It is always satisfying to know that the negligent driver who struck, and
injured you, got the ticket. On the other hand, when you strongly believe
the police should not have given you the ticket in a car accident, don't
give up hope of obtaining compensation for your injuries.
Under Colorado law, the police determination of "fault" for a
car accident is not conclusive in the claim for auto injuries caused by a negligent
driver. This means that, if your injury claim goes to a trial, the jury
who decides your claim will never hear who got the ticket from the police.
This is a good law, since police officers often will cite a person as
being at fault for an accident with minimal or no investigation on the scene.
When an injured party obtains legal representation for the injury claim,
the lawyer can quickly hire an accident reconstruction expert to examine
all the facts of the accident, as well as examining the crashed cars and
the scene, to determine the sequence of conduct that led to the collision.
That expert may be able to reach a different conclusion of "fault"
for the car accident, depending on what the facts and mathematical formulae
show, than the quick assessment of "fault" given on the scene
by the investigating police officer.
Of course, this rule of Colorado law also means that, even though the other
driver got the ticket in your accident, that driver's insurance company
also can disagree with the police officer's assignment of fault. The
striking driver's insurance company can contest "liability"
of its policyholder for causing the collision and not pay your injury
claim. The insurance company also can hire an expert to reconstruct the
accident and come to a different conclusion for who was at fault for the
What kinds of collisions cause insurance companies to contest liability?
It is hard to determine who caused a collision in an intersection. It
is hard to determine whether the car making the left turn had the right
of way before it was struck by the oncoming car, or whether the oncoming
car was speeding. It may be difficult to determine which car had the green
(or red) light in the intersection—or which car ran the stop sign.
If you were injured in a car accident involving one of these complicated
cases, it is important to obtain legal representation as soon as possible.
The insurance company for the striking driver will quickly hire an expert
to visit the scene, examine the crashed cars (including yours) and present
an opinion as to who was as fault for your collision. By obtaining an
attorney as soon as possible after a collision, your attorney can also
hire an expert to conduct the investigation of the collision before all
the evidence is removed (or washed away by rain or snow), and interview
witnesses before they move away, thereby preserving the evidence for your
injury claim—and giving you a fighting chance to respond to the
insurance company's denial of your injury claim.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will also be able to explain to you
how the law looks at "fault" in determining your damages from
a car accident. Colorado law permits your damages to be reduced by the
percentage of your fault—up to 50%. (If you are found 50% or more
at fault for a collision, you cannot recover for your injuries from the
collision.) Experienced car accident attorneys know how to assemble the
evidence to prove that the striking driver was 100% at fault for your
collision—or to prove that any negligence on your part was minimal
and the value of your claim should be only slightly discounted by the
Consult with an experienced
personal injury attorney at Clawson & Clawson LLP as soon as possible after the accident for
a free initial consultation to learn your rights if you were injured in
a car accident where fault for the accident is unclear or disputed.