The Four Requirements for a Personal Injury Claim

In Any Personal Injury Claim, Four “Elements” or Requirements Under the Law Must Be Satisfied

  • 1. The person who caused the injuries must have a duty to the victim of
    the injuries.
  • 2. The at-fault party must have breached his or her duty when causing
    the injuries.
  • 3. Injuries or damages must have resulted from the at-fault’s actions in
    breaching those duties.
  • 4. Fourth, the at-fault’s actions must have caused the injuries or

Let’s take a typical motor vehicle crash such as a rear-end collision as an example. All drivers on the road have a duty other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists to drive carefully and safely. In Colorado, a driver who rear-ends another driver is presumed to be negligent – in other words, rear-ending another vehicle is a presumed breach of the duty to drive safely. In order to have a personal injury claim, injuries such as whiplash or broken bones must have resulted from the crash. Finally, the injuries which resulted must have been caused by the collision alone. If all these requirements are met, an injury claim legitimately exists.

Why the Law Requires Insurance

The reason why insurance is mandatory for all drivers and vehicles is because car collisions happen frequently and people both cannot and do not want to be personally liable for injuries or property damage that results from a crash.

Imagine that a driver causes $12,000.00 in damage to your car, while you also need $5,000.00 in medical treatment because of your injuries. If the driver were personally liable, he would have to pay out $17,000. Most people do not have this kind of cash sitting around should this occur.

Thus, the government has mandated that all drivers pay premiums to an insurance company who will “cover” this driver for any injuries or property loss that their insured may have caused.

In Colorado, the minimum liability coverage is $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident. The “per accident” amount comes into play when, for example, there are multiple people in one car who are injured or multiple vehicles involved in a crash.

When you hire a personal injury attorney, most of the communications from your lawyer will be with the insurance company, not the at-fault driver. Insurance companies have large claims departments who will work with your lawyer to discuss the injuries that occurred, what sort of medical treatment was received, if there are any lost wages, and the intangible ways the crash affected your life. The folks who initially handle claims for an insurance company are called “adjusters.” While insurance companies do, of course, also have many lawyers working for them,
generally lawyers only become involved once a lawsuit is filed.

On paper, insurance companies are supposed to pay for any and all damages and losses caused by their own insured.

In reality, however, insurance companies are businesses with bottom lines, profit margins, shareholders, and executives. Therefore, insurance companies are constantly finding ways to deny claims entirely or severely undervalue how much a claim is worth. In doing so, the insurance company is hoping that people will drop their claims or take much less than they deserve, putting more money into the insurance company’s coffers.

This is precisely why hiring an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney is so important after you have been injured.

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Colorado Car Accidents: What if Another Driver Failed to Yield?

Consider the following hypothetical: you are traveling down the highway at a normal rate of speed, both of your hands are on the wheel, and your full attention is on the road. Suddenly, another vehicle jumps out directly in front of your car. You had no opportunity to make an evasive maneuver and you slam right into the back of their vehicle.

Of course, this is certainly a stressful and frustrating experience. To make matters worse, because your car hit the back of their vehicle, you may be worried that you will be blamed for the accident. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence in Colorado. A failure to yield accident can be complex; as such, if you have been involved in one, you need to contact an experienced Denver auto accident lawyer for immediate legal assistance.

Failure to Yield Accidents Occur in Many Wayscrash-1308575_640

You have been the victim of a failure to yield accident if your collision occurred when you legally had the right-of-way, but another driver denied your vehicle safe passage. The right-of-way is a very important legal concept. The Colorado Driver Handbook provides extensive explanations as to how the right-of-way is suppose to work in many different specific scenarios. Some common examples of accidents where drivers fail to follow the proper right-of-way procedures include:

  • A driver making a left turn before the intersection was free of traffic;
  • A driver merging directly in front of another car on the highway;
  • A vehicle running through a stop sign or a traffic light; and
  • A driver making a right turn while a pedestrian or bicyclist was in the crosswalk.

