Arapahoe County was the site of 26,768 vehicle crashes in one recent year, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. More than 3,200 of them led to injuries, and 21 ended in a fatality.
If a car accident injured you or a loved one, you are likely busy dealing with the aftermath: medical treatment, pain, short- and long-term symptoms, and psychological trauma. The injuries may leave you unable to work for a short or long period, meaning that you also suffer financial strain.
But should you see a lawyer after a car accident? If another person or entity caused the accident, it’s a good idea. A lawyer can help you in multiple ways, including informing you of your rights and helping you seek just compensation. Discussing your accident with a lawyer for an initial consultation is always free. If you go for an initial consultation, a lawyer can clarify how they can help you pursue compensation.
Your main focus and task after a car accident is recovery. That could mean surgery, physical therapy, or bed rest. Your injuries need to heal, and your body needs to recover. You don’t need to deal with at-fault drivers or their insurance companies. You also don’t need to worry about who or what caused the accident. Lawyers can help with all of this.
Have You Experienced A Car Accident Recently?
Getting into a car accident can be a stressful situation and you need to make sure you are getting what’s owed to you from your accident. Reaching out to an experienced car accident lawyer is a great first step.
A Lawyer Can Help You Receive Just Compensation
If the car accident stemmed from the actions of another person or entity, and the accident caused your injury, you are entitled to compensation from the at-fault entity. This compensation is often known legally as damages.
Colorado is a fault state for car accidents. Fault means that whoever caused the accident is responsible for injury compensation.
In Colorado, injured people can seek damage compensation for the following.
- Medical bills already paid for emergency transportation and services, doctor’s visits, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic tests, prescription medication, physical therapy, and more.
- Future medical bills for doctor’s visits, physical therapy, hospitalization, surgery, prescription medication, retrofitting a home to accommodate a long-term or permanent condition, and more.
- Income lost from work due to the accident itself, treatment for the injuries, and recovery.
- The lifetime value of earnings if the injuries leave you unable to work at a former occupation or unable to work in the future completely, compensation may include the estimated value of what you would have earned had you not received the injuries.
- Property damage for property damaged in the accident, including your vehicle and other personal property.
- Pain and suffering stemming from physical injuries and emotional and psychological causes related to the accident.
As many Coloradans know, any driver operating a car on the state’s roads must obtain liability insurance to cover damage the driver causes.
The required coverage is:
- $25,000 for injuries or death of one person in an accident
- $50,000 for total bodily injury or death in an accident
- $15,000 for property damage per accident
Can damage compensation for you include this? Yes, of course. The purpose of the coverage is to provide damage compensation for injuries the driver caused. But unfortunately, these totals may not go far in supplying you with just compensation. An injury, particularly a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, can cost millions of dollars in medical care—and the effects of these injuries can last a lifetime. Even a lesser and easily resolvable injury can cost more than $25,000.
Even property damage can add up to much more than $15,000. Currently, the sophisticated computerization of vehicles renders seemingly minor damage to a car as expensive. An accident could affect internal car functioning in a way it would not have 40 years ago. Your car may need repairs to its computer system, not just the fender.
Finally, if you lost time from work, your lost wages are not covered by standard insurance.
Damage compensation should equal the economic and non-economic harm caused to the injured person, not simply the amount of insurance the state requires.
A Lawyer Can Negotiate With Insurance Companies
Injured people should file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company immediately after the accident.
In a perfect world, filing a claim would result in the insurance company issuing a settlement check. Unfortunately, insurance companies train their adjusters to minimize claims as much as possible to maintain their profit margins.
How might they minimize claims? An adjuster may argue that the company’s insured did not cause the accident. They could claim that you or someone else actually caused it. Or, they may argue that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. They could also claim that your injuries stem entirely from another event, not the accident.
They may also attempt to settle the claim quickly but at a lower amount than your injuries and other damages warrant.
Adjusters and other insurance company employees can also be difficult to contact. You could dial, email, and text and never get an actual human on the line. Your claim could stay on someone’s desk for months or even longer.
All these strategies create more harm for injured people, particularly those who face both pain from injuries and financial hardship from the accident.
