What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
If you sustain a personal injury in some type of accident (e.g., car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, etc.), you can file a summons or a complaint with the appropriate clerk of court. Before doing this, however, your attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company through strategic negotiations.
Otherwise, if a reasonable agreement cannot be met, you can proceed to file all of the appropriate documents to make an official personal injury claim.
What Is Considered a Personal Injury in Colorado?
From a legal standpoint, a personal injury is any instance where you get injured due to someone else’s negligence. This then gives rise to the at fault party having some degree of liability. Put simply, if you get hurt because of someone else’s carelessness or reckelssactions, they can be held legally responsible.
A personal injury claim is the process of holding the responsible party accountable and determining what damages you, as the injury victim, are eligible to recover. You can either bring forth a claim for financial compensation or file a lawsuit and go to court for a judgment or a verdict on a financial award amount.
What Do I Do After a Getting a Personal Injury
Be sure to take all of these steps after you get injured in a motor vehicle accident or in some other accident that was caused by another party’s negligence:
- Gather as much evidence as possible at the accident scene. If you were injured in a car accident, take photos and videos of the damages, including any injuries you sustained.
- See a doctor as soon as possible and diligently follow their prescribed treatment plan. You should also stay consistent with medical care and attend all follow up appointments. If the insurance company sees you only went to see a doctor once after the accident, that will insinuate that your injury isn’t that serious.
- Write down all of the details of the accident while they are fresh in your head. Memories and evidence can deteriorate quickly, so try to document everything while it’s fresh and preserve evidence to support your claim.
- Get contact information from all parties who were involved in the accident and any witnesses or bystanders who saw what happened. They may be able to testify later in your favor to give an account of what they saw happen.
- Contact an experienced Denver personal injury attorney and follow their instructions. They may advise you against using social media, give you tips on how to talk to an insurance adjuster, or just handle all communications on your behalf.
How Can I Get the Maximum Settlement Possible?
Winning a personal injury case requires strategic planning and legal expertise. You probably don’t know how to build a strong case by yourself, but an experienced lawyer who has handled and won personal injury cases knows exactly what steps to take to build a strong case.
One of the most important things is conducting an investigation to gather solid evidence to support your claim. Then, you need to assess all categories and potential damages you’re entitled to seek. You’ll need to provide evidence to back up each loss you’re claiming compensation for. Finally, you need your attorney’s knowledge and experience to understand how to respond strategically and use aggression when it’s necessary. In short, having a skilled Denver personal injury lawyer fighting for your rights is the surest way to get the maximum possible settlement.
Do I Need to Go to Court for a Personal Injury Claim?
Most of the time, no. In fact, over 90% of personal injury cases get settled out of court. This just means that you can still win a fair settlement through negotiations with the insurance company. Now, when they refuse to play fair or offer you an amount that justifies your losses, your attorney may advise you to take your case to court.
This usually occurs when the insurance company disagrees with your claim details, such as the extent of your damages, injuries, or losses. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to dispute claims of injury victims. So, while most cases do get resolved before needing to go to court, if the insurance company is uncooperative or contests your claims, you’ll need to present your case to a judge or jury for them to decide on a final verdict.
The reason why it’s so helpful to have a good attorney on your side is that by building a strong case with careful attention to detail and anticipation of what the other party might do, you have a stronger foundation for your claim. If you do need to take your case to trial, your attorney can help prepare and present a solid case for the jury to rule in your favor.
How Much Can I Win From a Personal Injury Case?
The amount you can expect to win from a personal injury settlement varies greatly because each case is so unique. You’ll need to consider the particular circumstances of your case, which an attorney can help you with. Here are some categories to consider and assess the extent to which you’ve experienced loss due to these accident-related damages:
- Bodily injury
- Medical bills
- Missed work causing you to lose income
- Physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
The insurance company may use a “formula” to calculate your losses, but this often doesn’t really produce a fair number. For instance, they might tally up your losses and then use the multiplier method (i.e., all of your losses times a number such as 1 or 1.5). However, this is a mechanical method to come up with an arbitrary number that doesn’t account for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages you endured.
What if I’m Partly at Fault for the Accident?
Not all accidents are as simple as one person being at fault and the other person being the innocent injury victim. It’s possible you made a mistake and contributed some fault in the accident. In the eyes of the insurance company, that means you’re partially accountable for causing your injuries.
In Colorado, as long as you didn’t contribute more fault than the other party (less than 50% fault), you can still recover damage compensation. This law is known as the modified comparative negligence law (Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-21-111).
How Long Does It Take To Settle a Personal Injury Claim
It can take anywhere from several weeks to a year, or even more. A simple case where it’s clear that the other party is at fault and caused your injuries might be an open and shut case where the at fault insurance company offers you a reasonable settlement and the case is closed. Your attorney will usually communicate directly with the opposing party to reach a prompt resolution and negotiate a favorable payout for you.
On the other hand, litigation could take a year or years to resolve a case if there are a lot of disagreements between your claim and the insurance company’s assessment of your claim. The more complex the case is, the longer it will take to resolve. Most cases fall somewhere in the middle and shouldn’t take an elongated amount of time to resolve, unless there are extenuating circumstances that require additional investigation or negotiation.
You also have some degree of control over the amount of time it takes to settle your case because you can agree to accept a settlement offer. That said, you shouldn’t settle for less than what you deserve.
When Do I Need to File a Personal Injury Claim?
The sooner you file a claim, the better. Not only does evidence deteriorate quickly, but Colorado also imposes a deadline for you to file a personal injury claim and resolve it. The statute of limitations in colorado allows personal injury victims the following amount of time to file a claim:
- Motor vehicle accidents: three years
- Non-auto related injuries: two years
If you fail to resolve your claim within the statute of limitations, you cannot recover damages for that particular accident. One final note is that sometimes there are exceptions to the deadline, such as if you find out about your injuries after the actual date of the accident. In that case, the time limit will start at the discovery of your injuries.
Is It Worth It to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Yes. an attorney will help you get the most of your claim and make sure you identify and claim for all damages you suffered from the accident. They are trained and experienced experts who handle personal injury cases on a regular basis, so you’ll benefit greatly from having their knowledge and expertise helping your case. Our legal team of Denver personal injury lawyers will take the time to get to know you and make sure we cater a tailored strategy to win your case. We will guide you through the entire process so you can stress less and focus on recovering.
How Much Can I Win for Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is considered a “non-economic damage”, as opposed to economic damages that are more easily calculated (e.g., medical bills, property damage, lost wages). When it comes to pain and suffering damages, your attorney can help tremendously in assessing the extent of your pain and suffering and determining a fair value for it.
For example, if you sustained a life-long injury or disability that will affect you long-term, you can expect a higher payment for pain and suffering than if you suffered a few cuts and bruises that heal within a few weeks.
Related post: How Are Pain and Suffering Determined in a Car Accident?
Can I Handle My Own Personal Injury Claim Without an Attorney?
While it’s possible to handle your case without a lawyer, if you are seriously injured from an accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s better to hire a lawyer. Statistics show that plaintiffs who have a lawyer get a higher settlement or payout from a verdict.
Before you choose to handle your case without a lawyer, read our blog here to learn more about what to expect when you handle a case independently.
Contact a Denver personal Injury Attorney Today
You can find more information at our FAQ blog here. For the best chance at winning a successful outcome and maximum compensation for your accident claim, contact our Denver personal injury lawyers today. We will give you the time, attention, and dedication you deserve to get you the best possible results. And we’re not afraid to go to court if that’s what it takes to win you the compensation you deserve.
Call today or contact us online for a free initial consultation.