Determining who was negligent and to what degree is one of the most important steps in filing an auto accident claim. Negligence is the failure to act as a reasonable person would in a given situation, so negligent acts can result from thoughtless or careless conduct. Those who cause an accident out of negligence may not have intended to injure others, but they are still liable.
A few states, plus the District of Columbia, hold that if the plaintiff contributed in any way to the accident, he or she cannot receive damages. But Colorado, like many states, holds instead to the rule of comparative negligence. If the plaintiff's degree of fault is less than that of the defendant's, the plaintiff will be eligible for damages. The amount will be modified based on the percentage that the plaintiff was at fault. For example, if the medical expenses and other losses amount to $100,000 and the plaintiff contributed 25 percent to the accident, the defendant will be liable for $75,000.
Under Colorado's no-fault law, auto accident victims cannot file a for minor injuries or minor medical expenses. No-fault insurance covers up to $25,000 or more in medical and rehabilitation expenses regardless of who was at fault. It also covers lost wages of up to $400 a week for 52 weeks after the accident.
The complexity of these laws is just one reason why auto accident victims will want to speak with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer could evaluate the case and take it on if it appears ro be viable. Third parties like accident investigators and medical experts could help strengthen the plaintiff's position with proof of the defendant's negligence and proof that the reported injuries are all accident-related.