Severe personal injuries can be life-changing events. The recovery process alone is a long and arduous endeavor. Also, these injuries often lead to remarkably high medical bills combined with extended periods away from work. It can take victims years to climb out of the financial hole caused by this toxic combination.
To make matters worse, many severe injuries are due to the negligent actions of others. For example, as of November 15, 2022, fatalities caused by car accidents are well on pace to break the record for traffic fatalities in Colorado. The rapid increase in traffic deaths is primarily due to a rise in unsafe drivers. Along with fatalities, dangerous drivers cause countless life-altering injuries throughout Colorado.
Unsafe drivers represent only one form of negligence that leads to severe injury. Fortunately, Colorado law allows victims to hold negligent parties accountable for the damage they cause. If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, an experienced Castle Rock personal injury lawyer at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. can help you determine how to best hold the negligent party accountable.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
When someone is injured by the negligence or intentional acts of others, they often suffer severe physical and monetary losses. Personal injury laws in Colorado allow victims to hold the offending parties accountable by seeking monetary compensation for the damage done. Monetary compensation helps victims recover from their injuries without facing permanent financial losses.
Most personal injury cases revolve around the question of negligence. Generally, when an individual’s carelessness causes an injury to another, the individual is liable for the damage they caused.
However, there is a strict legal definition of negligence. To hold a defendant liable, a victim must prove four elements.
Duty of Care
Victims must prove the defendant owed them a duty of care. A duty of care is simply an obligation to act towards others in a certain way. Some duties are general. For example, all drivers have a responsibility to operate their motor vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. They owe this duty to everyone else on the road, including pedestrians.
Breach of Duty
To prove negligence, victims must also show that the defendant breached their duty. A breach of duty occurs when the defendant fails to meet the standard of care required by the duty. In most cases, the standard of care is to act how a reasonably prudent person would act in a similar situation.
Causation is another element of negligence. To be held liable, the defendant’s breach of duty must be a foreseeable cause of the victim’s injury.
Finally, victims must show that they suffered damages for which monetary compensation can be recovered. In the case of serious injury, proving that damages exist can be relatively straightforward. Establishing the extent of the damages can be a trickier problem.
Individuals are also liable for the damage they cause when they intentionally injure others. For example, if someone punches a random stranger on the street, that offender is likely responsible for the damage caused by the punch.
Intentional acts often lead to criminal charges, but criminal charges do not need to be filed for a victim to recover damages. Common intentional acts that lead to monetary damages include:
- False imprisonment,
- Infliction of emotional distress,
- Conversion (theft or property damage),
- Assault, and
An experienced lawyer can help determine if you have a Castle Rock personal injury case due to another’s intentional act.
In rare instances, federal and Colorado laws impose strict liability on defendants. Strict liability means that the defendant is liable for damages even if they did not act negligently. For example, in Colorado, dog owners are liable for the damage caused by dog bites regardless of whether they acted negligently. Product liability is another example of a strict liability tort.
Common Injuries That Can Lead to Lawsuits
Injuries caused by vehicle accidents are among the most common injuries that lead to successful liability claims in Colorado. Other injuries that often lead to successful claims include:
- Dog bite injuries,
- Slip and fall injuries,
- Medical malpractice injuries,
- Workplace injuries,
- Product liability injuries,
- Premises liability injuries,
- Pedestrian injuries,
- Bicycle accident injuries, and
- Injuries caused by intentional acts.
Any injury caused by a negligent or intentional act might be the basis for a successful personal injury claim. If you are unsure, an experienced Castle Rock personal injury attorney at Gerash Steiner Blanton can help you determine whether or not you have a claim.
How Much Compensation Can a Victim Recover?
The purpose of compensation for liability claims is to make victims whole after they suffer injuries. The courts do this by awarding monetary compensation. Though money can never make up for the pain and trauma of a severe injury, it can help ensure that victims can afford adequate medical care. It also prevents victims from falling into permanent financial hardship due to their injuries.
In Colorado, there are four categories of compensation available to victims. The categories are economic damages, non-economic damages, damages for physical impairments, and punitive damages.
Economic damages compensate victims for their financial losses. These damages include expenses such as medical bills and lost wages.
Non-economic damages compensate victims for intangible losses, including pain and suffering, grief, and emotional distress.
Damages for physical impairments compensate victims for permanent damage. Physical impairments include neurological damage, disfigurement, and other permanent disabilities caused by the defendant.
Courts award punitive damages to punish defendants for egregiously bad acts.
Gerash Steiner Blanton Can Help
If you have been injured due to someone else’s acts or omissions, the experienced Castle Rock personal injury attorneys at Gerash Steiner Blanton can help. Attorney Eric Steiner, M.D. is a member of our team with 17 years of experience as a medical practitioner. As a result, our team is equipped to identify injuries and effectively present the evidence to the courts. We take a client-focused approach and have an impressive success record. Contact Gerash Steiner Blanton today, so we can fight for the compensation you deserve.