Experienced lawyers know all the methods insurance companies use. We can counter them with evidence of who and what caused the accident, what your injuries consisted of, and how they affected your life. Lawyers are aggressive and negotiate forcefully. Let their legal skills work for you.
A Lawyer Can Investigate the Accident
Knowing the cause of any accident that leads to injuries is crucial. Injury compensation comes after a determination of negligence. Legally, negligence means that a party in the accident had a duty of care to other parties and breached that duty of care. For any driver, their duty of care means that you obey the laws, keep your vehicle well-maintained and safe, and follow common-sense driving rules.
Any failure to follow Colorado’s laws or imprudent action breaches the duty of care to other motorists and passersby. Running a red light, speeding, improper passing, driving too fast for weather conditions, and driving with brakes or lights that don’t work can cause accidents and injuries.
Accident causes are not always obvious. A driver might drive too fast and cause an accident. But what if the driver tells the police he tried multiple times to slow down and couldn’t? Mechanical or brake failure in the car might cause that. If that’s true, then repair shops or car manufacturers could be to blame. They can either be the negligent party or one of several negligent parties.
Lawyers are skilled at gathering evidence about who or what causes an accident. They can obtain police reports, surveillance footage, or other images, and contact eyewitnesses.
Lawyers also work with trained investigators skilled at determining the accident causes. They canvass the area to find eyewitnesses or surveillance footage. Investigators and forensic experts can reconstruct an accident by observing the location and analyzing data from the accident scene. What was the weather like? Was it day or night? How fast did the vehicles go? If the parties’ accounts are in dispute, law firms can track down the essential information to decide liability.
Another important aspect of negligence is the linkage of the accident to your injuries. Insurance companies may allege that your injuries didn’t stem from the accident or weren’t as serious as you say. A lawyer can gather your medical records, interview medical personnel, talk to experts about the effects injuries like yours exert on a person’s life, and more.
A Lawyer Can Bring a Lawsuit
If insurance companies won’t settle your damage claim fairly, the next step is bringing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Lawyers can litigate and settle a legal claim.
They can also settle pre-trial if the insurance company makes a late offer. Insurance companies often don’t want your case to go to trial. Judges and juries may see the victim as deserving compensation, not the company as deserving more profits.
Victims must file their legal claims before the statute of limitations expires. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is three years from the date of the accident. Lawyers can advise you on the statute of limitations. But the safest action is to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Evidence can fade or disappear, and evidence is crucial to proving every case.
Lawyers Can Help Family Members File a Wrongful Death Claim
What happens if an accident victim dies, either on impact or as a result of their injuries? Colorado allows family members to bring a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury case in which the damages arise from a fatality.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit is two years rather than three.
Wrongful death suits compensate family members for their losses.
Damage compensation may include:
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Wages and other compensation the deceased would have earned had they lived
- Benefits that the deceased was entitled to, such as life insurance
- Pain, suffering, emotional distress, and grief
- Loss of the deceased person’s companionship
A surviving spouse can bring a suit under Colorado law in the first year. After that, a surviving spouse and surviving children can bring a wrongful death claim. If there is no spouse or children, the parents can bring a claim once a year has elapsed.
Like personal injury claims, family members can approach the at-fault party’s insurance company first and then proceed to a legal claim if a just settlement doesn’t ensue.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I bring to an initial consultation?
An initial consultation is a chance for the lawyer to hear about the accident, your injuries, and the effect on your life. It’s a good idea to bring notes and a time of what occurred. Since claims and cases always depend on insurance, bring any evidence you have, including police reports, pictures or images of the scene, pictures or images of your injuries, medical records, and eyewitness contact information if you have it.
How much does a car accident lawyer cost?
The first consultation is free. After that, you don’t pay the attorney out of pocket. Personal injury attorneys receive a percentage of any settlement you win. You don’t pay directly for their services, generally.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help With Your Car Accident
If you or a loved one suffers injuries in a car accident, let an experienced car accident attorneys win a fair settlement for you.
Contact a car accident lawyer near you can walk you through your options and explain the law clearly. The right car accident lawyer will gladly see you at their office, in your home, or even in the hospital.