Negligence and Comparative Fault in Colorado Injury Cases

Posted by Jeremy Rosenthal | Nov 09, 2016 | 0 Comments

Of the types of tort, cases of negligence are the most common. Negligence is associated with personal injury and wrongful death cases such as auto accidents, slip-and-fall, work-related accidents and more. Liability for harm that results from negligent actions or indifference can be brought in civil action against an individual, company, or responsible party in Colorado.

Understanding Negligence

Conduct defined as being negligent is clearly distinct from intentional tort. The negligent tortfeasor doesn't have any direct intentions of creating harm to another individual. Further, the term gross negligence is used to describe an action that “willfully exhibits disregard” for the safety of others. Vicarious negligence is an individual's failure to use reasonable action to prevent harm to another.

There are several core parts necessary, which combine to define negligence overall:

  • The defendant is to exercise reasonable care based on the circumstances; they have a legal duty to maintain a reasonable standard of safety to avoid and prevent risk.
  • The defendant failed to maintain the (above) reasonable standard of safety.
  • The action or inaction of the defendant caused harm to the plaintiff.
  • In order to seek compensation, actual damage must harm the plaintiff.

What is a reasonable or unreasonable standard or degree of risk? This can be described by asking a question. Would a reasonable person amid the circumstances and position of the defendant at the time, have acted as the defendant did?

Negligence, or fault, is commonly assigned to both the plaintiff and the defendant in civil cases. There are four common methods that the different US states employ for the allocation of fault and damages.

Pure Contributory Negligence Rule/Defense

Contributory negligence is used to describe any action that the plaintiff contributed toward the resulting harm (injury). In a state which employs the Pure Contributory Negligence Rule, the plaintiff is entitled to zero recovery in damages if they are determined to have contributed even merely 1% to the injury/harm.

Pure Comparative Fault System

The total awarded damages to the plaintiff have their percentage of contribution to the injury/harm subtracted. Thus, if the plaintiff is determined to have been at fault for 20% of the accident, they would only be awarded the 80% remaining balance.

Modified Comparative Fault System

The Denver Bar Association classifies Colorado's method within this classification. The plaintiff and defendant are both held responsible in proportion to their own percentage of determined fault. However, if the plaintiff is determined to have contributed to over 50% to the injury/harm, then the plaintiff receives zero in damages.

Slight/Gross Negligence Comparative Fault System

This is a scarcely adopted method that is only used in South Dakota. Under this system, the fault of the two parties is only compared if the plaintiff‘s negligence level is “slight” and the defendant's negligence level is “gross”.

Have you have been injured in a Colorado accident that is a result of someone's negligence? Make the call to The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal as soon as possible. We successfully protect the rights of our clients!

About the Author

Jeremy Rosenthal

Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is dedicated to helping his clients seek just compensation for their injuries regardless of the lengths he has to go to or the distances he may have to travel in order to get it.

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