Mintz Law Firm
Idaho Springs Car Accident Lawyer
Whether you’re rushing to an event or heading to work, when we get into our cars, we expect to make it safely to our destination. Unfortunately, even when we do everything right, we’re unable to control other people’s actions. Reckless and careless driving can turn a normal day into a traumatic experience that completely turns your world upside down. Car accidents have the potential to cause severe and even life-threatening injuries.
Mintz Law Firm is a personal injury firm that cares deeply for our clients. We know that our clients are coming to us during one of the hardest times in their lives and that they deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. Our experienced personal injury attorneys aggressively pursue maximum compensation on behalf of our clients and ensure that they get fair treatment throughout the negotiating process. As a results-oriented firm, Mintz Law Firm does everything in our power to build strong evidence-based cases that will lead to success.
Colorado Is an At-Fault State: What Does That Mean?
In no-fault states, drivers need to turn to their own insurance policies to recover compensation, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Only once their injuries have reached a certain threshold can they file a claim against the at-fault driver. However, in an at-fault state, drivers can file a claim against the responsible party without needing to reach a certain threshold.
Colorado allows accident victims to seek compensation after an accident in one of three ways:
- Filing a claim with their personal insurance company if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured
- Filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
Pursuing a claim, whether it’s against the at-fault driver or with your own insurance because the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, can be a complicated process. The best way to ensure you have the best chance possible to secure a favorable settlement or verdict is to work with a skilled and knowledgeable car accident attorney.
Colorado’s Comparative Negligence and How it Impacts Car Accident Claims
Colorado also operates under the modified comparative negligence legal theory, which states that a party who is less than 50% responsible for the accident is allowed to seek compensation for their injuries. However, the amount of damages they are eligible to collect will be reduced by the percentage of their own responsibility for the accident. If the party trying to file a claim is determined to be at least 50% responsible for the accident, they will be unable to receive compensation.
Comparative negligence keeps in mind that sometimes, both parties involved in a car accident contributed to the accident. However, if one party was more at-fault for the accident, it will make them liable for more damages. Parties determined to be at-fault will not need to fully compensate the other party because they are not 100% responsible for the accident occurring.
For instance, if the court finds that the injured party was speeding prior to colliding with a drunk driver, they may determine that the injured party was 10% responsible for their own injuries and the accident. Therefore, the drunk driver will only need to compensate the injured driver for 90% of the damages.
What Determines Fault in a Colorado Car Accident?
Colorado car accident claims, like most personal injury claims, generally use the theory of negligence to determine fault in an accident. Negligence is proven by establishing the following elements:
Duty of Care
All Colorado drivers are held to a duty of care when operating their vehicles. Drivers must adhere to traffic laws and exercise reasonable care. Reasonable care is typically determined by examining what a reasonable person would do in the same or similar circumstances. Since all drivers owe those around them a duty of care, proving this element usually requires proving the at-fault party was behind the wheel at the time of the accident.
Breach of Duty of Care
When drivers fail to exercise reasonable care or violate traffic laws, they are breaching their duty of care. Common examples of behaviors that breach duty of care include:
- Running red lights
- Failing to stop completely at a stop sign
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Changing lanes in an unsafe manner
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
It’s up to you or your car accident attorney to provide the necessary to demonstrate how the at-fault party breached their duty of care.
While it’s illegal for the at-fault driver to have violated traffic laws or failed to exercise reasonable care, their careless or reckless behavior isn’t enough for a successful personal injury claim. A successful claim requires proving that there’s a direct or proximate link between the at-fault driver’s breach of duty and the accident and your injuries. In other words, it must be proven with sufficient evidence that it’s more likely than not that their breach of duty was the direct cause or significant contributory factor of your injuries and related losses.
Once it’s been proven that the at-fault driver is responsible for your injuries, the existence and need for damages need to be established. Depending on your injuries and the circumstances of the accident, the following damages may be available:
- Economic damages: These include quantifiable losses supported by receipts, bills, and other physical evidence of costs.
- Non-economic damages: These represent subjective losses characterized by emotional and psychological harm resulting from the car accident.
- Punitive damages: These damages are only awarded in certain circumstances. Punitive damages aim to punish the at-fault party and deter others from committing similar actions. Obtaining these damages requires evidence of willful and wanton misconduct.
Recovering any of these damages requires an extensive investigation of the accident and the physical, personal, and financial impacts you’ve experienced as a result. A car accident attorney has the skills and resources to accurately determine the value of your claim and ensure you’re only accepting settlements that have your best interests in mind.
Contact an Experienced Idaho Springs Car Accident Lawyer
When you’ve suffered a traumatic accident, the at-fault party and their insurance will likely try to get out of paying you the compensation you are rightfully owed. The sooner your case and accident scene are evaluated by a car accident attorney, the better the chances of recovering maximum compensation.
For years, Mintz Law Firm has provided aggressive and diligent representation to all our clients. Our car accident attorneys handle all their cases with the personalized and detailed attention they deserve. At Mintz Law Firm, our priority is protecting our client's best interests and securing the best possible outcomes on their behalf. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by completing our contact form or calling (303) 462-2999.