A negligent driver can instantly, tragically, and permanently change your life. If you are injured by a negligent driver in the Denver area, you must be advised and represented by a Denver auto accident attorney, and you must contact that attorney as quickly as possible.
It’s not difficult to get injured in a Colorado traffic accident. More than 100,000 vehicle accidents happen every year in this state. In 2021, more than six hundred people lost their lives in collisions on Colorado streets and highways.
Although traffic accidents are common, your own experiences during and after a crash may differ entirely from what someone else would experience in the same circumstances. You may have concerns about your liability, your health, your finances, and your family after an accident.
For some victims, a traffic accident may even trigger emotional trauma that requires counseling. But if you’ll keep reading this brief discussion of traffic accidents and your rights in Colorado, you will learn how to deal with some of the fears that injured accident victims may experience.
There will not be a Denver personal injury lawyer at the scene of a traffic accident to provide you with the legal advice you need, but when you know exactly what to do after a traffic crash, that knowledge can go a long way toward alleviating any fear.
Summoning medical assistance – for yourself and for anyone else who may be injured – is the paramount priority after an accident. Even if you feel fine, have a medical exam after an accident – if possible, within 24 hours – in case you have sustained a latent or difficult-to-detect injury.
A thorough medical exam will eliminate any uncertainty about your condition after an accident. Moreover, without the documentation that a medical exam provides, it may be difficult to bring a personal injury claim or to link your personal injury or injuries to that specific traffic collision.
After summoning medical help, call the police. If you take legal action after an accident, you will need a printout of the police accident report, so ask how and when that report will become available. Reports for accidents in Denver may be ordered from the City of Denver website.
Exchange your personal contact and auto insurance details with the other motorist, try to obtain the names of any eyewitnesses who saw the accident, and take plenty of photographs of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles, and your own personal injuries.
Photos and eyewitness statements can be powerful evidence in personal injury cases. By taking these steps, you will not have to fear that you may be unprepared. Instead, you will be putting yourself in the best possible position to file – and to prevail with – a personal injury claim.
Dealing with an auto insurance company after an accident can be frustrating. Insurance companies seek ways – that are sometimes unfair – to reduce their payouts for injury claims. An insurance company may deny your injury claim or offer you only a “lowball” settlement.
You have nothing to fear from an insurance company. Colorado personal injury lawyers routinely negotiate reasonable settlements with auto insurance companies on behalf of their clients, and they’re familiar with the tactics and strategies that the insurance companies use.
If you are injured so seriously in an accident that you are unable to work, do not let a fear of financial hardship burden you. If you and your Denver auto accident attorney can prove that the other driver was negligent – and you were injured because of that negligence – you may recover:
1. “compensatory” damages for financial losses including medical bills and lost wages
2. “noneconomic” damages for personal pain and suffering
3. “punitive” damages to penalize the other driver’s behavior
How is an appropriate amount for noneconomic damages calculated? Insurance companies, lawyers, and courts use statistical models based on past jury verdict awards to predict the value of physical pain and emotional damages. There are no standard, widely-accepted formulas for calculating these damages.
Colorado has no cap on compensatory damages, but there is a cap of $613,760 in this state on non-economic damages. Punitive damages are rare and are awarded only when an at-fault driver’s behavior was egregious or intentional.
When you and your attorney can prove that you were injured in an accident because the other driver was negligent, you will be compensated – at the end of the personal injury process. But if you are injured so severely that you are unable to work, how can you begin that process?
In other words, how will you afford an attorney? There’s nothing to fear. Personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, so you pay no attorney’s fee until your attorney recovers your compensation. If for any reason you are not compensated, you will owe no attorney’s fee.
Your first legal consultation is provided without any cost or obligation. Take advantage of this opportunity to receive personalized legal advice and to learn how the law in Colorado will apply in your own case.
If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver and you are seeking to recover compensation, you may not have to appear in court. Most personal injury claims arising from auto accidents are resolved out-of-court when the lawyers for both sides meet privately to negotiate a settlement.
However, if liability for the accident is disputed, or if no reasonable settlement offer is forthcoming in the private negotiations, your attorney will take the case to trial, explain to a jury how you were injured, and ask those jurors to order the payment of your compensation.
The deadline for taking legal action after a traffic accident in Colorado – the statute of limitations – is three years. If you have missed that deadline, go ahead and consult an attorney, because it’s possible that your case may qualify as one of the rare, limited exceptions to the three-year rule.
However, if you have been injured recently, you need to act now. In an ideal case, your attorney should examine any evidence before it deteriorates or disappears and speak to any eyewitnesses before their memories begin to fade.
This cannot be emphasized strongly enough: If you’ve been injured in the Denver area because another driver was negligent, seek medical attention at once, and then arrange immediately to discuss your legal rights and options with a Denver personal injury lawyer.