Colorado civil law allows those who are harmed by the negligence and wrongful actions of another to bring forth a personal injury case for damages. Personal injury cases are used to recover damages in the form of monetary compensation, including damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
However, bringing forth a successful personal injury case that provides a plaintiff with the maximum compensation award possible requires proving four elements, discussed below.
1. Duty of Care
The first element of a personal injury case is the existence of a duty of care. The duty of care is simply the moral or the legal obligation that one party owes to another in order to protect safety and wellbeing. The duty of care varies depending upon the parties involved, and the type of accident. For example, a driver has a duty of care to all others on the road to operate their vehicle in a safe, reasonable, and responsible manner in order to reduce the risk of an accident. A property owner, on the other hand, has a duty of care to maintain their property in a reasonably safe and hazard-free condition for those who enter the property legally, but has no such duty of care to a trespasser beyond not causing the trespasser willful or wanton harm (CRS 13-21-115(3)(a)).
2. Breach of the Duty of Care
The second element that a plaintiff in a Denver personal injury case must prove is that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed to behave with the level of care that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have exercised, or violated a law or statute (negligence per se). Negligence, or a breach of the duty of care, can include behaviors ranging from speeding to texting while driving to failing to properly monitor an expecting mother to insufficiently removing snow or ice from a sidewalk and more.
One of the most important elements of a personal injury case is proving causation, or that the defendant’s actions were the cause of the plaintiff’s accident and injuries. In a personal injury case in Colorado, the burden of proof that a plaintiff carries to prove causation is proof by preponderance of the evidence, which essentially means that the plaintiff must prove that it is more likely than not that their injuries were caused by the actions of the defendant.
Fourth and finally, a plaintiff must prove damages, or losses, in order to recover compensation for the harm that they suffered. In Denver personal injury claims, plaintiffs are allowed to seek compensation for all types of damages suffered, including both economic and noneconomic harm. Economic damages are damages intended to compensate the victim for actual financial losses, such as hospital expenses, and noneconomic damages are designed to compensate the plaintiff for intangible harm, such as pain and suffering.
You Deserve to Be Compensated for Your Losses
If you are injured by the negligent actions of another party, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. At the law offices of Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, our experienced Denver personal injury attorneys will review your case for free, and then get to work investigating your accident and building your claim. To learn more about how we can help, call us to schedule your free consultation today.