Fort Collins Personal Injury Lawyers
Call (970) 549-2138 to Speak with Personal Injury Lawyers in Fort Collins for Free.
When you’re injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it can be extremely frustrating and seems unfair. Taking legal action can rid you of financial hardship that may have been caused by your injury.
It may be helpful to hire an attorney to help you handle the case and help ensure that you seek the compensation that you deserve.
What is Personal Injury
Personal injury refers to a physical, economic, psychological, or any other harm you have experienced as a result of an accident that was caused by the negligence of another person or entity. If you have been injured and want to seek compensation for your injuries, you will have to file a personal injury claim. You then must prove that the other party owed you a duty and breached that duty, which led to your injuries.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
Road accidents include car, truck, bus, bike, pedestrian, and electronic scooter accidents. If you were injured while operating one of these or by a person operating one of these, you may be entitled to compensation.
If you are intentionally, negligently, or carelessly killed because of an unsafe environment, sever potential parties may be at fault including the property owner, the tenant, or the manager of the premises.
When a person is injured at work, the employer may be liable. If the employer or manager fails to operate a safe work environment and you’re injured as a result, they may be liable.
If you were bitten, attacked, or otherwise injured by someone else’s dog, the owner of that dog may be liable.
When a consumer uses a protects that malfunctions and is injured as a result, the manufacturer or distributer or the product may be liable for any injuries caused.
- Wrongful death
- Broken bones
- Mental or psychological injuries
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Severe burns
- Internal injuries
- Pain and suffering
What to do After Being Injured in an Accident
1. Seek Medical Attention
If you are injured, it is important to get the medical care that you need as soon as possible. Even if the injury seems minor, you should still consider going to a doctor.
2. Report the Accident
You should call 9-1-1 so that a police officer can file and create a report. You should also report the accident to your insurance company.
3. Document the Accident
When you are injured, you should get the names of everyone involved. Find out the names of any witnesses and get their contact information. It is also helpful to find out the insurance company that insures any people, vehicles, or entities involved in the accident. When possible, it is important to take pictures of the scene and the injuries.
4. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured, finding the right personal injury lawyer can save you money, time, and stress. Your attorney should have a proven record for handling complex personal injury cases and the ability and resources to fully investigate and try your case.
There are four elements that the plaintiff must prove to establish fault in a personal injury case:
1. Duty: The defendant owed a duty to the injured plaintiff;
2. Breach: The defendant failed to comply with this duty in some way (e.g. by breaking a law);
3. Causation: The breach of this duty caused an accident that resulted in injury to the plaintiff; and
4. Damages: The plaintiff suffered damages from the injury.
Who Can I Sue for my Personal Injury?
It is not always immediately obvious who is at fault. There may be multiple parties that caused your injury. It is important to talk to an attorney to determine who you should sue.
On the road, it may be another driver who is at fault. It may also be the owner of the vehicle or the inspector of the vehicle.
The owners and/or operator of a property may be at fault if they failed to maintain a safe environment and you were injured on their property.
If you are injured on the job, your employer may be at fault if they did not comply with laws and requirements necessary to have a safe workplace.
Owners and handlers of dogs may be at fault if their dog bit or injured you in some way.
When companies sell products to consumer, they have a duty to provide safe products. If the product malfunctions, the manufacturer may be liable.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim
1. File a Claim
Your attorney may file a claim to insurance companies and possibly to the court. Filing a claim means that your attorney will explain what happened and why you deserve to be compensated.
The attorneys, any involved insurance companies, and claims adjusters will likely investigate your claim and evaluate the damage. They may take into consideration how the injury occurred, where it occurred, whether it was preventable, and any medical costs incurred as a result of the accident.
3. Case Settlement
Most personal injury cases are settled before reaching trial. Before a case can be settled, it is important to know what your case is worth. It may take a long time to get a fair settlement. Your lawyer can help you to decide if and when to settle your case.
It is unlikely that your case will go to trial. If it does, the judge will conduct a fact-finding phase by listening to testimony by witnesses and reviewing relevant documents and exhibits.
Personal Injury Compensation
There are three main types of damages that a plaintiff seek compensation for in a personal injury case.
1. Economic Damages
Economic damages are losses that can be calculated in terms of dollars and cents and include:
- Medical expenses – You may be able to recover for emergency room visits, ambulance or helicopter transportation, prescription drug costs, surgery expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and any other medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
- Future medical expenses - The assessment will also consider future medical expenses if the injuries suffered will require ongoing medical treatment, such as additional doctor visits, therapy sessions, surgeries, prescription medication, or other care.
