How Much is My Case Worth?
There are more than 120,000 motor vehicle accidents reported in Colorado every year. Although not every collision injures someone, thousands of claims are filed by those who are injured by a negligent party. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are paid to injury victims in settlements from those accidents.
Every crash is different, as are the injuries and damages victims suffer and the amount of insurance coverage they can obtain for compensation. It is difficult to predict what a case is worth but it is easier than predicting how much your settlement will be. There are multiple variables at play in every claim. You need a personal injury attorney who knows what they are and has the experience to pursue maximum compensation.
At Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law, we have been helping injury victims in Denver, Aurora, Englewood, Arvada, Commerce City, Centennial, Lakewood, Thornton, and Wheatridge seek compensation for more than 30 years.
What Damages Can I Recover
in a Colorado Personal Injury Claim?
Compensatory damages in Colorado include economic damages, non-economic damages, and damages for physical impairment.
Economic damages include compensation for expenses such as past and future medical and rehabilitative treatment, lost wages, and compensation for essential services you can no longer perform, such as yard maintenance or housework. There are no caps on economic damages.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to value but are compensable. These include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety, and emotional distress. Colorado caps non-economic damages resulting from car accidents at $250,000 unless the court believes the victim’s damages exceed that sum. They cannot, however, award more than $500,000.
Unlike most states, Colorado includes physical impairment as compensable damage separate from economic and non-economic damages. Although this category is based on pain and suffering, it is not capped like non-economic damages are. Moreover, it is separate from future medical expenses that might be involved with some injuries. Physical impairment is the pain and suffering a victim endures due to physical disfigurement, neurological issues, and other conditions that result from injuries, such as the inability to conceive children due to internal injuries.
Finally, if the actions of the negligent driver were willful and wanton, a jury could award exemplary or “punitive damages,” designed to punish the defendant. The amount of punitive damages awarded cannot be more than the combined total amount of the other damages awarded.
Factors That Determine the Value of a Case
There are four key factors that will determine the value of your claim:
The extent of your compensatory damages is the cornerstone of your claim. The greater the damages, the higher the value of your claim.
The amount of comparative fault, if any, assigned to you for the accident will affect the value. Colorado observes the principle of comparative negligence. As long as someone else was more at fault than you were for the crash, you can recover damages, but your recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. The smaller your percentage of fault, the greater your case value can be.
The level of insurance coverage also affects the settlement amount. The policy limits of the negligent driver’s insurance coverage may be insufficient to fully compensate you for your damages. If the driver has substantial assets that are the driver’s and theirs alone, you may be able to sue to obtain a judgment against the driver for more than the insurance policy limits.
The injuries you sustain will affect the value of your claim. The more severe your injuries, the higher the value of your claim.
What to Do to Maximize Your Compensation
The best step you can take to maximize compensation for your claim is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Studies have shown that recoveries are significantly more substantial when a victim is represented by a personal injury attorney than when they are not, even after case expenses and attorney fees are paid. Injury lawyers know where to look for coverage, how to negotiate with insurers, how to value noneconomic and physical impairment damages, and if necessary, how to present a compelling case in court.
Make sure you get all of the necessary medical treatment for your injuries. Failing to do so will not only risk your health and your recovery, it may significantly reduce the value of your economic damages.
If you want to maximize compensation, do not accept the insurance company’s initial settlement offer. It will not only be far lower than the value of your claim, but you may be settling long before you know the full extent of your injury. Once you agree to settle your claim, there is no going back to ask for more.
Establishing the value of your claim also rests on the evidence you provide that documents it. Your attorney will know what information and documents you need, where to find them, and how to obtain them.
Personal Injury Experience You Can Trust
Maximizing compensation for your personal injury claim depends on compelling evidence of its value. If you fail to establish that, by overlooking expenses and losses or by not knowing how to assign a value to less tangible but very real damages, you will not be made whole.
If you have been injured in or around Denver, Colorado, or the surrounding areas of Aurora, Englewood, Arvada, Commerce City, Centennial, Lakewood, Thornton, and Wheatridge, put our team at Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law to work on building your case for maximum compensation. Call us now to schedule a consultation.