Car Accident Lawyer
People injured in auto accidents sometimes feel like they’ve been blindsided, not only by an accident they never saw coming but also by the complex insurance claims process that follows. Perhaps that’s the situation in which you now find yourself. You and your family have difficult months ahead. You will need to decide about your legal options while also focusing on your physical and emotional recovery. Those decisions will be easier for you to make — and make wisely — if you have an advocate and an experienced Denver car accident lawyer providing counsel.
Let us be that ally. Our Denver personal injury lawyers have represented victims in virtually every type of traffic accident across Colorado. We have focused much of our practice on people with serious or catastrophic injuries, and our lawyers have extensive experience with both the mechanics and the medicine. We have also helped families in the face of tragedy after losing a loved one in a fatal car accident caused by someone else.
The attorneys at Chalat Hatten Banker will advise and represent you so you do not face the insurance claims process and defense tactics on your own. We are here to expertly investigate, litigate and negotiate on your behalf.
Why Choose Chalat Law?
- No car accident case is ever the same which is why a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. We are known for developing winning, creative strategies tailored and individualized to every case to achieve the best outcomes for our clients and their families.
- Our Denver car accident lawyers have over 30 years’ experience successfully representing auto collision victims. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
- We are not a settlement mill. You are not a case number and will never be treated as such. Your recovery and future are always our priority.
- We operate on a contingency fee basis. You do not have to pay any legal fees unless we secure a settlement on your behalf.
Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Many people think they can handle a personal injury case on their own, and sometimes this is true. Legal services rarely are needed in incidents that didn’t involve injuries or serious damage. However, in more severe auto accident cases that cause extensive damage and result in serious or catastrophic injuries, you should always seek counsel.
Think of it like this: if your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic. When your faucet is leaks, you call a plumber. If you have pests in your home, you call an exterminator. Our personal injury attorneys are not only knowledgeable about medicine and the relevant laws and procedural rules that may affect a case but are also extremely adept at negotiating with insurance companies. This is our expertise. This is what we do every day, year-round.
Consider the additional reasons why it is a good idea to hire a Denver car accident lawyer:
It is common knowledge that insurance companies are not on your side.
They make money by taking in as many premiums as possible, holding and investing funds for as long as they can, and paying out as little as possible.
As soon as 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 their settlement tactics.
The vast majority of personal injury cases – around 95% – are settled before trial. However, hiring a lawyer with a successful history of taking cases to court creates great leverage. Why? Insurance companies do not want to go to court and they will keep track of attorneys who will take cases to trial and those who will settle at a discount. When you work with an attorney known to win in the courtroom, you immediately have strength in negotiating power. Thus, increasing your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
Liability & Medical Knowledge
One of the greatest responsibilities of a personal injury attorney is establishing and proving the harm suffered. An experienced car accident lawyer will also recognize harms you may not have even realized. They are skilled at compiling, preserving and presenting evidence to prove the other party’s liability for the accident, subsequent injuries, and the economic and non-economic damages lost and will be lost because of the accident.
A reputable car accident lawyer has access to resources such as expert witnesses and accident investigators which can be advantageous for receiving the full and fair value of your case.
What are Common Causes of Auto Accidents?
Though most people are familiar with the rules of the road and understand basic traffic safety, a new traffic accident occurs in the U.S. every minute. Preventable driver error, such as distracted or drunk driving, causes most motor vehicle accidents. Here are the top causes of car collisions:
Claiming 2,841 lives in 2018 alone, distracted driving has become a leading cause of car accidents. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving: talking on the phone, texting, adjusting the radio, applying makeup, eating or drinking.
Drunk & Drug-Impaired Driving
Over a quarter (25%) of all traffic-related deaths result directly from alcohol impairment, according to the US Department of Transportation. Alcohol
and drug impairment compromises the skills and abilities a person needs to safely operate a motor vehicle including judgment, concentration, coordination, comprehension, clarity or sharpness of vision and reaction time.
Colorado law forbids driving a vehicle in a way that shows a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of other people or property. Driving is considered reckless if it willfully disregards the safety of others. Wanton behavior is a conscious choice to do something dangerous. These can include: not adhering to stop signs or traffic lights, swerving into oncoming traffic, making dangerous traffic maneuvers such as weaving or tailgating.
Being sleepy at the wheel affects a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Drowsiness makes drivers less attentive, slows reaction time and affects a driver’s ability to make decisions.
Speeding poses many dangers, including: losing control of the vehicle, reduces the effectiveness of the vehicle’s occupant-protection features, increases the time and distance a driver needs to safely stop a vehicle, reduces the driver’s reaction time, increases the severity of an auto accident and the resulting damage and injuries
Defective Auto Parts
Car accidents can be caused or made worse by a defective part. Manufacturers and distributors of auto parts must ensure parts are safe when used as instructed. Those who fail to do so can be found liable for the injuries and deaths that result from the part’s malfunction.
Vehicle maintenance is the complete responsibility of the car’s owner and driver. If the vehicle owner or driver knows or should have known their vehicle had maintenance issues that could cause an accident, they could be held liable if the vehicle causes injuries to others on the road.
