Pueblo CO Auto Accident Lawyers Answer Negligence Claim FAQs
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you likely have a lot of questions. Car accidents are among the most stressful events you’ll ever have to deal with. When your injuries are severe enough to require hospital treatment, it’s crucial to have an experienced auto accident attorney handle your negligence claim in Pueblo, CO. We handle all communications between yourself and the at-fault driver’s insurance company and ensure that you get the best possible settlement for your injuries.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is a legal term that is applied when one individual violated an assumed duty of care to another. So if someone caused your injury because of recklessness or carelessness, they would be found negligent. In order to prove negligence, you must establish three facts:
- The at-fault party owed the injured party a duty of care;
- The at-fault party violated this duty of care; and
- That violation resulted in injuries to the injured party.
In car accident cases, the rules of the road are spelled out clearly. If a driver doesn’t abide by these rules and as a result causes injury to another driver, they can be held liable for the accident. This includes behaviors such as speeding, failing to yield the right of way, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, running a red light, and making unsafe lane changes. Violating some rule of traffic can be the basis of a negligence claim.
What Is a Negligence Claim?
In order to file a negligence claim in Pueblo CO, you must be able to show that the at-fault party’s negligence caused your injuries. In the case of a car accident, you may have suffered physical or financial damages. However, damages are not limited to medical expenses or vehicle repairs. You can claim other damages as well, such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
Car accident negligence claims are typically made against either the at-fault driver’s insurance policy or your own uninsured/underinsured driver policy.
What Is a Duty of Reasonable Care?
One of the most difficult elements to prove in a negligence claim is that the defendant owed you a “duty of reasonable care” and that the defendant violated that duty of care. It is, however, integral to a successful personal injury lawsuit.
In car accident cases, you must establish negligence by showing that the defendant was driving recklessly, distractedly, or aggressively. This implies that the defendant was not driving carefully which they are required to do by law.
Drivers are responsible for operating their vehicles safely, maintaining the vehicle in good working order, being aware of other drivers and pedestrians on the road, and ensuring the safety of their own passengers. Any failure here obligates the driver to pay damages to the defendant.
What Happens If I Am Partly at Fault for an Accident?
What happens if a pedestrian runs out into traffic without looking but their injuries are made worse because the driver was speeding? In that case, the pedestrian may share some of the blame for the accident. A determination will need to be made based on witness statements, surveillance footage, and evidence gleaned from the accident as to who was at fault and what percentage of the fault each party had.
In Colorado, you may still file a claim so long as you are found to be 50% at fault or less. In cases where one party is more than 50% at fault, that party is barred from recovering any damages related to their injuries.
So let’s say a pedestrian is held 25% at fault for their injuries. They would be entitled to collect 75% of their total damages. For this reason, laying some of the blame on the injured party is a common tactic when negotiating settlements.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Typical Negligence Claim in Pueblo CO?
Damages can be divided into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic injuries include property damages, medical expenses, lost wages, and any out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury. Noneconomic damages are related to pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment, or the loss of functionality of a bodily organ or disfigurement. An experienced auto accident lawyer can help ensure you maximize your chances of receiving compensation for the damages owed you.
How Long Do I Have to File and How Long Will My Claim Take to Settle?
The state of limitations in negligence claims will vary depending on the type of personal injury case you have. But generally speaking, in Colorado you typically have three years from the date of the car accident to file a claim.
Most negligent claims reach settlement before ever reaching trial. But the time it takes to settle will largely depend on the unique circumstances of your case. Your auto accident lawyer may be able to give you a rough estimate of the timeline of your case.