You were in a car accident, and injured in the crash. Now you have expensive medical bills, car repair bills and are unable to work for a few weeks. Who is responsible for paying damages under Colorado law?
Unfortunately, this answer is not always easy to pin down. To determine the responsible party, you will have to look into the possibility of negligence.
A driver is "negligent" if they drive carelessly, with seeming disregard for the safety of the people around them. A negligent driver fails to act as a reasonable person would in that circumstance. For example: a driver may be considered negligent if they cause an accident after failing to stop at a red light while applying makeup in their rear-view mirror.
Surprisingly, one driver is not automatically considered completely at fault after an accident. The court determines to what degree each party is at fault, and determines compensation from there.
Colorado determines compensation by analyzing the "comparative fault" of each driver involved in the accident. The court gathers information on the accident and determines the degree to which each driver was responsible. If a court decides that your actions were 30 percent responsible for causing the accident and injury, and the other driver was 70 percent responsible, the other driver will be liable for 70 percent of your damages. You will be responsible for the other 30 percent.
What can you gain in damages?
If you prove to be a victim of the other driver's negligence, you can recover damages for the accident. You can recover money for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disfigurement
- Permanent disability
Lost wages are only covered above $400 per week for the first year after the accident. After the first year, you are entitled to any continued loss of income.
If you are seriously injured in an accident, consider contacting an attorney who can represent your interests, and help you gain compensation for your damages.