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How to Determine Fault in Denver Personal Injury Accidents

Mark A. Simon July 13, 2016

Legal responsibility, also known as liability, in personal injury accidents can be tricky and often rests upon evidence of carelessness or negligence. The legal system works from a basic premise: “If one person involved in an accident was less careful than another, the less careful one must pay for at least a portion of the damages suffered by the more careful one. Personal injury attorneys in Denver want you to be able to make a sound judgment of liability before embarking upon a potentially expensive lawsuit.

Legal liability for most accidents can be judged by the rule of carelessness and one or more of the following qualifications:

  • Where did the accident happen? If you sustained injury in a place where you were not supposed to be, then the property owner might not be held liable.

  • Was the injured person acting in a careless manner? If you sustained injury due to your own less than prudent actions, then the property owner might not be held liable.

  • Was the negligent person working for someone else? If you sustained injury due to the carelessness of an employee, then the employer may be held legally responsible.

  • Were the conditions surrounding the accident unsafe? If you sustained injury due to poor construction or poor maintenance--such as falling through the rotted boards of a deck--then the property owner is responsible. This condition does not cover trespassers.

  • Was accident caused by a defective product? If you sustained injury from a defective product that you used as the manufacturer intended the product for use and well within the product’s useful lifetime, then the manufacturer would be responsible.

Additional rules come into play when more than one person can be held responsible for an accident. However, not all injury claims involve the usual circumstances of negligence. The injured party can prove fault by establishing intentional conduct or showing that the claim is subject to the strict liability standard of proof. If an individual targets you and hurts you without excuse, then he will have engaged in intentional conduct and be liable for your injury. Strict liability applies to those occasions when “the plaintiff suffered a foreseeable injury while involved in a qualifying situation,” such as accidents “involving possession of wild animals and to abnormally dangerous activities.”

Defendants will surely counter personal injury lawsuits using the following common defenses: comparative fault, assumption of risk, and trespasser defense. Courts resolve many personal injury claims by distributing fault among plaintiffs and defendants, defendants then being ordered to remit payment for their percentage of fault. If the plaintiff engages in a dangerous activity (e.g., bungee jumping, horseback riding, skateboarding, etc.), the defendant can avoid liability by showing that the plaintiff had knowledge of the risk of injury and voluntarily participated anyway. As stated before, property owners may not be held liable if a trespasser is injured on their property.

Denver personal injury attorney Mark A. Simon will help you to determine liability and aggressively pursue all the avenues for justice to ensure you receive the medical care and legal representation you deserve. If you suffer a personal injury accident, call to schedule a consultation.