If someone has been injured in a car accident in Fort Collins, they should call a car accident attorney to protect their legal rights, assist with getting the necessary medical care and testing that they may need, and start pursuing compensation to cover medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and even money for a rental car while the damaged vehicle gets repaired. The insurance companies will almost always try to minimize or deny claims when possible but negotiating for a better settlement is just one way a lawyer could help in Fort Collins car accident cases.
Comparative Negligence in Fort Collins
Fort Collins is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, meaning that the negligence of the at-fault driver is compared to any negligence of the injured person. According to Colorado Revised Statute 13-21-111, there is strict comparative negligence meaning that if the victim is 50 percent or more at fault, they cannot recover any damages. Responsibility for damages will be paid according to the degree of each party’s fault.
Likewise, a plaintiff’s recoverable amount will be decreased proportionally to their fault. Determining how much a lawsuit might be worth after assigning fault is just another way an attorney could help in Fort Collins car accident cases.
How Can Liability Be Shifted in Comparative Negligence?
Other factors to consider that could move liability or fault one way or the other are the actions of the drivers. For example, in a rear-end collision case the defendant, the person that struck the other car in the rear, is presumed to be at fault. The person that was at the stop is presumed not to be at fault.
However, there could be actions by the driver that was struck that could influence liability. For example, if the car driver that was struck in the rear end did not have functioning brake lights or taillights, there may be some comparative fault on that car driver. If the car driver made an extremely quick stop and the other car rear-ended, the at-fault driver would argue that the other driver slammed on their brakes, did a quick stop, and was negligent.
Why is Counsel from a Car Accident Attorney Essential?
It is important to contact an attorney early on in a car accident case to ensure that their legal rights are protected and have assistance dealing with insurance companies. Insurance companies routinely get in touch with people involved in car accident cases, interview them, and take recorded statements to use against the victim later while making a settlement.
Injured drivers must know that if they are under the care of a doctor, a hospital, or a medical provider, it is illegal for insurance companies to request a recorded statement from you until 15 days after a car accident. Victims should also know that it is illegal for insurance companies to settle a claim within the first 30 days after a car accident. It is wise to only speak to the defendant’s insurance company with an attorney to ensure that nothing is said that could risk recovering full compensation.
The Most Important Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Three important steps that a person should do after they have been in the car accident would be first to call 911 to report the collision, especially when there are injuries. The second is to assess whether the person has been injured or any passenger in their car has been injured, even if any other occupant of any other car in the accident has been injured, so that appropriate medical help can be called.
The third is that injured persons should call their family or friends to come to the scene, if possible, to talk to the other driver or drivers at fault for the crash and exchange information. If someone else is injured, Colorado requires that anyone on the scene of the accident render whatever aid possible to injured people. Police should be called to the scene and given detailed facts of the accident. They should get the names and addresses of the witnesses that may need to be contacted and persuade the witnesses to stay around to talk to the police officers to give their sworn statements.
Connect with a Fort Collins Car Accident Attorney
As most people have cellphones with cameras, you should take photographs of the damage to vehicles and any injuries. These photographs should be submitted to your own insurance company and your attorney. If you have been injured in an automobile wreck, call a seasoned lawyer today to learn how a Mac Hester Law attorney who could help you in your Fort Collins car accident case. You may be owed compensation for damages incurred by another driver’s negligence.