What You Need to Know About the Claims Process After an Accident or Injury in Denver
Getting injured in an accident can be a painful, stressful and difficult experience, whether it is a slip and fall in a grocery store aisle, a stumble on a ski slope or a multi-car crash on a busy highway.
Fortunately, Colorado law gives you the right to seek compensation from those responsible for your injuries, and you do not need to go it alone: An experienced personal injury attorney at Levine Law can help you navigate the legal process, understand your options and maximize your compensation.
Although some accident cases go all the way through trial before a judge or jury, many are resolved through alternatives to courtroom battles like mediation, arbitration and negotiated settlement. These options allow an injured person to move on after an accident and focus on his or her physical recuperation with some financial stability.
At Levine Law, we combine decades of experience helping people get back on their feet after an accident with the full compensation available under the law. We are seasoned litigators and skilled negotiators with a track record of success in the courtroom and at the bargaining table.
Step One: The Demand Letter
The legal process for obtaining money damages in accident cases starts with sending a demand letter to those responsible for the accident, and their insurers.
The demand letter lays out what happened, why the person or entity receiving the letter is responsible and what you are seeking in compensation. The money damages typically available in Colorado accident cases includes compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income and benefits
- Reduction in earning capacity
- Property damage
- Other, non-medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring, disfigurement, physical impairment
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Punitive damages
An experienced Colorado accident lawyer at our firm can help you identify those responsible for your injuries, whether it is the owner of the property where a slip and fall happened or a driver who caused an auto collision.
Filing the Lawsuit
If the situation cannot be resolved, the next step is to file the lawsuit (complaint).
The complaint, like the demand letter, generally sketches out the facts of the accident and why the person or entity on the receiving end is legally responsible for the resulting injuries. It also puts the person or entity being sued on notice of the suit and gives them an opportunity to respond.
Settlement Discussions for a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The demand letter and/or complaint typically prompt some form of settlement discussion, in which the parties – through their attorneys – talk about whether the case can be resolved without going through the court.
Settlements offer benefits for everyone. The person or entity being sued can resolve the matter and move on without the threat of a lawsuit hanging over their heads. The person suing can get compensation for his or her injuries without a long, and sometimes costly, legal battle in which success is never certain.
If the parties reach an agreement, it will be put to writing and signed by each side. Once properly executed, a settlement is a binding legal agreement that cannot be torn up or revised without the consent of everyone involved.
In the event that the matter cannot be resolved through settlement, the case moves into the pre-trial stage. This often involves one or more hearings on various motions to resolve procedural and jurisdictional questions, among other issues.
It also leads to discovery, in which each side has to turn over all of the evidence that it has to the other side. Police reports, witness statements, medical records, and accident reconstruction information are among the evidence that must be shared. The parties may also seek to take the deposition of witnesses to get them to explain what happened on the record and ask the other side to answer certain factual questions in writing.
The parties may also continue settlement talks during this time or consider alternatives to litigation, like mediation and arbitration.
Mediation and Arbitration are Good Options for an Injury Claim
Mediation and arbitration are often attractive alternatives because they likely provide a faster result than going through the courts. Here is how it works:
- Mediation: The parties take their case to a neutral third party – called a mediator – with specialized training to help resolve all or some of the issues. The mediator offers a suggested resolution, which the parties can accept, reject or modify.
- Arbitration: This is a more formal proceeding, similar to courtroom litigation, which happens behind closed doors in front of an arbitrator. Unlike in mediation, an arbitrator’s decision is final and binding.
A seasoned Colorado accident attorney at our firm will help you explore these options as a way to resolve your case and maximize your compensation.
Going to Trial in Denver After an Accident
For cases that go to trial, the proceedings can last from a day to several weeks. The length of the trial varies based on the nature of the case, the number of witnesses to be called and the procedural issues that arise during the litigation.
The trial is designed to allow each side to formally present its case, including by calling witnesses to testify and entering physical evidence into the record.
The trial is conducted by a judge, who makes sure that the proceedings remain on track and resolves disputes of law. A jury usually decides whether the person suing has proved his or her case and whether the person is entitled to money damages.
How Levine Law Can Help
We are tireless advocates who have dedicated our professional lives to assisting people in their times of need. Our attorneys guide clients through the legal process with an experienced hand and personalized attention.
Our lawyers are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver injury attorney.