Colorado Car Accident & Insurance Laws
Colorado is an “at-fault” state meaning those injured in an automobile collision must prove they were not at fault and attempt to collect damages from the at-fault party or their insurance company. Additionally, Colorado is a “comparative negligence” state. 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. However, this does not mean you are not entitled to any compensation if you were partially at fault for your car accident. You can still sue for damages, but the percent for which you were at fault will be subtracted from your compensation.
As a practical matter, an insurance company will cover your damages. But in Colorado, drivers are only required to carry a minimum of $25,000 in coverage per person for bodily injury. Many Colorado drivers carry added insurance through their own insurance company, either uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or under-insured motorist coverage (UIM).
Following an accident, you have a limited time to sue related to personal injury or property damage. Colorado’s statute of limitations is three years from the date of the incident.
Who is Liable After a Car Accident?
Most people understand that every driver owes a duty of care to others sharing the roadway. Included in that duty is the responsibility to drive carefully, obey traffic violations, and behave reasonably behind the wheel. So, when a driver is careless or breaks a traffic law, they are considered negligent. The “at fault” driver will be legally responsible for the harm they cause.
No matter how obvious the fault of the other driver is to you, liability for your accident will probably be disputed. We are skilled at compiling, preserving and presenting evidence to prove the other party’s liability for the accident. This means we promptly visit the accident site, contact involved law enforcement officers and examine the vehicles; we put in the elbow grease to maximize the value of your car accident claim.
While police reports and traffic tickets are important evidence in a car accident claim, liability is not solely determined by the citations. Law enforcement officers aren’t always present when the accident occurs. Sometimes, the official report is inaccurate or records misinformation. Other times, there may not be a police report.
Likewise, traffic citations are handled separately from insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. A traffic ticket does not necessarily determine someone’s liability for damages after a crash, nor does it always tell the whole story. Other kinds of evidence may come into play.
Serious auto collisions often result in significant expenses. Your right as a car accident victim is to seek compensation against the at-fault party for harms and losses caused because of the accident. In addition to medical bills and property damage, a car accident victim may also suffer from lost wages due to medical leave, future lost wages, and other intangible losses, known as non-economic damages.
While economic damages are relatively easy to calculate, non-economic damages are much harder to identify without the guidance from an experienced car accident lawyer. This can become costly for an accident victim. For example, if a claimant handles their matter on their own and accepts a settlement only to realize later it is not enough to cover all of their costs, there is nothing that can be done. The claimant will be responsible for any future expenses. We have decades of experience with injuries requiring complex medical care, both as to how the care impacts your current daily life, future daily life and your finances.
Depending on the details, a car wreck lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses (present and future bills);
- Property damage (repair costs, diminished value, other personal property damages);
- Lost income and wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Common Injuries from
A car accident can inflict injuries to any part of the body and can range from
minor to the most severe. The immense force involved in some car accidents
can cause serious, lifelong injuries and disabilities. Even minor collisions can
cause devastating injuries which may cause substantial medical bills for which
the liable party should be held responsible. Some of the most common car
accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Loss of limb
- Soft tissue injuries
- Blunt force trauma
- Internal injuries
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How Much is My Car Accident Worth?
This is one of the most common questions we hear. The short answer is that every car accident claim is different, making it almost impossible to calculate without knowing the facts and circumstances of the claim. However, generally, the value of an automobile collision case is determined by the injuries sustained, medical bills incurred, whether or not the claimant was employed, had lost wages, can work again and suffered from any other psychological injuries or pain and suffering.
We only get paid if you receive a settlement or verdict, which means getting you the highest settlement possible is our focus. Our attorneys take a comprehensive approach to car crash claims, pulling all of our resources and identifying all potential sources of compensation to get the best value possible for your claim. When you work with us, our process includes investigating and documenting:
- The at-fault driver’s insurance policy and personal assets
- The liability of the manufacturers and sellers of mechanically defective parts
- Medical expenses
- Your need for future medical treatment and long-term care
- Lost income and wages
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent injury costs
- Punitive damages
- Funeral and burial expenses
What to Do After a Car Accident
The steps you take following a car accident can significantly affect your ability to recover compensation for damages. It is common to feel confused and disoriented, which is why it is important to be prepared if an accident does occur. Read our guide on what you should do after a car accident.
Trusted Legal Representation
The personal injury attorneys at Chalat Hatten & Banker understand that a car crash can turn your life upside-down. For over 30 years, we’ve protected the rights of car accident victims and will fight to do the same for you. Contact our Denver car accident law firm to discuss your rights to sue an at-fault driver.
How We Help
- Offer a 100% free, comprehensive initial consultation;
- Explain your rights and the legal process and answer important questions about your case;
- Fully investigate the car accident;
- Carefully assemble all relevant evidence;
- Provide the resources needed to build a strong claim;
- Work directly with crash reconstruction experts, physicians and any other relevant experts;
- Handle the paperwork;
- Assess and pursue the full extent of your damages;
- Negotiate a full and fair settlement with the insurance company;
- If necessary, represent you in court