If you have questions about injuries or have done any research online, you’ve likely seen long paragraphs stacked with language like “contributory negligence,” “tort law,” and “plaintiff’s request for summary judgment.”
While it’s good to know that information, here’s a reality check – those are legal terms that most people (other than lawyers) really don’t care about and shouldn’t need to understand.
With that in mind, we’ve broken down the basics of Colorado injury law and presented it in a new and easy-to-understand way below.
So check out what COLORADO stands for in the world of injury law, and then share this post on Facebook to help us spread the word and get this information to those who need it the most!
COLORADO Stand For…
C – Check ups are key. One of the biggest mistakes people make after being injured is that they stop going to the doctor. They start to feel a little better, and they stop going to their follow up appointments. This makes it seem like you aren’t really hurt that bad, and it can damage your ability to get compensation. More importantly, without proper medical monitoring you could let a serious condition go undiagnosed and end up in an even worse situation.
O – Only so long to file a claim. There are specific rules about how long after an accident an injury claim may be filed. If you wait too long, the court will simply say “too bad” and you will be out of luck. Because the timeline for filing varies based on the type of accident and the extent of the injuries involved, it’s important to take action right away to avoid missing the deadline.
L – Legal responsibility. Who can I file a claim against after an accident? If I was partly responsible for the accident, will it affect who I can sue and how much money I can recover? How will a judge or jury decide who was responsible for the accident? These are all perfectly normal questions to have after an accident, and they are actually some of the questions that clients as us most frequently. While the full answers to these questions are best discussed in person (give us a call – we’re happy to talk about your situation with you), the short answers are:
- You can pursue a claim against anyone who is responsible for the accident (and their insurance companies).
- You can still file a claim, but your payout may be reduced (if you were 51 percent or more responsible, you may not be able to recover compensation).
- The judge or jury will weigh evidence provided by each party, and then make a decision.
O – Options are available. Should you accept a settlement? Will it be better to go to trial? Which course of action will help you accomplish your goals (getting fair compensation, holding those who caused the injuries responsible, etc.)? It’s important to know that you have many options following an injury, and an attorney can help you decide which option makes the most sense for you and your family.
R – Responding to the insurance company. All insurance companies, even your own, are not truly on your side. They are accountable to their shareholders and to their bottom lines, so they will do everything they can to minimize your compensation. This includes using anything you say or information you provide them against you. Because of this, you should be very careful with what you say to them, and you should NEVER sign a release form without first having an attorney look at it.
One of the benefits of hiring an attorney is that once you make that decision and retain his or her services, the insurance company must route all communication through the attorney. This decreases the chance that you will inadvertently say something that could hurt your case, and it eliminates much of the hassle you face when dealing with insurance carriers.
A – Assessing claim value. How much is your claim worth? How much is fair for what you’ve gone through? How much should you be given to pay for ongoing care needs, property repair, lost wages, and other damages caused by the accident (or other injury)? No online calculator can give you a true estimate of your claim’s value. This can only be accomplished by talking to an experienced legal professional and having them examine the facts of your case. That’s part of the reason we offer free consultations – we want you to be able to get an accurate assessment of your case’s value and chance of success before you decide how you want to proceed.
D – Delay, Deny, Defend. These are favorite tactics of insurance companies and the attorneys who help them defend their bottom lines. Due to insurance companies having an army of lawyers on their side trying to minimize or deny your claim for compensation, choosing the right attorney to fight for you is vital to your chances of success.
O – One shot to get it right. When you’ve been hurt, you need compensation as soon as possible to help you pay for your medical care, lost wages, and all other expenses that stem from your injuries. When you need money for these things, you can’t wait around – you need to file a claim and get it right the first time. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you accomplish this, and they can help you understand which options fit your situation best.
Want to learn more? Check out our Injury Law FAQ section to see answers to other common questions.