Trying to figure out the best action to take when one sustains a personal injury can prove to be quite a challenge. This is especially so when the injury occurs unexpectedly, which is most often the case. To take the right and most efficient step in ensuring relief when such a situation arises, one must be prepared beforehand. Not to worry, this article provides information about what to do if you sustain a personal injury in Denver (or know someone who does). The all-round information consists of what personal injury is, what ways it presents itself, and the types, as well as what to do when it arises. For starters, let us consider what personal injuries are.
What Is Personal Injury?
Many people in the legal profession are accustomed to what personal injury is and use it with such great ease. On the other hand, although an average person encounters ‘personal injury’ virtually every day, they do not quite grasp the essence of the term. So, what exactly is ‘personal injury’ and what does the term encompass?
This simple phrase made up of two regular English words entails more than their ordinary meaning in the legal parlance. It includes medical negligence, tripping accidents, road traffic accidents, and work accidents, among others. Other types will be mentioned subsequently. Generally, injuries against the mind, body, and emotions all fall under this class of injuries in torts (the law governing civil wrongs).
One thing to note about personal injuries is that lawsuits arising from this type of injury are filed against the person or entity who caused it. Such injury or harm could be through intentional misconduct, mild or gross negligence, and in some other cases, reckless conduct.
Types of Personal Injury
A personal injury arises in a wide range of scenarios and places, from work to road and even hospitals. The common types of personal injury situations one may come across are assault, work accidents, and road traffic accidents. Its scope, however, covers much more than those. It includes dental and medical accidents (arising from the negligence of medical personnel), and more common of recent, industrial diseases. Cases involving industrial diseases arise as a result of illnesses developed during and because of industrial work. They include asthma, asbestosis, occupational stress and deafness, to mention a few.
Personal Injury in Denver
In Denver, the personal injury law or, more generally, the “Tort Law” is regarded with utmost importance. Personal Injury Lawyers in Denver practice the Colorado court system of Law which was updated in 2013. A personal injury in terms of “bodily harm’ to others often faces defense by liability insurance companies. And in this case, if the plaintiff is not knowledgeable enough on filing a personal injury case, it might be settled with little or nothing. This is why most commercial businesses, like UBER, have a general liability policy in their ‘Terms and conditions” to prevent compensations of any damage or harm while using their services.
Many Personal Injury Lawyers in Denver try to brief their clients on certain rules and conditions on “Tort Law”. Some laws differ according to states. For example, while Denver law protects businesses from “ordinary negligence’ and “gross negligence” except in cases of severe bodily harm or damage due to extreme recklessness on the part of the company, California only protects businesses from “ordinary negligence”. Once an injured person can show evidence of ‘gross negligence”, he/she can easily sue for damages even after signing a “liability waiver”.
Some rules guiding personal injury in Denver are below:
- Location of Trial
Courts in Colorado have different jurisdictions for their state trials, with the main state trial court being the Colorado District Courts. Most venues in the state are usually considered somewhat conservative. However, the venue at Denver – The City and County of Denver – is the most conservative of all the venues in the whole of Colorado and other U.S cities put together. Tort cases are appropriately handled in the location where the injury occurred or where the plaintiff resides. Yet, most Colorado personal Injury cases do not reach the trial stage.
- Time Limitations
Generally, there are certain time frames for which an injury claim must be filed or else it becomes barred by the legal system. The claim’s time frame differs depending on the complaint’s case. For instance, the deadline to file for an accident injury differs from that of a breach of contract claim. The essence of these deadlines is to limit the amount of time the defendant can dig out evidence and witnesses to suppress such claims. Also, it gives the claimant motivation to file for an injury claim. Generally, the time limitation for a claim starts counting from the time of the incident.
The following are time limitation guidelines for filing a claim in different injury type in Denver:
- Accidents Injury– Two years. This short time limitation applies to less serious accidents like slips, falls, skating incidents, cuts, collisions, etc.
- Motor Vehicle Accident– Three years. The Statute of Limitations law allows a motor vehicle accident victim to file a claim within the space of two years. This is a longer duration as compared to other accidents.
- Injury against a government or Public entity– 182 days. If a government body or entity is the causative factor to the personal injury, then a written report called “notice of claim” must be written and submitted before the time period lapses. Even if it were a motor vehicle accident, once a government entity is involved, the deadlines count for 182 days. This can be found in Colorado statue 25-10-109.
- Death Claims– Two years. This type of injury allows the claimant to file for wrongful death, regardless of the cause, for a space of two years. Though, the written notice of claim is also applied if the claim is against a government entity.
- Medical Injury– According to the Colorado Statute of Limitation, the claim against a medical professional or the hospital is for a duration of two years. If the medical institution is of the government, a notice of claim should be tendered within 183 days.
