Colorado’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law

Colorado’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law

Car keys with Automobile insurance coverage document

We commonly think of liability for car wrecks as black-and-white — if one person is at fault, the other must be the victim. However, the situation can be far more complicated than that. What if one driver was speeding and the other was looking at his phone? What if both drivers run stop signs? How do you determine fault? Once each party’s percentage of fault is determined, how does that affect what a plaintiff can recover? Understanding how fault is determined in a car accident claim is key to obtaining fair compensation.

Even when liability is in dispute, or the percentage of liability is in dispute, most cases are able to settle without going to trial. However, if a case involving a liability dispute does go to trial, the jury gets to decide the percentage of liability attributed to each party. In Colorado, the difference between a plaintiff being 50% liable versus 49% liable makes a huge difference in the outcome of the case because Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state. Our team of car accident lawyers at Mintz Law Firm can help you determine what amount of liability you and the other party have and then fight for your rights for the compensation you deserve. 

Other States’ Laws: Contributory Negligence and Pure Comparative Negligence

Some states apply to prohibit a plaintiff from recovering anything if their negligence contributes at all to the accident. Such laws are known as contributory negligence laws. Under contributory negligence, if a plaintiff is found to be as little as 1% at fault for the accident, the plaintiff is completely prohibited from making any recovery from the defendant. 

Some states utilize what is known as pure comparative negligence when awarding damages to a plaintiff who has some fault for the accident. In states that use pure comparative negligence, if the injured party is found to be partially liable, he or she may still receive compensation for their damages, but the recovery is reduced by their percentage of fault in the accident. 

Colorado Uses Modified Comparative Negligence

Remember earlier when we said that Colorado law requires a huge difference for a plaintiff who is 50% liable versus just 49% liable? That’s because Colorado utilizes modified comparative negligence. Under Colorado’s modified comparative negligence law, a plaintiff’s damages get reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault for the wreck or accident; however, if the plaintiff’s fault is greater than or equal to the combined fault of the defendant(s), the plaintiff gets nothing. 

For example, if injured Driver A is 52% responsible for causing an accident with Driver B (making Driver B “only” responsible for 48% of the accident), then Driver A, despite his or her injuries and nearly equal responsibility in causing the accident, is not entitled to recover damages. 

Of course, the more parties involved, the more complicated a case can get. However, as long as the plaintiff’s negligence is not more than that of all of the defendants combined, then the plaintiff is allowed to recover damages from the defendant, but the amount of the total damages is reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. If a case involves a plaintiff and two defendants, and they were determined to be 33 ⅓ % at fault, then the plaintiff could recover 33 ⅓ % from one defendant and 33 ⅓ % from the other defendant. 

It’s important to get legal help from an experienced car accident attorney who can help you determine who is responsible for the accident and ensure that you are not unfairly blamed and can recover full and fair compensation for your injuries.

How an Attorney Can Help You Navigate Colorado’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law

At Mintz Law Firm, our car accident lawyers specialize in guiding clients through their claims, helping them understand Colorado’s law, and ensuring their interests are protected and they receive the compensation they deserve. Our team can help you by providing the following: 

  • Thorough Investigation: Our experienced car accident attorneys gather evidence, consult with experts, and reconstruct the events to present a compelling argument on your behalf to ensure you can recover full and fair financial compensation.
  • Accurate Fault Assessment: Mintz Law Firm works diligently to minimize any attempts to overstate your responsibility. We build a strong case that clearly delineates the extent of your liability compared to other parties involved.
  • Skilled Negotiation: Negotiating with insurance companies or other involved parties requires skill and experience. Our car accident lawyers are adept at negotiations, ensuring that any attempts to unfairly shift blame are countered and that you receive a settlement that reflects the true circumstances of the incident.
  • Expert Legal Representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, Mintz Law Firm is prepared to provide expert legal representation in court. Our seasoned car accident attorneys have a track record of success in litigating cases.
  • Clear Communication: We ensure our clients fully understand the legal processes, their rights, and the potential outcomes. This transparency fosters trust and empowers our clients to make informed decisions.
  • Personalized Approach: Every case is unique, and our approach reflects this. Mintz Law Firm tailors our strategies to the specifics of each client’s situation, ensuring that the legal process is aligned with their individual needs and circumstances.

Navigating Colorado’s modified comparative negligence law requires legal expertise and a nuanced understanding of the intricacies involved. At Mintz Law Firm, we stand by our clients, providing unwavering support, and expert guidance that prioritizes their best interests. 

Disputing Insurance Determinations in a Colorado Car Accident Claim

Being deemed at fault in a car accident can be frustrating, especially when you believe the determination is unfair. Fortunately, if you find yourself in this situation in Colorado, you have the right to challenge the insurance company’s decision. Here’s what you need to know about disputing determinations in a car accident claim:

Filing an Internal Appeal

Upon receiving a determination that places you at fault, you can file an internal appeal with the insurance company. This process initiates a thorough investigation into the details of the accident. During the appeal, the insurance company will reassess the evidence, statements, and any additional information you provide.

Potential for Revised Liability

If the internal appeal uncovers compelling evidence in your favor, the insurance company may revise its determination of liability. This could result in a more accurate assignment of fault based on the newly presented information.

Seeking Legal Assistance

To navigate this process effectively and ensure your rights are protected, it’s advisable to consult with a Colorado car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can guide you on the best course of action, help gather pertinent evidence, and advocate on your behalf during the appeals process.

Mintz Law Firm is Here To Help Your Case

Questions about liability and how liability affects the outcome of a case can often be quite complex and require the assistance of a knowledgeable Colorado car accident attorneys. At Mintz Law Firm, our experienced car accident lawyers understand the impact that these questions have on your case and will fight to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve. 

To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, fill out a contact form or call us at (303) 462-2999 today.

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