You Need a Denver Injury Attorney Who is There for You, Every Step of the Way
If you have been involved in an accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed by concerns about your medical and emotional recovery, as well as how the accident will impact your life. It is natural to have questions about everything from how you will pay for your medical expenses to how your injuries may interfere with your ability to work and where you can find support and information about what you are going through. If your injuries were caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of another, you may be able to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, even if you were partially at fault. An attorney at Levine Law can help you maximize your financial recovery following an accident.
Accidents and Injuries Can Be Unavoidable
In an area that is well-known for its outdoor enthusiasts, including walkers, bikers, hikers and skiers, as well as its harsh winter weather and resulting treacherous road conditions, it is not surprising that accidents are a frequent cause of injury here. According to recent statistics, every day in the Denver region, there are about 220 reported traffic crashes, resulting in about five seriously injured individuals per day and four traffic fatalities per week. A study done by Denver Public Works in an effort to reduce bicycle and motor vehicle crashes revealed that in the four-year period between 2008 and 2012, there were over 1300 reported bicycle crashes.
If the negligence or wrongful conduct of another contributed to your injury, an attorney can help identify the responsible parties and take legal action against them.
Common causes of accidents include:
- Automobile accidents: Speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Truck accidents: Speeding, tailgating, drowsy driving, distracted driving, failure to stay in the correct lane.
- Bus accidents: Driver fatigue, blind spots, left turns, distracted driving, weight distribution problems affecting stability, heavily populated areas with small area for maneuvering, vehicle handling problems and equipment defects.
- Construction accidents: Equipment failure, misuse or malfunction; scaffolding accidents, items falling from above, falls caused by construction debris in walkways, falling from a higher level to a lower level, crush injuries caused by equipment, machines, or falling items; amputation injuries caused by misuse of tools or machinery.
- Pedestrian accidents: Speeding, distracted driving, failing to yield to pedestrians, disobeying traffic signs, disregarding weather conditions, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Bicycle accidents: Inattentive riding, speeding, riding too close to a lane of motor vehicle traffic, intersection, or lane merging.
- Motorcycle accidents: Drivers failing to yield to motorcycle riders; drivers misjudging the speed that motorcyclists travel; drivers coming too close to motorcycle riders and not maintaining a safe following distance; distracted, drunk, or drowsy drivers not paying attention to motorcycle riders; motorcycle riders splitting lanes or driving too close to passenger vehicles; speeding on the part of the motorcycle rider or the driver.
- Ski accidents: Collisions, ski lift accidents, ski area neglect.
Injuries That Occur After Negligence or an Accident
Accidents can result in a multitude of different injuries. A Colorado injury lawyer will work with medical and financial experts to obtain the maximum compensation for all of your past and future injuries. Examples of common personal injury cases include:
- Brain injuries: A traumatic brain injury can result in any time you experience a blow to the head. TBIs may have an ongoing and sometimes permanent effect on your everyday life, including your ability to work and to perform your daily activities.
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs): An SCI is one of the most devastating injuries a person can suffer. A complete spinal cord injury results in total loss of muscle control and feeling below the injury site. An incomplete or partial spinal cord injury impairs but does not destroy feeling or muscle control.
- Broken bones or fractures: A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. One of the most common personal injuries, a broken bone will be classified as open or closed. An open fracture is also referred to as a “compound” fracture, which means that the bone pokes through the skin and can be seen or a deep wound exposes the bone through the skin. A closed (or “simple”) fracture is one in which the bone is broken but the skin remains intact.
- Internal injuries: Broken ribs, a collapsed lung, or a ruptured spleen can result from an accident.
- Organ damage: The severe impact of a car accident can cause damage to the body’s organs including the liver, kidneys, heart and bowels, which can result in internal bleeding and organ failure.
- Neck injuries: Accidents are common causes of neck injuries, including whiplash, which is a soft tissue injury also referred to as a neck sprain or strain.
- Back injuries: Common back injuries from accidents include spinal fractures, herniated discs, spondylolisthesis (a vertebra slips out of place); and spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spaces within the spine).
- Soft tissue damage: Accidents often result in injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Levine Law Can Help You Understand Colorado’s Fault Insurance System
In 2003, Colorado went from a no-fault insurance regime in which each party to an accident would pursue compensation for medical expenses and lost wages under his or her own insurance policy regardless of which party was at fault, to a fault or tort-based system. In the context of an automobile accident, insured drivers have three basic options when they get in an accident: file a claim with your own car insurance policy; file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company; or file a lawsuit against the other driver (see below). In addition, Colorado law requires drivers to maintain a minimum amount of insurance coverage, including $25,000 per person for bodily injuries; $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries; and $15,000 per accident for property damage to the injured party.
