Car accidents are terrifying, especially on the sometimes treacherous mountain roads of Colorado. If you have been in a Colorado car accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation for losses you suffered in a crash. But calculating your damages may not be as straightforward as it seems. Damages can include reimbursement for medical bills, in addition to compensation for lost wages, damaged property, and pain and suffering. However, the amount of damages you can seek depends on factors like the severity of your accident, the seriousness of your injuries, and the coverage limits of the parties’ insurance policies.
In this post, the team at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. will explain more about what types of damages may be available to you after you have been in a car accident. Then we will discuss the basics of calculating damages for a car accident in Colorado and how to best assess your car accident settlement value.
Types of Damages You Can Seek
In Colorado, compensation for medical expenses is one of the primary ways the legal system attempts to make you whole after an accident. This type of compensation includes reimbursing you for the cost of any hospitalizations, doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, medications, and rehabilitation services like physical or occupational therapy.
To fully calculate your medical expenses, you must keep all your medical bills and receipts. Be sure to save any information you receive about medical payments, even if you are just purchasing over-the-counter items like a sling or pain relievers. These are all factors that impact the calculation of your damages.
Medical expenses can also be ongoing, and injuries can take a significant amount of time to fully appear. Speak with a knowledgeable accident attorney to discuss how to best understand your medical expenses and position your claim for compensation.
When a car accident causes you to miss work, you may be able to recoup those lost wages through a personal injury claim. When calculating damages for a car accident in Colorado, your lost wages are typically determined by the amount of time you have missed from work due to the accident multiplied by your hourly wage or salary. If your injuries due to the accident prevent you from working in the future or cause you to have to change to a lower-paying job, you may also be entitled to compensation for future lost income.
If your car or other property was damaged in the accident, you might be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Often, calculating property damage requires obtaining an estimate from a mechanic or auto body shop. If your car is beyond repair, typically, a fair market appraisal of your car’s value is required to determine the replacement price.
Pain and Suffering
How much is my injury claim worth? When investigating the answer to this question, most people are unsure of how to quantify their pain and suffering. However, in an accident claim, you will need to come up with a dollar amount for your personal anguish. The concept of “pain and suffering” refers to the physical and emotional distress you have suffered due to the accident. This includes everything from physical pain, emotional anguish, the general loss of enjoyment of life, and time spent with loved ones.
Unfortunately, to calculate pain and suffering, there is no set formula. Instead, compensation is usually determined by factors like the severity of your injuries, the impact of the injuries on your daily life, and the duration of your recovery. Our team is ready to help you calculate the impact of a car accident on your life and help you move forward by getting the compensation you deserve.
In rare cases, you may be entitled to seek punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the at-fault party for their reckless or intentional misconduct. These damages are usually only awarded in cases where the conduct of the at-fault party was egregious.
Statutory Caps on Damages
In Colorado, your damages may be limited by statute. Colorado has no caps on compensatory economic damages, but there are some limits on noneconomic awards. Pain and suffering awards are capped by statute. The amount of the cap increases periodically based on inflation. For claims arising between January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2024, the cap is $642,180.. However, that amount can increase up to $1,284,370 if there is clear and convincing evidence that an increase is warranted. Permanent physical impairments are not capped.
Make sure to speak with an experienced attorney to discuss how to best position your claim in light of these restrictions.
Colorado is a comparative negligence state. This means that your damages may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you if your conduct played any role in your accident.
For example, if your damages are calculated at $10,000, but you are found to be 10% at fault for causing the accident, your damages will be reduced accordingly. You would therefore receive $9,000 in compensation.
Statute of Limitations
It is extremely important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible following your accident since, under most circumstances, you will only have three years to file your personal injury claim following a car accident. This is especially important if you are seeking compensation in a wrongful death case following a car accident since this same statute of limitations will likely apply.
Even if you are confident that your potential lawsuit is straightforward, a winning claim requires plenty of investigation and due diligence. You should consult with an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to ensure you meet all deadlines with time to spare.
Contact Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. Today
Our case results speak for themselves. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, we have helped countless Colorado car accident victims receive the compensation they deserve. We will work hard to negotiate a fair settlement for you. We also have decades of trial experience if negotiations are not successful. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.