Proving Negligence in a Failure to Yield Accident

In order to hold another driver liable for your car accident injuries, you must prove that they were negligent. The failure to properly yield, in accordance with Colorado traffic regulations, is a form of negligence. Many failure to yield accident victims worry that they will get unfairly blamed for the collision. This is a legitimate concern, as in these cases the other driver will generally be encroaching on your lane and therefore your vehicle will technically be hitting their vehicle. However, this does not make the accident your fault. It is critically important that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible in this type of situation. Your lawyer can help you gather all of the necessary accident evidence in order to help you prevail in your claim. Key evidence can come in many different forms. As an example, expert accident scene recreation analysis can be valuable when it comes to proving just how an accident occurred. Further, witness testimony may also be able to help support your claim.

Were You Involved in an Accident?

You deserve full and fair compensation for any damage caused by another driver’s negligence. The experienced Denver car accident lawyers at Zaner Harden Law are ready to help. If you have been involved in a failure to yield accident in the Denver area, please do not hesitate to contact our office today at (303)-558-6221 to set up a free review of your case.

Special Considerations for Rollover Accident Injury Cases

Any type of auto accident has the potential to result in very serious injuries. However, rollover accidents are uniquely dangerous. Rollovers account for a highly dispropriate share of all highway fatalities. Further, rollover accidents also involve some special legal considerations. If you or a loved one has been injured in a rollover accident, please contact an experienced car accident attorney in Denver for immediate assistance.

The Data on Rollover Accidents

traffic light

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) conducted a comprehensive study on the causes and consequences of highway rollover accidents. Unfortunately, the data paints a bleak picture. Rollovers account for only a tiny percentage of all car accidents, yet nearly 30 percent of all highway fatalities occur as a result of vehicle rollovers. While it is good news that rollover accidents are relatively rare, the tremendous damage that they can cause is extremely unnerving. The USDOT has found that the vast majority of rollover accidents, more than 9 out 10, occurred because the vehicle was ‘tripped’. Tripping refers to when a vehicle slides sideways, and then the tires stick into something, causing the vehicle to overturn.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Colorado Rollover Accident?

When considering rollover accidents, it is especially important that every effort be made to ensure that all potential liable parties are identified. This is critical for two reasons: first, in these types of accidents, multiple parties might bear some liability; and further, the damages sustained in rollover accidents are often particularly bad. When assessing liability, your lawyer will immediately look in the following three directions:

  • Other motorists: Drivers should always be held responsible for their negligence. In many cases, a rollover accident is initially triggered by the negligent actions of another motorist. For example, imagine that you were travelling on U.S. Route 285, just outside of Denver, when another car swerved into your lane and made contact with your vehicle. This could cause your vehicle to slide and rollover. That driver must be held liable for triggering that accident
  • Vehicle manufacturers: Vehicle and auto parts manufacturers may bear liability for a rollover accident. There are several different factors to consider here, but ultimately, if a manufacturing defect led to you suffering damage, the responsible company must be held liable. A company can be held liable for a defect if it caused a rollover or if it contributed to making the rollover accident worse. For example, it should not be easy for a vehicle to rollover. If your vehicle was involved in what should have been a minor accident, but then your vehicle suddenly flipped over, the manufacturer may potentially bear some liability for creating the additional risk.
  • Hazards on the road: Finally, it is also important to consider any road hazards that may have led to the rollover accident. Colorado drivers have the fair expectation that the highways will be kept in reasonably safe condition. In some cases, a government entity or one of their highway contractors might be liable for a rollover accident. For example, this could be an issue in a single vehicle accident in which a rollover was caused by a road defect or a damaged guardrail.

Do You Need Legal Assistance?

At Zaner Harden Law, our passionate Colorado auto accident attorneys have extensive experience handling a wide variety of accident cases, including rollover accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a rollover accident, please contact our office as soon as possible. Our team assists accident victims throughout the region, including in Boulder and Englewood.