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Car Accident FAQs

Answers from Our Car Accident Lawyers in Colorado Springs, CO

When an accident occurs, you will likely face a plethora of questions concerning the costs, process and your ability to claim damages. In order to alleviate some of what you are burdened with right now, the Colorado Springs car accident attorneys at Clawson & Clawson, LLP have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about motor vehicle accidents and insurance claims.

We hope this page is beneficial to you in your quest to file a car accident claim. If you are interested in how our firm can help you make the most of that claim or if you have more specific questions about car accidents, contact Clawson & Clawson, LLP today!

1. Who can recover damages in a motor vehicle accident?

Anyone who is not found to be at fault for 50% or more of the incident can claim damages. That includes the driver of the vehicle, his or her passengers, victims of pedestrian accidents and victims of motorcycle accidents.

2. What kind of damages can I claim from a car accident?

Generally speaking, any damages that can be quantified in a monetary amount can be claimed in a car accident insurance claim. The damages in an insurance claim are usually divided into two categories. The first category is known as the category of special damages. These are expenses and losses that have directly resulted from the car accident. Any money that was lost due to the incident is included in this category. This applies to emergency medical response costs, medical treatment, cost of surgery, cost of prescription medication and the predicted future costs of treatment and care.

Furthermore, this also includes any money that is lost by the inability to work for earnings. Many car accident injury victims are unable to work for a period of time or even permanently due to their injuries. This lost income can also be added to the special damages in the claim. The other type of damages is known as general damages. These are not necessarily financial losses but can be compensated with financial awards. For example, a victim can claim damages for the experience of past, current or future pain and suffering, for the loss of enjoyment of life due to catastrophic or permanent injuries and the loss of independency due to a permanent disability. While money cannot take these difficulties away, it is an attempt to compensate the victim in a practical manner.

3. How is fault determined in a car accident claim?

Since there are at least two sides to the story, fault in a car accident is usually determined based on a compilation of all the facts. This includes an investigation of the scene and the damaged property, collecting eye-witness testimonies and even involving expert witnesses such as accident reconstructionists.

4. If I was partially at fault for the car accident, can I still claim damages from the other driver?

Yes. In Colorado, there is a standard for car accident claims that is known as comparative fault. This rule states that an individual cannot claim the percentage of damages that they were at fault for causing. In practice, this is carried out by the following process: a percentage of fault will be assigned to both the plaintiff and the defendant. Once the percentages are established, the plaintiff will be responsible to cover the percentage of damage he or she was at fault for and the defendant will pay the plaintiff the remaining percentage.

For example, if Jack was involved in a car accident with Jane and he was given 25 percent of the fault because he was driving ten miles over the speed limit at the time, Jane will be responsible for the remaining 27 percent. Therefore, if Jack's damages totaled $100,000, he will be expected to pay for $25,000 himself and Jane will be compelled to give the remaining $75,000. This is the principle of comparative fault. The only restriction that Colorado places is if the plaintiff is found to be 50 percent or more at fault for the accident. In that case, the plaintiff would not be permitted to claim damages from another driver. (The example was intended as an illustration and it does not reflect real results. The judge or jury will determine fault on a case by case basis.)

5. What sort of information should gather from the scene of the car accident?

The first thing to point out here is that, if you are injured in the accident, your first priority should be to seek out medical attention at once. If you are able to remain at the scene and gather evidence, it will be helpful to your car accident attorney and your future claim if you are able to take pictures of the scene, record the number of eye witnesses, collect their contact information and collect the information of the other drivers involved. If the police are present at the scene, they will compile a police report themselves which can then be used for your future claim as well.

6. Do I need an attorney to make a car accident claim?

It is not required by law that you retain legal representation when filing a car accident claim. However, it is universally agreed that having a legal advocate can significantly increase your chances of making a successful claim and of recovering the full amount that you are owed. Insurance adjusters will attempt to settle at a lower amount by claiming that you were at more fault than you were or by stating that the damages do not fall under the coverage. A car accident lawyer can see past these tactics and fight for the amount that you are rightfully owed. Furthermore, if your case goes to trial, then you will need to have a legal representative appear and argue on your behalf.

7. The insurance company has offered a settlement, should I accept it?

It is highly advised that you consult with a personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement from an insurance company. As mentioned before, the insurance adjuster will use a number of tactics to get you to settle at a lower amount of what you are owed. If an insurance company has offered a settlement, contact a Colorado Springs car accident lawyer and ask them to review your case before you accept the offer. Many times, your attorney may be able to get you a larger award than what you were initially offered.

8. Can I sue the driver of the vehicle if I am a passenger?

There is no law barring injured passengers from making insurance claims against the driver of their vehicle. As a passenger, you have rights and your safety should be a priority for the driver. Regardless of personal ties, if the driver acted negligently and it resulted in injury to you, you have the right to seek compensation.

Call Clawson & Clawson, LLP today for more information about passenger rights and how you can recover damages as the passenger of a vehicle involved in a car accident.


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