From slipping on ice to car crashes, accidents happen every day. In 2019, 24.8 million people sought medical care at a doctor’s office because of accidental injuries. In 2021, unintentional injuries sent 25.5 million people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment and claimed more than 224,000 lives.
Although there are times you may cause your accident or be the victim of bad luck, often, someone is liable for the circumstances leading to your injuries. When dealing with accident injuries, it’s crucial to understand what makes a person responsible for an accident and how a personal injury lawyer can help ensure you know when to hire a personal injury lawyer.
What is a personal injury attorney?
Understanding what a personal injury attorney is begins with understanding what a personal injury is. Personal injuries are any injury to an individual, which can include physical or psychological injuries.
A personal injury attorney represents the legal interests of the victim and fights for them to receive compensation for the harm they’ve endured. Attorneys complete seven years of postsecondary training, earning a bachelor’s and a law degree. They choose a legal specialization during law school, ensuring they’re familiar with relevant laws and trial precedents they can use to represent their clients. They must pass the bar exam to be a licensed attorney.
Do I need a personal injury attorney?
There may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit if a person’s negligence or deliberate actions caused the accident. Reasons you may need a personal injury attorney include coping with costly injuries, losing a loved one, or facing a lawsuit because of an accident causing injuries or death.
Although some of the millions of people each year dealing with accidental injuries make a full recovery, others suffer catastrophic injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives. Both short-term and permanent injuries can have financial and personal costs. In addition to expensive medical bills, your injuries could affect your career or keep you from enjoying your favorite activities.
It’s natural to be shocked and traumatized when an accident claims the life of a loved one. A personal injury attorney is your advocate after a devastating loss. Your lawyer will fight for compensation for costs stemming from the accident, including lost income and funeral costs.
You may need a lawyer to defend you if someone names you as the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit. In some situations, more than one party shares responsibility for an accident. Colorado has a comparative negligence law, allowing for shared responsibility. You may need a personal injury lawyer to prevent you from taking sole responsibility if another party was also at fault, to defend you from false accusations if you weren’t at fault, or to protect your legal rights if your negligence or deliberate actions caused the accident.
Grounds for a personal injury lawsuit
The person who caused the accident must be guilty of one of the following to be liable:
- Negligence: Negligence occurs when a person’s actions or inactions cause harm. It’s based on what most people would do under the same circumstances. Suppose you live in a city that requires residents to treat the sidewalks in front of their property within 24 hours after a snow or ice storm. It’s been 36 hours, but you don’t realize your neighbor didn’t treat the sidewalk in front of their house, and you slip and fall. Your neighbor could be liable for injuries stemming from their failure to act.
- Wrongdoing: You have grounds to sue if someone committed an illegal act resulting in injury or death. Suppose a burglar breaks into your home and hits you when attempting to escape. The blow causes brain damage. You have grounds for a civil suit against the burglar.
- Strict liability: Strict liability applies to individuals or companies that can be liable by default. Suppose you bought a faulty kitchen appliance that catches fire, causing burns and other injuries. You don’t need to prove what most people would have done under the same circumstances to establish negligence. You have grounds to sue the manufacturer under strict liability laws.
What is the statute of limitations in Colorado for personal injury?
In Colorado, victims in most personal injury cases have 24 months to initiate a civil lawsuit. However, Colorado car accident victims have 36 months to file a civil suit.
What is the average settlement in a personal injury case?
Personal injury settlements vary based on the accident type and severity of the injuries. While the median settlements in premises liability and product liability cases were $90,000 and $748,000 in 2005, the median settlement for car crash victims was $16,000.
How a personal injury attorney can help
Bachus & Schanker are renowned Colorado personal injury lawyers with decades of experience fighting for justice for injury victims. Our law firm has a Victim’s Advocate team staffed by legal and law enforcement professionals who gather evidence and help clients access financial resources while waiting for their settlement. Our entire team is here to keep you informed, answer your questions, and ensure your case progresses while you focus on your recovery.
You’ll receive a free consultation when you contact a personal injury attorney. There are no upfront legal fees. Personal injury lawyers investigate your accident and determine if you have grounds for compensation.
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