Best Personal Injury Lawyers Denver, CO (2024) – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

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In this section, you’ll find many of the personal injury laws in Colorado. To find out more specifics about how to approach your own personal injury case, we are no substitute for one of the many great personal injury lawyers in Denver or all over Colorado.

Colorado Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time between when a crime or injury occurs and when a lawsuit must be filed. You may have heard this term used in TV shows or movies about criminal law. There is no statute of limitations on murder, for example. When it comes to personal injury law, Colorado has two different statutes of limitation:

  • There is a two-year statute of limitations on all personal injuries. This two-year period begins on the date of the injury or the date that the victim knows of the injury.
  • Colorado law allows an extra year for personal injury claims arising out of auto accidents. This means that car accident claims have a three-year statute of limitations.

Colorado Personal Injury Laws

Colorado does not have a lot of unique personal injury laws. The extra year that Colorado law gives for filing an auto accident claim is somewhat unusual, but statutes of limitations for personal injury claims in the two to three-year range are very common.

Colorado does have a few unique features to their personal injury laws:

  • Many states assume that a dog is not dangerous until it has already bitten someone, called the “one bite” rule. This practice makes dog owners liable for dog bites only after the first bite. Colorado does not follow this trend and holds owners strictly liable for even the first time their dog bites someone.
  • Colorado has caps on non-economic damages in injury cases. The law was passed in 1986 and capped non-economic damages at $250,000, or $500,000 if there is clear and convincing evidence that justifies the increase in damage awards. The law allows inflation adjustments to these amounts, which means that the current amounts are more than double the initial figures. In 2023, the caps on non-economic damages are $642,180 and $1,284,370.
  • There is also a cap on non-economic damages in Colorado cases involving wrongful death. This cap is currently $598,350. this cap will be lifted, however, if the death was the result of a felonious killing.
  • Colorado also capped non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. These cases cannot award non-economic damages beyond $300,000.

Finding Fault and Defining Negligence

All personal injury lawsuits are based on the concept of negligence. there are four elements to negligence:

  • Duty. Each of us owes everyone else certain duties and our society— the duty to obey traffic laws, the duty not to harm others, etc. Manufacturers have a duty to consumers to manufacture products that are reasonably safe and fit for the purpose that they are designed to fulfill. A doctor has a duty to perform their job in a reasonable way that is consistent with the standard of care.
  • Breach. Someone owes a duty and fails to perform that duty. This is a breach. The breach of duty is what creates a cause of action in a negligence claim.
  • Causality. The breach of duty causes you harm. In our doctor example, suppose they breached their duty by prescribing 1,000 mg instead of 10 mg. if this mistake doesn’t cause any harm, there is no negligence action possible. The breach must cause harm for it to be actionable.
  • Damages. Finally, the injuries caused by the breach must result in a financial loss or a loss that can be paid back financially. For example, if the bad prescription caused a stroke, the cost of hospitalization, treatment, lost wages and other consequences of the stroke are the damages. The stroke itself is not a financial damage, but it can be paid back with money.

Colorado follows the modified comparative negligence rule when determining who has a right to recover after an injury. This rule allows anyone bearing less than half the responsibility for an accident to recover.

For example, imagine a slip and fall in the aisle of a grocery store that an employee of the grocery store had just mopped and used the wrong mopping fluid, so the floor was especially slippery. They had also failed to block the aisle as required by store policy.

The customer who slipped and fell was walking backward and not looking where they were going. The customer stepped into the slick spot and slid across the floor, throwing their basket into the air. The contents of the basket hit the employee. The jury finds that the accident was 90% the employee’s fault and 10% the customer’s fault.

  • If the customer suffered $1,000 in damages, the modified comparative negligence rule allows them to recover $900. The rule prevents the customer from recovering all their damages because the customer was responsible for some of those damages themselves.
  • If the employee wanted to sue the customer, the modified comparative negligence rule prevents the employee from doing so, because the employee is more than 50% responsible for the accident that led to their injuries.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

There are many other nuances to personal injury law. Personal injury law covers everything from birth injuries to wrongful death and animal bites to Zoloft class actions.

Making things even more complicated, Colorado can change its laws every year. The statute of limitations on certain types of personal injuries could change in the next legislative session. The laws concerning how much you can recover or what the filing process looks like could be different next year.

If you have been injured by medical malpractice, a traffic accident, a dangerous product, an assault or by any other act of negligence, the value of hiring an attorney cannot be overstated. In many circumstances, a personal injury lawsuit is the only way to hold those who have harmed you accountable. Sometimes, these lawsuits don’t just benefit the person being represented, either. Many of the consumer protections that are in place now are the result of lawsuits that were filed by personal injury attorneys.

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