The term “personal injury” applies to almost any situation in which one party has harmed another party through negligence or intentional misconduct. When you have been harmed by another party’s actions, you have the right to seek accountability and compensation for the losses they inflicted. Every personal injury claim is unique, but there are a few fundamental concepts that everyone should understand when it comes to navigating these cases.
An experienced Denver, CO, personal injury attorney is an invaluable asset no matter what type of personal injury claim you intend to file. Your legal team can make handling every aspect of your case much easier, and you will be more likely to maximize your compensation with their assistance. Ultimately, the goal of any personal injury claim is for the plaintiff to recover as fully as possible from the damages they suffered, but the process of securing this compensation will vary based on the facts of the case.
Understanding Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim
Most personal injury cases arise from acts of negligence. This term defines any incident in which a party failed to exercise reasonable care and consequently harmed another party. For example, a driver has a duty of care to abide by posted speed limits, and speeding would be a breach of this duty of care. If you were injured in an accident caused by a speeding driver, you would need to prove the at-fault driver failed to uphold their duty of care to drive responsibly and consequently caused your claimed damages.
It is also possible for personal injuries to arise from intentional and illegal misconduct. Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most commonly cited examples of this. When a defendant has broken the law in causing a personal injury, they not only face civil liability for the damages they caused to the plaintiff but also criminal prosecution from the state.
Damages Available in a Personal Injury Claim
Proving liability for a personal injury is just the first challenge you face in this type of civil claim. Next, the plaintiff must show the full extent of the damages they suffered because of the defendant’s actions. The average personal injury plaintiff will have grounds to seek full repayment of all economic damages the defendant caused. These include any direct financial losses resulting from the incident. They may also claim compensation for their pain and suffering, but state law limits the amount they can recover.
Punitive damages could also come into play if the defendant’s behavior exceeded the extent of typical negligence or if they broke the law in causing the injury. While there are many factors that could come into play to enhance the plaintiff’s recovery, there are also issues that might diminish it. For example, the state enforces a modified comparative fault rule, so if a plaintiff shares fault for causing their injury, they will lose a percentage of their case award to reflect this. However, they must be less than 50% at fault; otherwise, they cannot claim compensation from the defendant.
Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims?
A: Anyone who plans to file a personal injury claim faces a time limit known as the statute of limitations. This time limit begins on the date an injury occurs and extends for two years, after which the plaintiff would be unable to file their suit against the defendant who injured them. If a plaintiff tried to file their claim after the statute has elapsed, the defendant would likely submit a motion to dismiss the claim on the grounds of the expired statute, which the court would likely grant.
Q: How Much Compensation Can I Claim in a Personal Injury Case?
A: The total potential value of any personal injury claim depends on the extent of the damages the victim suffered. Colorado’s personal injury laws allow a plaintiff to claim compensation for economic losses such as medical expenses, lost income, and property damage, and this includes projected future damages. Additionally, the plaintiff can claim pain and suffering compensation, but this is limited by state law.
Q: How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Personal Injury Claim?
A: State law limits pain and suffering compensation in personal injury claims to $250,000, but if the plaintiff can show clear and convincing evidence that the defendant caused their damages, the cap can be increased to $500,000. A plaintiff who has suffered a catastrophic injury resulting in permanent damage will still face this limit, but they are likely to recover more in pain and suffering compensation than a plaintiff who is expected to make a full recovery in the short term.
Q: Do I Really Need to Hire an Attorney for a Personal Injury Case?
A: Colorado’s personal injury laws do not require you to hire legal counsel for your case, but having an attorney you can trust representing you will significantly improve your chances of success, and it will make handling your case much easier. Your attorney can handle legal affairs for you so you can focus on recovery, and they are also likely to uncover avenues of compensation you may not have known were available to you.
Q: Will the Defendant Go to Jail for Causing a Personal Injury?
A: A defendant found liable for a personal injury faces responsibility for the damages they inflicted on the victim, but they would only face criminal charges if they broke the law in causing the injury. For example, if you were injured in a vehicle accident caused by an intoxicated driver, they would be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and face liability for the damages they inflicted. Such cases may also involve punitive damages for the victim.
The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal has years of experience handling many different types of personal injury claims. We know the many possible challenges you could encounter as you seek recompense for your damages, and we know how to navigate your case proceedings efficiently. The sooner you reach out to our team, the more time we have to develop your case, so contact us today and schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney you can trust.