Colorado Car Accident Lawyers: Case Value
If you’re contemplating filing a claim or a lawsuit in a car crash, you are probably wondering what that case is worth. The answer, of course, is it depends on a variety of factors. The three most important factors are liability, causation and damages. To boil it down even further, damages is by far the most important factor to determine the worth of a case. Damages are, in essence, your injuries from the crash and what those injuries have cost you in terms of money, such as out of pocket expenses and lost wages, as well as physical, emotional and mental suffering. In particularly egregious cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.
The vast majority of car accident cases award compensatory damages intended to compensate the injured person (plaintiff) for the harms that were caused him or her. Compensatory damages are intended to make the person “whole” from a monetary standpoint. Of course, we all know that money cannot fix everything and doesn’t make the injury go away. It is also very difficult to put a dollar figure on an injury since, ideally, we would rather not have pain than receive money for the pain.
these cover many aspects of an injury in a car crash scenario. First, there is reimbursement for medical treatment. This includes an award for past and future medical treatment. In general, the higher the medical bills and the more extensive the medical treatment, the higher the compensatory award.
recoverable if a plaintiff suffered a loss of income or wages, these can also be reimbursed. This covers past and future income that is lost or will become lost. Future wage loss is called loss of earning capacity.
usually reimbursed for damage or loss to the plaintiff’s car and any contents that may have been lost or damaged.
Pain and Suffering:
arguably the most difficult compensatory award to calculate. How does one put a value on the serious discomfort a plaintiff suffered and will continue to suffer into the indefinite future? There are literally volumes written on how to calculate this figure but it really comes down to the individual plaintiff and the extent of the injuries.
Emotional Distress Damages:
meant to reimburse a plaintiff for the psychological trauma of the car crash. This is usually calculated in more serious car crashes.
Loss of Consortium:
relate to the impact the car crash and the injuries have on the plaintiff’s spouse. It refers to the loss of companionship the spouse suffers because the plaintiff has changed or is no longer able to do what the couple enjoyed pre-accident.
In cases where the actions of the party at-fault are so egregious or outrageously careless, a punitive damages award may be given, in addition to any compensatory award. Punitive damages are meant to “punish” the at-fault party for their conduct and deter it from happening again. It is important to note that insurance generally does not cover a punitive damages award and therefore the at-fault party is personally liable for these damages.
In all cases, the plaintiff’s role in the car accident is also evaluated. Depending on the amount of fault determined to rest with the plaintiff, any potential award will be reduced by this amount. Colorado is a comparative negligence state, which means if a plaintiff is found to be 25% at-fault for a car accident, any award given to the plaintiff will be reduced by this amount. Further, in Colorado, if a plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault, they will recover nothing regardless of the damage amount.
Plaintiffs also have to “mitigate” their damages. This means they have to take reasonable steps to minimize the damages they incurred. For example, if they fail to receive the necessary medical treatment after a car crash thereby making their injuries worse, a damages award can be substantially reduced.
Of course, the best way to ascertain what your car crash case is worth is to consult with a competent attorney that specializes in these types of cases. At Zinda Law Group, we have handled literally thousands of car accident cases and can provide you with a fair and balanced evaluation of your case.
At Zinda Law Group, the consultation is free and we work on a contingency fee agreement. This means that unless we make a recovery on your behalf, we do not receive a fee. If you’ve been in a crash that wasn’t your fault, call us to discuss the facts of your particular case.