Proving Fault in a Personal Injury Case
If you’ve been injured due to the negligent actions of another, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages in a personal injury lawsuit. In order to achieve a successful outcome, you’ll need to be able to prove the other party was at fault for the accident that caused your injury. Proving fault in a personal injury case can often be very complicated, and it’s crucial that you work with an experienced attorney who can ensure you gather all the necessary evidence to demonstrate negligence on the part of the other party.
Elements Needed to Establish Negligence
Negligence refers to the failure to act with a level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances. In order to demonstrate that your injuries were caused by the negligence of another, you must be able to prove the following four elements:
- Duty – The other party owed you a legal duty of care. For example, other drivers on the road owe you a duty to operate their vehicle with a certain level of care that will avoid an accident.
- Breach of duty – The other party breached this legal duty by acting or failing to act in a certain manner. In other words, the other party’s actions failed to meet the standards that a reasonably responsible person would adhere to in that same situation. In our example above, a driver would breach his duty of care by exceeding the speed limit or by texting while driving.
- Causation – The other party’s negligent actions caused your injuries. In many instances, causation is fairly easy to prove. In our car accident example, if the other driver hit your vehicle because he was texting while driving and didn’t see you were stopped at a red light, then it’s clear his negligent actions caused your injuries.
- Damages – The accident resulted in financial damages. In order to recover compensation, it’s not enough to have been involved in an accident. You must prove that you suffered financial damages that require compensation, such as medical bills or lost wages.
How Your Own Fault Impacts Your Personal Injury Claim
Colorado adheres to comparative negligence laws. This means that your damages are reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to your actions. In addition, if it’s determined that you’re more than 50% responsible for the accident, you won’t be able to receive any compensation at all.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident and the other driver was determined to be 75% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by 25% (the percentage of fault attributed to your actions). If your total damages were found to be $100,000, you’d only receive $75,000 in this situation. However, if your actions were determined to be 55% responsible for the accident, you wouldn’t be able to recover any money.
For this reason, it’s critical that you work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you demonstrate the extent to which the other party’s actions were responsible for the accident. Being able to demonstrate that the other party was 100% responsible for your injuries is essential to maximize the value of your compensation.
How to Prove Negligence
In order to prove fault, you must be able to present evidence demonstrating that all four elements of negligence discussed above exist. There are several ways to generate this evidence:
- Evidence from the accident scene – It’s important to document as much evidence as possible at the accident scene. Photos of the accident scene can help you paint a picture of what happened. If possible, take photos showing any hazardous conditions, defective equipment or other items that may have contributed to your injuries. In addition, take photos of any injuries you’ve suffered to help demonstrate their severity.
- Medical records – Providing medical reports and bills for treatments performed can help you establish the nature and severity of your injuries.
- Eyewitness accounts – It’s important to get the contact information for any eyewitnesses at the accident scene who can provide support for your version of the events.
- Expert witness testimony – Enlisting the assistance of experts such as medical professionals or accident reconstruction specialists who can provide objective, authoritative opinions about the cause of the actions and the extent of your injuries can strengthen your claim.
- Police reports – If the police are dispatched to the scene, it’s likely that they will fill out a report detailing their perspective on what happened. This report will often contain statements regarding which party was at fault for the accident, and it can provide important evidence to support your claim.
Pushchak Law Can Help
If you’ve suffered a serious personal injury, you may be facing tremendous financial hardships. Medical bills can pile up quickly and if you were forced to miss time from work while you recover, it can become even harder to pay your bills. Due to these high stakes, it’s crucial that you work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you maximize the value of your compensation. At Pushchak Law, we’re here to help.
Brian Pushchak has helped countless individuals recover compensation after a personal injury. He knows the complex laws which apply to these claims, and he can help you gather the evidence necessary to prove the other party’s negligent actions caused your injuries. His expertise will provide you with the edge you need when seeking to maximize your compensation.
You’ll benefit from Mr. Pushchak’s unique Informed Decisions™ Approach focused on helping you achieve the best possible outcome to your case. With our approach, you always remain in control of the process. Mr. Pushchak will spend as much time as necessary discussing your goals for the case to ensure you are both aligned regarding your desired outcome. He’ll recommend the ideal strategy to achieve your goals and answer any questions you may have to ensure you fully understand your legal rights and options. You’ll then have final say on the approach used with your case.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Pushchak Law serves clients in Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.
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