a dog on a leash
- Distributing a product that the company knew or should have known was not safe
Violating a legal duty of care places people at risk of being harmed; therefore, the at-fault party can be held liable for their actions.
Causation refers to cause and effect. This is true in personal injury cases. Proving a party was at fault isn’t enough to hold them accountable for their action. Their violation opens up the door for them to be legally held accountable, but for the claim to be successful, there must be a cause-and-effect relationship. Meaning that their violation (their negligent action) must have significantly contributed to or have been the direct cause of the accident and the injury and other damages the claimant suffered.
Generally, this means establishing that if not for the at-fault party’s violation of their duty of care, then the claimant would not have been injured or suffered any of their other damages. Even in cases where this connection seems obvious, for instance, a drunk driving accident, it can still be difficult to prove causation. The best chance claimants have at building a strong claim is by working with an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of personal injury law. They can use their knowledge and experience to fight for your best interests.
Proving the Existence of Damages and Their Monetary Value
After successfully proving that the at-fault party should be held financially responsible for the injuries and losses you’ve suffered, you (or your lawyer) must prove the existence and monetary value of your claim. You know that your injuries are the result of the accident. However, personal injury law requires that you prove not only that you sustained an injury but that it was because of the accident. This is usually done with medical evidence, this is why people are always advised to seek medical attention immediately after an accident and attend all their follow-up visits.
Once it’s proven that you sustained damages from the accident, the next step is to give them a monetary value. This is money that you’ll be asking the at-fault party to cover. Some damages are easy to calculate (car repairs, medical bills), but others are more difficult because they’re not easily quantifiable (pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life.) This is where you really benefit from the knowledge and resources of a seasoned attorney. They know how to fairly and accurately estimate the value of your damages, even those that seem unquantifiable.
Contact Our Experienced Golden Personal Injury Attorneys Today
Being injured in an accident can significantly impact your life. Between the medical bills and potentially being unable to work, sustaining a serious injury can derail your life. At Mintz Law Firm, our goal is to help our clients recover the compensation they deserve to get their lives back on track.
Mintz Law Firm is dedicated to helping injured individuals recover as quickly as possible from the debilitating, frustrating, and possibly life-changing effects of a personal injury sustained at the hands of someone else’s negligence. Fight for your right to compensation by contacting us today at (303) 462-2999 or filling out our contact form.