WHEN SHOULD I CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER FOR FREE
At Zinda Law Group, we understand the impact that a serious injury or accident can have on a victim’s life. However, not all accidents or injuries entitle someone to recover by means of a personal injury case. Rather, it is when an individual suffers an injury or sustains damages to their property as the result of someone else’s negligence or intentional acts, that the law generally entitles them to compensation. Personal injury cases vary widely in the amount of compensation they provide, but they generally include a range of expenses from medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other ongoing costs that can be traced to the accident.
If the negligence of another individual caused or contributed to your injury in the Fort Collin’s area, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our experienced Fort Collins personal injury lawyers.
How Much is my Personal Injury Case Worth?
The value of your personal injury case depends on several components.
Types of Damages
Generally, there are two categories of damages available to plaintiffs for compensation: economic damages and non-economic damages; both of which will be factored into the evaluation of your claim.
Economic damages refer to the losses that can be easily documented and quantified. To determine the extent of your economic damages we will look at a host of expenses including:
- What you were charged for any medical treatment that you were provided in connection with the initial accident,
- If any medical treatment or therapies will be necessary in the future,
- Whether you lost any wages as a result of the injury or recovery period, and
- Whether your ability to earn wages in the future has been impaired or impacted by the accident.
Non-economic damages refer to the losses that are more difficult to quantify monetarily. To determine your non-economic damages, we take into consideration:
- Any emotional distress or pain and suffering caused by the injury,
- Any permanent physical impairment or disfigurement that results in the loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Any other non-financial inconveniences you may experience as a result of the injury.
The challenge with non-economic damages is deciding how to place a value on the intangible losses and then to justify this value to an insurance company, judge, or jury. It is for this reason that many personal injury claims require experts to testify to these quantities.
State-Specific Damage Caps
Another important consideration when assessing the value of your claim is your state’s damage caps. A damage cap refers to a state law that places a limit on the amount that plaintiffs can recover for particular types of damages.
Under Colorado law, while there is no cap on the amount of economic damages that a plaintiff can receive for their personal injury claim, there is, however, a cap on non-economic damages. The current non-economic damages cap for civil claims (other than medical malpractice claims) sits at $250,000 but this sum can be extended to the absolute maximum of $499,999. Similarly, the award for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice action cannot exceed $300,000, and the state also imposes a $1,000,000 cap on total damages.
Attribution of Fault and Contributory Negligence
One final area of consideration is whether you, the accident victim, caused or contributed to the injury in some way. Jurisdictions vary in how they apportion blame amongst negligent actors and the accident victims, ranging from systems of comparative negligence to contributory negligence.
Colorado operates under a modified comparative negligence system, meaning a plaintiff's damage award can be reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s own fault for the accident; and, if the plaintiff's fault is greater than or equal to the combined fault of the defendant(s), the plaintiff may receive no damage award. The argument that you may be partially at fault is an argument that insurance carriers also like to make because, if you are found to have contributed to your injury, they are likewise not obligated to compensate you for damages.
Given the complexity of personal injury claims and the glacial pace of insurance reimbursement, accident victims are highly recommended to seek out an attorney as soon as possible. While insurers are often more concerned with protecting their bottom lines, personal injury attorneys have your best interest at heart. Moreover, at Zinda Law Group our Fort Collins personal injury attorneys will do their best to make sure you are compensated to the fullest extent possible.
What Types of Cases Could Qualify as Personal Injuries?
There are a variety of situations that can give rise to a personal injury claim. However, it is important to remember that an injury alone doesn't automatically result in legal liability. As mentioned above, there must be some degree of negligence or culpability on the part of the tortfeasor to impose liability. The types of personal injury claims generally fall into three main categories: Accidents, Intentional Conduct, or Defective Products.
- Car accidents or motorcycle accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Cycling accidents or pedestrian injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Premises defects or hazardous conditions
- Wrongful deaths
- Slip and fall
- Nursing home neglect or elder abuse
- Assaults and battery
- Spousal abuse
- Faulty car manufacturing
- Defective machinery in the workplace
- Toxic children’s products
- Poisonous food products
How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take to Resolve?
The length of your case depends on a number of circumstances, some are which are within our control and others are not.
As a preliminary matter, you will want to determine if you can still file your claim or if your filing window has closed. The answer depends on the claim’s particular statute of limitations. The “statute of limitation” refers to a state law that places a strict time limit on the plaintiff’s right to file suit in civil court.
Under Colorado law, a person must bring suit for personal injury no later than two years after the date of the accident. However, if the accident occurred as a result of the use or operation of a motor vehicle, claimants have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Therefore, while it may be reasonable to take a few months to recover after a car accident, the legal clock starts ticking the day that the accident occurred; thus, it’s always a good idea to begin the process early.
Additionally, it is usually recommended that claimants begin any necessary medical treatment with their medical providers before commencing litigation. Ideally, the claimant should try and reach the maximum medical improvement possible before trial because: (1) it helps to quantify the full extent of your current medical bills, (2) it allows the court/jury to better determine what aspects of your injury will carry on after the trial, and (3) it provides a clearer projection of the future medical expenses that you may require.
Another circumstance affecting the duration of your case is the pre-trial negotiation process. If your case requires a formal lawsuit and trial, the case may take one to three years to resolve. The resolution date of a lawsuit depends highly on the court’s docket and the ongoing negotiations with the insurance company.
Who will Pay for the Costs of the Personal Injury Case?
If the claimant has been injured, they will often be dealing with a mountain of medical bills and most victims can’t afford to shell out thousands of dollars to pay for the expenses not covered by their insurance. Further, there are not only medical expenses but there are also numerous other expenditures as a part of the pre-trial evidence process (e.g. the costs of obtaining documents such as medical records, police reports, etc.) and the court filing process.
The principal expenditure for personal injury cases is usually for the testimony of expert witnesses. Expert witnesses attest to the severity of the injuries and the extent of compensation that is required for the claimant to recover. Expert witness fees for these cases can run into the five-figure range.
Given that the costs of these cases are so high, personal injury lawyers are typically willing to advance some of these expenditures for their clients. However, because these costs are just an advance, the client will have to pay the law firm back at the end of the case (out of their portion of the settlement or judgment), in addition to the percentage that is allocated for the attorney’s fees. This means that clients are often allowed to focus on their recovery and let their attorney handles the minutia of the case.
Get a Free Consultation for Your Personal Injury Case from Zinda Law Group
At Zinda Law Group, our Fort Collins personal injury lawyers have helped many personal injury claimants and their beneficiaries get their lives back on track after suffering injuries, death, and financial losses. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation for any associated medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and all the other costs your injury has caused.
Our firm believes that injured clients should not have to worry about their ability to afford high-quality legal representation. This is why we offer 100% free consultations. Zinda Law Group operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.