A determination of fault may be based on careless behavior on the part of the other driver, such as speeding, texting while driving, violating a traffic rule or otherwise failing to act with reasonable care. Fault is not usually based on the other driver’s intent to cause harm.
Determining who is responsible for an accident or incident in a personal injury case is critical to making the case, but it’s not always easy to do. Even in so-called “cut-and-dry” car accidents where one person runs a red light and hits another vehicle, the issue of liability is strictly determined by tort law and is not always assigned automatically. Tort law states that people can be liable in a personal injury claim for the following three specific types of acts:
- Intentional acts – These are acts committed by a person who means to cause an accident or injure another party. Under tort law, the person who commits an intentional act must be fully aware that his or her actions will result in another person’s injuries. This eliminates careless and reckless behavior, and limits liability to truly intentional actions, such as character defamation or a planned car accident.
- Unintentional or negligent acts – These acts are not intended to cause injury or harm to another person, but do anyway. Negligence is typically the main factor in these cases. A driver who fails to obey traffic signals or speeds and strikes a car or pedestrian may not necessarily have intended to harm his victim, but his reckless actions caused that harm. Had the driver exercised the proper care, he or she could have avoided causing an accident or injury.
- Strict liability or absolute liability – This type of liability is typically assigned to product manufacturers. In the case of a defective product, the manufacturer can be held responsible so long as the injured party can prove that he or she was harmed by the product defect. Warning labels are ways to protect a manufacturer from these claims.
Seeking Financial Compensation
If your injuries were caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of another, you may be able to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. This is true even if you were partially at fault. Colorado’s law on comparative negligence provides that as long plaintiff’s negligence “was not as great as the negligence of the person against whom recovery is sought,” the plaintiff’s “contributory negligence” shall not bar recovery of damages for negligence resulting in death or injury to a person or property. However, any damages allowed will be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person for whose injury, damage, or death recovery is made.
What this means is that if the plaintiff is found to be 49% responsible for an accident and the defendant is 51% responsible, and the jury awards $100,000, the plaintiff will be able to recover $51,000. However, if the jury finds the plaintiff to be 51% responsible and the defendant only 49%, the plaintiff’s recovery will be 0.
Recoverable Money Damages in a Colorado Lawsuit
There are several categories of damages you may be able to recover following an accident, including economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost income), noneconomic damages (for your pain and suffering), and, in rare cases involving egregious conduct, punitive damages (referred to in Colorado law as “exemplary damages”). There is no cap in Colorado on the amount of economic damages a plaintiff may recover in a personal injury action. As for noneconomic loss, Colorado caps damages at $250,000 (plus inflation), although the court can increase the award to no more than $500,000 if it “finds justification by clear and convincing evidence.” There is no cap on pain and suffering damages for plaintiffs who have suffered a permanent physical impairment. Contact our Denver injury attorney if you have questions or concerns about your potential damages.
Resources for the Injured
There are many resources and services, both local and national, that Colorado accident victims and their families can turn to for practical advice, including how to report an accident, where to seek emotional support and financial help, and what to do if you have been injured while on the job.
- To report an accident in Denver and to find local accident resources, click here.
- For information on how to report an accident to the Colorado state police.
- For a summary of key Colorado highway safety laws, which may be important to your insurance claim and/or personal injury lawsuit, click here.
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Denver office.
- MD Junction Accident Support Group is a national online community of victims, family members, and friends who are dealing with accidents.
- Biker Down is a non-profit serving the motorcycle community by providing support to injured riders and their families.
- The Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado is a resource for help and services for brain injury accident victims and their families.
- MINDSOURCE Brain Injury Network provides support for all aspects of the brain injury community from public policy and research to technical assistance and brain injury information and education.
For Those Injured at Work
- The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Workers’ Compensation site includes resources for injured workers seeking damages for pain and suffering.
- Employee guide for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Colorado.
- Information on federal employee workers’ compensation regulations can be found here.
- The Colorado Department of Human Services provides information on state services such as Medicaid, children’s health insurance, temporary assistance, and obtaining financial aid from hospitals.
- Colorado PEAK is an online service for Coloradans to apply for medical, food, cash, and early childhood assistance programs.
- For a listing of organizations that offer financial assistance with medical bills.
- For information on programs for individuals with physical disabilities, including those who were injured in accidents.
- The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonprofit that provides information on potential resources for people with large hospital bills they cannot pay.
- For additional resources and forums related to financial assistance with medical bills, click here.
How Levine Law Can Help
If you are a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the negligence or carelessness of another, we welcome you to contact us for a free consultation with a caring Denver injury firm. For more than 20 years, we have dedicated our practice to representing injured victims and their families. We’re available seven days a week.