Some factors can halt the statute of limitations. One of those is age. If the claimant is under the age of 18 years or seems to be mentally incompetent, the Statute of Limitations can be “tolled” until the person regains mental competence or has gotten to the age of 18. Then the time limit can be placed on such a claim. This applies majorly when there is no legal representative or guardian of the claimant.
What if I miss a statute of Limitations?
In Denver, once an accident victim files a case of personal injury after the deadline for suing has elapsed, the claim will most likely be dismissed by the legal system. This implies that all cost and compensations of losses or damage will be paid for solely by the victim. That is why it is advisable to contact a lawyer that specializes in personal injury around Denver or Colorado districts as soon as an accident occurs.
- Response to a Filed Suit
According to the Colorado State Law of which the city of Denver abides by, the defendant must respond to a suit filed in the state within 21 days. If filed outside Colorado, a time limit of 35 days is given to respond.
- Dismissal of a Suit
A case can be dismissed by the claimant before the response of the defendant or in a summary of the judgment. Apart from that, the case can only be dismissed by agreement of all parties, or by an order of the court. Courts in Denver practice an unbiased system of dismissal.
- Liability Waiver
Just like it was stated earlier, Denver Law protects the businesses from compensations when their clients sign a liability waiver. This applies whether they signed the waiver intentionally or ignorantly. This happens mostly when individuals fail to read certain terms and conditions stated in a product package or in a business contract. Examples of such companies in Denver who include liability waiver agreement in their policy are Uber, Lyft, e-scooter, and companies that produce skiing or snowboarding equipment. They state in their terms that they are not liable for any form of injury or damage while using their products.
What if I sue after signing a liability waiver?
Because the liability waivers are legally binding in Denver and every other district in Colorado, it might not be advised to completely depend on the court flipping the agreements you signed in your favor. Yet, there are some instances where the claim could go in your favor. This is when the company is guilty of gross negligence that depicts extreme carelessness and disregard for safety. Once the claimant has substantial evidence to prove that, the court would grant the plaintiff the right to compensation, disregarding the signed liability waiver agreement. Another favorable suing situation is if you were injured because the company produced fake or defective products. Or if the company misinterpreted the service request of the client. This latter scenario might result in a case of fraud against the company.
- Compensation by Employer
For a personal injury case, according to the Colorado State Law, the victim is entitled to 2/3rd of his weekly wages while in treatment from a bodily injury. This is so if the claimant submits a legal statement to the employer indicating the injury. However, if the injury is a minor one that does not require the victim staying out of work, the normal work pay is applicable.
Steps in Filing for Personal Injury in Denver
Most Denver attorneys advise the following to be done in an event of an accidental personal injury:
- Call the police – No matter the seriousness of the accident, it is always advisable to call the police. The victim might not necessarily be the one to do it, as in the case of unconsciousness. Anyone within the vicinity can do it.
- Get enough information – It is important to get as much information as you can about the driver of the vehicle and the details of the car. For example; the plate number, driver license, and a photograph of the person, if possible. All of this will amount to good back-up evidence in your favor.
- Seek Medical help – Whether the injuries are minor or not, it is advisable to seek medical attention in the case of an accident. The hospital will help in providing accurate medical documents supporting your claims when you file for personal injury. If the accident is so severe, however, an ambulance will come to the rescue whether they are contacted or not.
- Taking the blame – Even though people often tend to easily blame themselves during an incident, legal practitioners strongly advise against that. Admitting fault at the scene of an incident might make the case easily go against your favor.
- Contact an attorney before the insurance company – It is more favorable to contact a lawyer that specializes in personal injury immediately after an injury before thinking of reaching out to your insurance company. This is because most liability insurance companies focus more on providing reasons and evidence to make you responsible for the accident so they can compensate less. That is how they operate. While an attorney will try every possible means to prove your need for compensation by the defendant. This is possible as Denver uses a “modified” comparative fault rule which only reduces by 10%, awarding you a compensation of 90%.
Personal Injury Law Firms in Denver
There are several law firms around the Colorado district that residents in Denver can have access to in a case of any personal injury. Most of them can be contacted digitally via their website. And their pricing varies depending on the type of payment agreement. Most of their personal injury attorneys, however, use the “contingent fee basis” where the attorney’s fee is a percentage of the victim’s compensation. No payment is necessary if the case is not resolved.
Here are some law firms for personal injury in Denver:
- Mckenzie Law firm
- Babich Law firm
- The Denver Injury Law Firm
- Mahoney Law Office
- Mintz Law firm
- The Frickey Law Firm
- Donaldson Law Firm
- Denver Trial Lawyers
- The Sawaya Law Firm
- McDivitt Law Firm
Getting involved in a personal injury situation can be very unpleasant, especially when one is the victim. At delicate times such as that, it is important for one to take the proper and legal steps, relevant to his location to seek relief. This article has, thus, highlighted the fundamentals to arm you for the unexpected and help you manoeuver unfortunate incidents of personal injury.