Suffering serious injuries can have a significant impact on an individual’s life, often resulting in a range of setbacks that disrupt their daily routine, work, and hobbies. However, when someone else’s negligence or careless actions cause harm, injury victims may find it challenging to recover the compensation they need to cover their damages. At our law firm, Gerash Steiner Blanton PC, we understand the struggles that personal injury victims face and are committed to helping them obtain the justice and compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the actions of another party, our skilled Thornton, CO personal injury attorneys are ready to investigate your claim and fight for the full compensation you are entitled to.
Types of Personal Injury
The human body is fragile, and there are many different ways to injure it. Our practice areas include every kind of personal injury and wrongful death claim, including:
- Vehicle accidents,
- Railroad accidents,
- Slip and fall accidents,
- Injuries caused by defective products,
- Unsafe conditions on private property,
- Vicious dogs,
- Nursing home abuse,
- Medical malpractice,
- Intentional criminal assaults (road rage, for example), and
- Many other types of injuries.
If the victim dies in the accident, a personal injury claim becomes a wrongful death claim, and a whole new set of rules apply. We handle wrongful death claims as well.
Additionally, our full-service law firm also practices criminal defense law, employment law, civil rights, appellate work, estate planning, probate, fiduciary & estate litigation.
Building Your Case: The Four Elements of the Typical Personal Injury Claim
Duty of Care
Duty of care is a legal obligation that requires individuals and entities to act in a reasonable and prudent manner to avoid causing harm or injury to others. In the context of personal injury, duty of care refers to the responsibility of individuals or entities to act in a way that avoids causing harm or injury to others. For example, a property owner has a duty of care to maintain their property in a safe condition and to warn visitors of any hazards that could cause injury, such as wet floors, loose handrails, or uneven surfaces.
Breach of Duty of Care
Breach of duty of care is a legal term that refers to the failure of an individual or entity to fulfill their obligation to act reasonably and prudently in a situation that requires such behavior. In the context of personal injury claims, it means that the defendant (the party being sued) had a responsibility to act with a certain level of care towards the plaintiff (the injured party), but failed to do so, thereby causing harm or injury to the plaintiff.
Causation is a critical element in a personal injury claim that establishes a link between the defendant’s breach of duty of care and the plaintiff’s injuries or damages. In other words, it shows that the defendant’s actions or omissions directly caused or contributed to the harm suffered by the plaintiff. To prove causation in a personal injury case, the plaintiff must demonstrate that their injuries or damages would not have occurred but for the defendant’s breach of duty of care.
You must have suffered physical damages (not only psychological), and you must prove every penny of them with admissible evidence. Once you prove physical damages (a broken leg, for example), you can also claim psychological damages such as mental anguish.
You don’t have to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt to win. All you need is a preponderance of the evidence, which means the evidence on your side at least slightly outweighs the opposing party’s evidence. You can win a lawsuit even if the defendant was acquitted in a criminal trial for the same conduct. It is essential to have an experienced team of Thornton personal injury lawyers on your side.
Common Defenses Used Against Personal Injury Claims
Those who are sued in personal injury cases often use various defenses to avoid liability and reduce the amount of damages awarded. Understanding these defenses can help plaintiffs and their attorneys prepare a strong case and maximize compensation. Let’s take a look at three defenses we see often.
If more than one party is at fault for an accident, any party that was at least 50 percent at fault receives nothing. A court will proportionately reduce the amount of damages of a party who was at fault, but whose fault was less than 50 percent (a party 35 percent at fault will lose 35 percent of their damages, for example). You can rest assured that the opposing party will try to hold you at least partially responsible for the accident.
The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law setting the deadline by which you must file your claim. Normally, you must file a Colorado personal injury claim within two years of the accident. This deadline is extended to three years in the case of an auto accident. If you miss the statute of limitations deadline for filing your claim, the defendant can demand that the judge dismiss your claim, and you will receive nothing. Move quickly if you have a claim to press.
The defendant might try to prove that your injury (a back injury, for example) was caused by a pre-existing work injury, not by the accident upon which you are basing your claim. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we can find expert medical witnesses who can testify against such a claim.
Will Your Case Go to Trial?
Parties settle the great majority of personal injury claims at the negotiating table, not at trial. This is usually best for all concerned. It is important, however, to select a law firm with a strong trial record, so that the defendant will not dare take you to court. Generally speaking, insurance companies don’t want to face us in court. And we don’t blame them.
Dirty Tricks From the Insurance Company
Insurance company adjusters are professional negotiators, and they bring a bag of tricks to the negotiating table. We’ve seen it all before, and none of their tricks are going to fool us. Let us handle negotiations for you.
Third-Party Defendants and the “Deep Pockets” Strategy
In many cases, the defendant simply lacks the resources to pay a large claim. Even their insurance policy might not be enough. If this happens, we may need to find a second defendant to hold liable. Many different options are possible. The defendant’s employer might be liable, for example, if the defendant was on duty at the time of the accident. We know exactly where to look to find third-party defendants.
Why You Don’t Need Any Money to Hire Us
We work on a contingency fee basis. In essence, that means the opposing party who pays our legal fees, not you. Under a contingency fee arrangement, our fees amount to a pre-agreed percentage of your total recovery. In this way, the more money you recover, the more we make, giving us an incentive to win as much as possible for you. We don’t get paid until the defendant actually pays the claim.
An effective law firm (us, in other words) should in most cases be able to negotiate a recovery that is far more than what you would have been able to negotiate on your own, even after subtracting legal fees from the total. And if we cannot win a recovery for you, either in court or at the negotiating table, our legal fees will be zero. It is the quality of your claim that matters to us, not the thickness of your wallet.
The Thornton personal injury lawyers at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. are ready to put their decades of combined experience to work for you. In all of our years of practice, there isn’t much that can happen that we haven’t successfully dealt with before.
To schedule a free consultation, call us or contact us online so that we can review your case and discuss your options with you. Rememberーit’s not just whether you win or lose. It’s how much you win. We won’t let anybody take advantage of you, because nobody messes with our clients.
Our experienced legal team handles other types of cases as well, including:
- Criminal Defense
- DUI Defense
- Estate Planning and Probate
- Fiduciary & Estate Litigation
- Employment Law
- Civil Rights
- Appellate Work