Car accidents happen every day, and experiencing any car accident can potentially be a life-changing event. Vehicle crashes continue to be one of the leading causes of deaths and injuries in the United States, and it’s common for car accident victims to be unaware of their legal options for securing compensation for their losses. If you or a loved one has been injured recently in a car accident in the area of Wheat Ridge, CO, it’s vital to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A Wheat Ridge car accident lawyer can be your best asset when it comes to recovering just compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and other damages resulting from another driver’s carelessness or dangerous driving.
At the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal, our team is proud to offer responsive and compassionate legal counsel to every client we represent. We understand the frustration and uncertainty that follows a car accident, especially a preventable one that only occurred due to the other driver’s negligence. We can provide the detail-oriented legal counsel you need to navigate the most complex car accident claims, ensuring maximum compensation for your losses.
Is It Worth Getting an injury Attorney for a Car Accident?
You may think your situation is clear and straightforward enough that you do not need an attorney to help you with your car accident claim. The reality is that any car accident lawsuit can be much more complex than you initially expect. If you do not hire an attorney to help you with your case, you risk settling for less than you legally deserve or overlooking crucial aspects of your case that can significantly influence the final result.
Hiring a Wheat Ridge car accident lawyer to represent your claim ensures that you will not face any procedural issues such as missed court filing deadlines, paperwork errors, or other administrative mistakes that can jeopardize your case. Additionally, you will have a reliable legal advocate on your side who can ensure you explore every available avenue of compensation in your case, maximizing your recovery.
Is It Worth Getting a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Minor Auto Accident?
If you recently experienced a minor car accident that only resulted in cosmetic damage to your vehicle, you may be able to settle the issue with a simple insurance claim. While it is possible to handle an auto insurance claim independently, it is generally best to speak with an attorney before accepting any insurance settlement. Additionally, you should still seek medical treatment after an accident, even if you believe you were not injured. Some accident injuries do not cause immediately noticeable symptoms, so it is best to rule out any injuries before accepting any type of settlement.
Ultimately, it is possible to navigate a minor car accident claim without an attorney, but it is always a good idea to consult a Wheat Ridge car accident lawyer after an accident to ensure you do not settle for less than you deserve.
What Percentage Does a Personal Injury Attorney Take?
The vast majority of personal injury attorneys working in the US today operate on a contingency fee basis. The average person cannot afford legal fees out of pocket, and contingency fee billing is mutually beneficial to injured claimants and attorneys alike. Attorneys can attract more clients with agreeable and flexible billing, and legal counsel becomes more accessible to claimants with limited means.
A contingency fee agreement will stipulate that your attorney takes legal fees only if you win your case, and their fees will come out of your case award as a predetermined percentage. Before you accept legal representation from a Wheat Ridge car accident lawyer, you should be sure that you understand their billing practices and how much of a percentage of your case award you can expect to pay them if you win. Because you only pay legal fees after winning your case and pay nothing if you lose under a contingency fee agreement, if a personal injury attorney is willing to accept your case on a contingency fee basis, this is a good sign that you have a winning case.
When Should You Contact a Lawyer After an Accident?
After experiencing a car accident, your priority should be your health and well-being. Seek medical treatment immediately, even if you only sustained minor injuries. If you were severely injured, emergency responders probably transported you to the nearest emergency room for treatment. However, if you receive medical care after a car accident, make sure you obtain a medical report from your doctor that outlines your entire medical condition. This will be invaluable for a future insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver responsible for your injuries.
Once you have addressed your immediate medical needs, the next step in your recovery is determining your best available options for legal recourse against the driver who caused the accident. Contact a Wheat Ridge car accident lawyer as soon as possible to start working on your case. Typically, recovery from your damages will start with an insurance claim. Dealing with insurance companies is rarely easy or pleasant, so working with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident will significantly streamline this first step toward recovery.
Colorado Accident and Insurance Law
Colorado state law requires all licensed drivers to purchase auto insurance that meets the state’s minimum coverage requirements. A bare minimum auto insurance policy in Colorado must provide at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage, at least $50,000 in total accident liability coverage, and at least $10,000 in property damage coverage. It is generally best to purchase additional coverage, if possible, but some drivers do not have insurance at all.
Your Wheat Ridge car accident attorney can help you navigate the car accident insurance claim process, which will begin with a simple demand letter to the at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier. This letter will highlight the evidence you have that proves their policyholder is responsible for your recent accident, as well as a complete accounting of the damages you are claiming. Having an attorney draft your demand letter will significantly reduce the chance of the insurer pushing back on the claim. Your attorney can provide comprehensive guidance for dealing with the insurance company and ensure you receive as much compensation as possible. If your total damages exceed the total amount of available insurance coverage, your attorney can help you file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused your accident.
Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Case in Colorado
A Wheat Ridge car accident lawyer is your best asset when you file a personal injury claim in response to a recent car accident. Your attorney will work with you to ID the person or party that is responsible for causing the accident and assist you in gathering the evidence you need to prove your claimable damages. To succeed with a car accident claim, you and your attorney will need to establish the defendant’s negligence:
- First, you must identify the party responsible for your damages and prove that they owed you a duty of care. All drivers have a duty to abide by the road rules and operate their vehicles safely and responsibly.
- Second, your personal injury attorney and you must demonstrate how the person or party named in your claim violated their duty toward you. This means you must prove that another reasonable person in the same situation would have likely acted differently. Drunk driving, distracted driving, or operating a vehicle with known safety issues would all violate a driver’s duty to others.
- The next phase of proving negligence provides a complete and accurate breakdown of the damages resulting from said negligence. You can only file a personal injury claim if you suffered actual harm or a tangible, measurable loss of some kind.
- Finally, you must prove “causation,” or a link between the defendant’s breached duty of care and the damages you claim in your lawsuit. Your attorney can help you gather the documentation you may need to prove your damages result from the defendant’s negligence and not something else.
If you can successfully establish these elements of negligence, success is likely in your car accident claim. Another benefit of hiring an experienced Wheat Ridge car accident attorney to assist you with your claim is the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have the experience to ensure you maximize your recovery.
Damages and Compensation
The personal injury statutes of Colorado allow an injured plaintiff to recover compensation for any damages resulting from a defendant’s negligence. It’s vital to keep careful track of all the documentation you obtain related to your claim from the date the accident occurred, including the initial police report, the medical report from your doctor, correspondence with insurers, and anything else that may help you prove liability for your damages. Personal injury plaintiffs in Colorado may claim:
- All medical expenses resulting from their accidents. This includes hospital bills, ambulance fees, and long-term medical costs for necessary rehabilitation, therapy, and other necessary treatments.
- Lost income, both immediate and future. An injured plaintiff has the right to claim wages lost during their recovery as damages in their personal injury claim. If a plaintiff is left with a permanent disability that prevents them from resuming the same job or going back to work at all, they can claim their lost earning potential in their lawsuit.
- Colorado state law says that pain and suffering are also valid claims for personal injury plaintiffs. Your attorney can help you determine a fair amount of compensation to claim physical pain, emotional suffering, and psychological distress resulting from your accident.
In addition to these damages, it may be possible to secure additional compensation based on how serious the defendant’s negligence was. For example, a judge may order an egregiously negligent defendant or a defendant who engaged in willful, reckless conduct to pay punitive damages. It is also possible for a defendant to face restitution as a condition of criminal sentencing if they caused the accident in question while committing other crimes, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or fleeing the police.
What to Expect From Your Wheatridge Car Accident Lawyer
If you must take legal action against the negligent driver who hit you, your attorney can guide you through the various phases of your case and help you approach the situation with confidence. Once you have exhausted your available recovery options through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, you can begin the process of pursuing a personal injury claim against them. Most personal injury claims settle outside of court. The parties involved meet privately after the plaintiff serves their complaint to the defendant, providing both parties the opportunity to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement and avoid the time and expense of litigation.
During settlement negotiations, your attorney will strive to ensure you receive the most compensation possible for your damages. If you find the settlement terms acceptable, you can sign the agreement, take your compensation, and release the defendant from future liability for the accident. In the event, you cannot negotiate a settlement, or if the defendant contests the damages you seek, your case will then move to litigation.
Personal injury litigation can take months or even years for very complex cases. The process begins with discovery, which involves both sides sharing their documentation and evidence to ensure there are no surprises in the courtroom. Both sides have the right to file pretrial motions, and then the case proceeds through the courtroom. If your case involves very technical or complex issues, your Wheat Ridge car accident lawyer may arrange expert witness testimony on your behalf from medical experts, engineers, forensic researchers, and other professionals to support your claim.
Contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal
Ultimately, it is difficult to predict how any personal injury case will unfold. If you or a loved one is recovering from injuries and experiencing economic strains due to the negligence of another driver, a Wheat Ridge car accident attorney can provide your best chance of securing compensation for your losses. If you are ready to discuss your legal options with a reliable and experienced attorney, contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal to schedule a consultation with our team. We will review your claim and let you know how we can help with your recovery.