Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Colorado Car Accidents
The skilled attorneys at Pickard Law, P.C., regularly receive questions from clients and prospective clients who have been injured in a car accident. If you are reading this page, you may have questions for the same reason.
Below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions we are asked by clients. After reading through this page, we invite you to contact us to discuss your options in a free initial consultation.
How much time do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident?
In Colorado, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is three years from the date of accident/injury. If you don’t begin your lawsuit within that three-year window, you may be barred from seeking compensation in civil court.
Although that is a generous amount of time to file a claim, you likely can’t afford to delay taking legal action. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better your chances of completing an accurate investigation, preserving evidence and calling upon the testimony of witnesses.
Do I lose the right to sue if I was partially at fault for the crash?
Thankfully, the answer is usually no. Colorado recognizes a legal principle known as modified comparative negligence. Under this principle, the two (or more) parties to a lawsuit may each be assigned a percentage of fault for the accident/injuries. As long as you are less than 50% at fault for the crash, you can pursue compensation in a civil lawsuit.
Your compensation will just be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For instance, if you were deemed 20% at fault and won your case, you would be able to collect 80% of the total damages you were seeking.
Why should I work with an attorney instead of just taking a settlement offer?
As an accident victim, it is certainly your right to take the first settlement offer made by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, doing this is usually a mistake for at least two reasons. First, the initial offer you receive is likely to be far less than what you need and far less than what your case is worth. Insurance companies maximize their profits by settling claims for as little money as possible, so a lowball settlement offer is standard practice.
Second, you likely won’t know how much money you need and what your case is worth until you consult with an attorney. You need to factor in all medical bills (present and future), lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages to understand the full costs of the accident. If you accept a quick settlement offer, you typically sign away your right to sue if you later realize that it isn’t enough to cover your expenses.