Tag: negligence

What is the Seatbelt Defense?

What is the Seatbelt Defense?

Some insurance companies are willing to accept the fact that their policyholder was at fault for an accident if they have enough evidence that says this is true. But, other insurance companies won’t go down without a fight. One of the most common strategies that is used by the at-fault party’s insurance company in a car accident claim is known as the seatbelt defense.

What is the Seatbelt Defense?

Countless studies have shown that wearing a seatbelt is the most effective way to protect yourself in a car accident. Despite this research, it is estimated that only 85% of people in the state of Colorado wear their seatbelts.

Now, let’s say you were injured in a car accident that was clearly caused by the other driver. If you weren’t wearing your seatbelt at the time of the crash, the at-fault party could try to use the seatbelt defense. This means the at-fault party will try to prove that you would not have been injured or would not have suffered such serious injuries if you been responsible enough to wear your seatbelt. Basically, the defendant is attempting to reduce his liability by saying that you were partially or totally responsible for your injuries.

The Seatbelt Defense & Comparative Negligence

Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state, which means personal injury victims may still be able to recover compensation even if they were partially to blame for the accident. But, victims cannot recover compensation if they were 50% or more responsible for their injuries. Therefore, the seatbelt defense can be used to reduce the amount of compensation awarded to the plaintiff.

For example, let’s say you suffer a concussion and broken bones in a car crash. Then, the defendant successfully proves that you would not have suffered a concussion if you were wearing your seatbelt, but you would have still suffered broken bones. As a result, the court finds that 30% of the liability falls on you, while the remaining 70% falls on the defendant. This means the amount of compensation that you are awarded will be decreased by 30%, so the seatbelt defense was successful. If the court finds that you are 50% or more responsible for your injuries, the defendant will not have to compensate you at all.

If you were not wearing a seatbelt when you were injured in a crash, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will be prepared to fight the seatbelt defense and recover the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How Do You Know if You Have a Personal Injury Case?

How Do You Know if You Have a Personal Injury Case?

So, you’ve been injured in a car crash, slip and fall, or some other type of unexpected accident. Many of your friends and family members may have recommended that you contact a attorney to discuss your case. But, how do you know if you have a personal injury case? Here are the three keys to every personal injury claim:

Negligence

First, consider whether the person who is responsible for your injuries was negligent. But, what exactly is negligence? People have a “duty of care,” which means they have a legal responsibility to avoid doing any harm to someone else. If this duty of care is breached, the person is said to be acting negligently.

For example, drivers are expected to operate their vehicles as safely as possible to protect other motorists on the road. A driver who decides to operate his vehicle while intoxicated is breaching his duty to other drivers by driving impaired and putting them in harm’s way.

To put it simply, the defendant is negligent if another reasonable person in the defendant’s situation would have known that his actions could potentially harm another person.

The Negligence Caused Injuries

The presence of negligent behavior is not enough to make a strong personal injury case. You must also be able to show that the negligence directly caused your injuries. Using the example above, the drunk driver may be negligent, but he would not be liable for your injuries if he was not involved in the accident. Even though his decision to drive while impaired was negligent, it did not lead to your injuries, and therefore the defendant is not liable.

However, if the drunk driver collided with you because he was too impaired to operate his vehicle, his negligence directly caused your injuries.

Damages

Finally, you will have to be able to prove that the injuries sustained in the accident caused you harm. Did you incur medical expenses? Did you have to take time off of work in order to recover from the injuries? Did the injuries cause you a great deal of emotional and physical pain? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be able to recover compensation for the harm you have suffered as a result of your injuries.

Identifying these three elements of a personal injury case can be difficult, which is why it’s always in your best interests to discuss your case with an attorney. Contact Reisch Law Firm today to determine if you have a valid personal injury claim. Schedule a free consultation by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What You Need to Know About Modified Comparative Negligence Laws in Colorado

What You Need to Know About Modified Comparative Negligence Laws in Colorado

The amount of compensation that you are able to recover for a personal injury may be affected by the modified comparative negligence laws in Colorado. What are these laws? How will they affect your settlement or verdict? Here’s everything that you need to know:

The Basics of Comparative Negligence

In order to recover compensation in a personal injury claim, you must be able to show that the defendant caused your injuries. But in some cases, it’s possible that both you and the defendant contributed to the cause of your injuries. For example, if you slip on a puddle of water inside a retail store and injure yourself, you may try to recover compensation from the property owner because he allowed this hazard to exist on his property. However, let’s say you were distracted by a cell phone at the time of the accident. If you could have easily avoided the accident by paying attention to where you were walking, you may be partially at fault.

In these cases, the defendant and plaintiff will each be assigned a percentage of the blame. In the above example, the property owner may be assigned 80% of the blame whereas the victim may receive 20% of it. The percentage of blame that is assigned to you is important because it will affect the amount of compensation that you are able to recover.

How Modified Comparative Negligence Laws Affect Compensation

Your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault that has been assigned to you. Let’s say that the total compensation awarded to you was $10,000 in the above slip and fall example. Because you were found to be 20% at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 20%, or $2,000 and you would only receive $8,000.

However, some victims may not be able to recover any compensation at all if they are partially to blame for the accident. This occurs in cases where the victim is found to be over 50% responsible. Because the victim is assigned more of the blame than the defendant, the victim is not eligible for compensation.

The concept of modified comparative negligence can come into play in any type of personal injury case. It’s important that you work with an attorney who knows how to prove that the other party was at fault and that your contribution to the cause of the accident was minimal.

Have you been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Seek legal representation from Reisch Law Firm today. Our team of attorneys can gather the evidence needed to prove that you were not at fault for the accident so you can recover the maximum amount of compensation. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.