Personal injury law is a field of civil law that governs the process of financially compensating injured victims of car accidents or social wrong-doings. The injured party, or plaintiff, brings a lawsuit against the party allegedly responsible for the injury. When the victim is fatally injured, his or her family may bring a wrongful death suit against the party responsible for the accident.
In some cases, multiple parties may be responsible for the accident. Under these circumstances, a plaintiff may be eligible to recover the full amount of compensation necessary for their injuries by suing all responsible parties.
Because it is a civil suit, a personal injury case typically carries a lower burden of proof than any criminal case arising from the same actions. Therefore, it is possible to make a recovery in a personal injury lawsuit even if the criminal case resulted in an acquittal.
While the chief purpose of a personal injury is to recover damages for the plaintiff rather than punish the defendant, it is sometimes possible to seek punitive damages for intentional or particularly malicious misconduct. Punitive damages are a separate award from compensatory damages and are typically capped.
Elements of Negligence
Many types of situations may give rise to personal injury lawsuits, including automobile accidents, premises liability, or medical malpractice. Typically injuries are the result of reckless conduct rather than intentional acts.
To prove negligence in Colorado, these elements must exist:
- The party who caused your injury owed you a duty of reasonable care and failed to uphold that duty
- Your injuries were caused by that failure
- You suffered losses related to the injury
Compensation for Personal Injury Victims
In most personal injury cases, an injury victim may recover economic and non-economic compensatory damages. Economic damages are those associated with tangible losses related to the injury that can be documented. These include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost income
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages are associated with intangible losses and can be capped according to the ruling of the court. These types of “pain and suffering” damages can include:
- Physical and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
Time Limitations on Personal Injury Lawsuits
Colorado, like most states, places a limit on the amount of time an injury victim has to file a lawsuit against a negligent party. This restriction, or statute of limitation, is typically two years. Usually, the time limit starts on the date of the injury. However, individual cases may have unique circumstances that affect the statute of limitations and it is important to contact an attorney immediately following your accident.
Contact Our Greeley Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love is injured through no fault of your own, it is important to understand your legal rights. Contact Gregory A. Gold of the Gold Law Firm today for a free consultation at (303) 694-4653. You should not have to suffer financial hardships because of another person’s mistake – call today.