Most personal injury cases are based on the legal concept of negligence, and under Colorado law, negligence in car accident cases is relatively straightforward. A driver acts negligently when he or she fails to exercise reasonable care to avoid the risk of injury to others on the road. If their negligence leads to an accident and someone else is injured as a result, the negligent driver can he held liable for the injured person's damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
However, there are many car accidents where both parties have acted negligently. For instance, one driver may have veered into the other's lane, but the second driver was speeding, making the accident worse. Can a person who contributed to an accident recover compensation?
In some circumstances, the answer is yes.
Under Colorado law, an injured person who contributed fault to the accident may recover compensation so long as his or her share of fault was not more than the defendant's. However, the amount of damages the injured person can recover is reduced in proportion to his or her share of the fault.
Imagine an accident in which Amy drives negligently and her car collides with Beth's car. Beth is injured and suffers $100,000 in damages. However, the court determines that Beth was speeding at the time of the crash and is therefore 25% at fault. Beth can recover damages, but her award will be reduced by 25%, to $75,000. If Beth was 40% at fault, her award will be reduced by 40%. However, if the court determines that her share of fault was more than 50%, Beth is barred from recovery.
The medical bills, lost wages and other damages that follow a car accident can be devastating to families. People who have been injured in a car accident can talk to a skilled personal injury attorney about their options for recovering compensation.