- Lost Wages - If you missed work due to your injury, your lost wages may also be recoverable. Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, you may be prevented from fully returning to work or may be forced to take additional time off to complete your treatment. In this case, you may be able to recover lost future earnings as well.
2. Non-Economic (Intangible) Damages
Non-economic or intangible damages are usually given to compensate for any psychological harm. That means that you may be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering. You may also be able to recover for mental anguish, loss of sexual function, or other physical disfigurement.
Calculating and predicting the value that will be given to your intangible damages is difficult. When serious injuries occur, it is not uncommon for six- or even seven-figure awards to be given.
3. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are designed to punish the defendant in cases of serious wrongdoing. For example, if you were injured because of a drunk driver, punitive damages may be awarded.
Third parties may also be compensated. Most often, the third party is the spouse of the injured person. A spouse may be awarded damages if, for example, the injured person has lost the ability to provide emotional support, the spouse may recover.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
If the defendant is insured, then their insurance company may take over the case.
1. Filing a Claim
Your attorney will file a claim with the insurance company. This will explain to the insurance company what happened and why it is the fault of the person or entity that they insure.
A claims adjuster from the insurance company may investigate the claim to evaluate the damage. Then, the claims adjuster will provide you with an estimate.
Once you and your lawyer determine that you want to pursue settlement, your lawyer will make a demand to the other side’s insurance company. The insurance company and their attorney may then work with your attorney to try to reach an agreement instead of going to trial. Most personal injury cases are settled.
Legal Time Limits
After an accident occurs, the plaintiff has a limited time to file a lawsuit. This time limit is called the “statute of limitations.”
In Colorado, for personal injury lawsuits, you have 2 years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit. There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations where the 2-year limit may be extended, for example in a car accident, you have 3 years to file a claim. If the time limit has passed since your accident, you should talk to your lawyer to see if there is an exception that applies to your claim.
5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting an Accident Lawyer
Choosing a personal injury lawyer who doesn't have enough trial experience.
The most important factor in choosing an accident lawyer is his knowledge, skill and experience handling injury claims. Make sure the lawyer you select has extensive experience handling personal injury cases at trial.
Choosing a personal injury lawyer only because you like their advertising.
Advertising can make any lawyer look like an expert. Don't choose a lawyer based on their ad. Make sure you ask questions about their experience and track record in handling personal injury claims.
Choosing a personal injury lawyer who promises you the most money.
The amount of money you're entitled to recover is based on several components. The severity of your injuries and damages, length of recovery, your medical bills, any lost wages, and pain and suffering are all factored into how much you may receive. Anyone who promises you a certain amount of money before they get this information is making a promise he probably can't keep.
Choosing a lawyer because he appears successful.
A fancy new office and an expensive luxury car don't tell you anything about the lawyer's experience. Don't judge a lawyer by appearances. Evaluate a lawyer by whether he has the knowledge, skill, experience and willingness to sue the other party and to take your case to trial, if necessary. That's the only way you can be sure you recover the amount of money you deserve.
Choosing a lawyer because of the location of his office.
You may be inclined to select a lawyer who has an office down the street from your home or work. This could be a big mistake because what you gain in convenience you may lose in experience. Most of the work between an injury lawyer and his client is done by mail and over the telephone. You may find that the extra minutes on the road will be well worth your effort in the end.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Claim Take?
There is no hard and fast rule for how long personal injury claims will take. Often, it may be advantageous to wait longer to settle your claim.
Waiting to settle a claim can be tiresome and unfair. If you can afford to wait, generally you should wait to settle a personal injury case until you have reached a point where the settlement offer is as good as it’s going to get. When insurance companies are involved, often they may delay the settlement as a tactic to try to get you to settle for less money than you deserve.
If you cannot afford to wait any longer, you may have to settle for less money than what you could get if you waited. If need be, you may be able to settle your claim quickly, as long as you are willing to accept less money. You should consult with your attorney to weigh the costs and benefits of settling early. Ultimately, when you decide to accept a settlement is your choice.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced personal injury lawyers have helped thousands of victims. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you seek the full compensation you deserve.
Our firm believes that injured victims should have access to high-quality legal representation, which is why we operate on a contingency fee basis. That means you will owe nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement for your personal injury claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured, call Zinda Law Group at (970) 549-2138 to receive your free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.