If you were injured in a car accident, you might be wondering “how much is my case worth.” Naturally, people are curious about the amount of compensation they can anticipate after an accident. It is a common, and important, question for people considering a personal injury lawsuit.
Factors That Determine The Value of Your Car Accident Settlement in colorado
After a car accident in Colorado, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries and for the damages that were caused by someone else. The amount of money an injured individual can potentially receive by filing a legal claim depends on various factors. Some of the factors that impact a car accident settlement in Colorado include:
- The details of your accident
- Liability, or who is responsible for your injury
- Financial and non-financial losses, also known as damages
- Your insurance policies and coverage in place, as well as the policy of the person liable for your injury
- Whether or not you hire a personal injury attorney
Colorado is an “at-fault” state. This means the party responsible for an accident, or an injury that was caused by an accident, is responsible for paying damages through an insurance carrier. Liability of another party, the defendant, must be evident; the defendant must have acted in a way which was negligent and caused you harm. Colorado also follows a “comparative negligence” statute. Under this law, if a driver is 50% or more at fault for an accident, that party forfeits any right to receive compensation for their injuries. Comparative negligence also means that a plaintiff’s damages gets reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault for the wreck or accident. For example, if evidence proves the other party is 60% at fault, and you 40% at fault for the accident, your potential compensation will decrease by that percentage.
Where there is no dispute as to fault, liability is admitted by the defense and the only question is the damages to be paid. Very few cases involve admitted liability. The defense lawyer typically argues that the risk of injury was assumed by the victim or that the negligence of the victim contributed to the cause of the accident.
Establishing liability, or the percentage of liability, is a critical piece of valuing a personal injury case. The more clearly liability can be established, the stronger the claim. Because fault percentages drastically impact recovery amounts, working with a personal injury attorney with experience investigating and establishing liability will often result in a better outcome for a plaintiff.
What Compensation Am I Entitled To After a denver Car Accident?
The types of compensation you can receive after a car accident in Colorado are called damages. Damages are the losses and harm you have suffered as a result of your accident, valued in a dollar amount. Damages fall into two categories called economic damages and non-economic damages, and include:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Future Earning Capacity
- Property Damage
- Car Repair or Replacement
- Rental Vehicle Costs
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of enjoyment/quality of life
Learn more about compensation after a car accident.
Colorado requires every automobile owner to carry liability insurance. Liability insurance always comes with a policy limit. Policy limits refer to the maximum amount of money the insurance company will pay on behalf of the person for damage they caused. Liability insurance covers bodily injury to another person or property damage to another’s vehicle or property when the insured is at fault for an accident. Colorado requires the following minimum coverages, although higher coverages may be purchased:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident;
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident; and
- $15,000 for property damage in any one accident.
For example, let’s say you were involved in a motorcycle accident and the at-fault driver’s insurance has a policy limit of $25,000 for bodily injury. $25,000 is the maximum amount the insurer is legally obligated cover for your harms and losses, even if your medical costs, lost wages, quality of life losses, and other expenses exceed that amount. If expenses exceed that amount, a plaintiff can file a lawsuit for additional damages.
If you were involved in an accident with a person without insurance, or with someone with a policy that is insufficient to cover your losses, you will need to rely on your own insurance coverage to help you recover your losses. Most insurance companies offer an “uninsured/underinsured motorist” policy that provides you with insurance coverage if a driver with little or no insurance causes your injury.
How Will Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in denver Help Me?
Unfortunate, but true, insurance companies are not on your side. These companies make money by taking in as many premiums as possible and paying out as little as possible. Once an insurance company is notified of a car accident, they are working with an army of attorneys to figure out how to devalue your claim. Without legal representation, you are at the mercy of the insurance company and its settlement tactics.
Although the majority of personal injury cases – around 95% – are settled before trial, working with a lawyer with a successful history of taking cases to court creates significant leverage in car accident cases. This is because insurance companies keep track of attorneys who take cases to court and win. The more likely it is that an attorney will go to trial, and the higher their success rate, the more likely it is that an insurance company will be willing to offer a higher settlement in order to avoid trial and the possibility of a significant verdict against them.
When you work with an attorney who isn’t afraid to go to trial and has a history of winning, you immediately have strength in negotiating power. Thus, increasing your chances of receiving the full and fair value of your claim.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Chalat Hatten & Banker
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle collision, you have legal options. Our injury lawyers have successfully represented injured victims across the state of Colorado since we were founded more than three decades ago. Our legal team serves various areas in Colorado, including Denver, Aurora, Fort Collins, Boulder, Littleton, Pueblo, and Parker. Call our car crash law firm today for a free consultation or fill out the form below.