If you suffer a serious injury in a preventable accident in Colorado, the law may entitle you to financial compensation. When you picture filing an injury case, you may imagine a court trial. However, the vast majority of Denver personal injury cases are legal claims that are settled with insurance companies. Both types have pros and cons that should be carefully considered before you proceed with a case.
A legal claim is another word for an insurance claim. It can be filed in Colorado if someone is injured in an accident that is caused by another person’s neglect, default, wrongful act or wanton disregard for the safety of others. If someone else reasonably should have prevented your accident, you have the right to hold that person financially responsible by filing a legal claim.
After an accident, if you plan on seeking financial compensation or damages for your medical bills, file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance provider as soon as possible. Ask for the at-fault party’s insurance information while you are still at the scene of the accident (e.g., car insurance information after a motor vehicle accident). Then, call the insurer to file a legal claim without delay.
The insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to your case. You will need to answer the adjuster’s questions about your accident and submit proof of your losses. It is important to keep in mind that an insurance company is not on your side. The claims adjuster’s goal is to save the insurance company money by minimizing your payout. If the insurance company is not offering a fair amount or as much as you believe your claim is worth, you may need to file a lawsuit instead.
A lawsuit is a legal dispute that is taken before a judge or jury because it cannot be resolved privately between the two parties. A personal injury lawsuit begins with paperwork being filed in the county where the accident took place or where the defendant lives. A claim must be filed with the courts by Colorado’s statute of limitations. This is a legal filing deadline of two years from the date of the accident, in most cases.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the defendant’s insurance company will have the chance to respond. They may respond with a settlement offer, which can resolve the case without a trial. If the insurer denies liability or refuses to offer a fair payout, however, the case will proceed to court. When a lawsuit goes to court, a judge or jury listens to both sides of the case. The plaintiff and defendant are both given the opportunity to present their arguments, along with supporting evidence and witness testimony.
The burden of proof in a personal injury lawsuit is a preponderance of the evidence, otherwise known as the “more likely than not” standard. To win a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must fulfill the burden of proof using clear and convincing evidence. There must be enough evidence to prove that the defendant more likely than not caused the plaintiff’s injuries through an act of negligence. If the burden of proof is met, the jury will order the defendant to pay the plaintiff a specific amount to resolve the dispute.
Most personal injury cases are resolved with settlements, as they cost less money and take less time than court trials. A trial is also riskier, as the outcome cannot be controlled by either party. There are some circumstances, however, when an insurance company refuses to offer a just settlement or wrongfully rejects a claim. In this case, the victim may have no choice but to bring a lawsuit against the defendant. If you wish to bring a claim for an injury that you recently suffered in Colorado, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss which type of legal action is right for you.