Personal injury law determines who, what, when, and to what degree injured individuals are entitled to receive in compensation. In most cases, you will have a choice to either reach a desired settlement from an insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit.
Most people choose to accept a settlement out of court because it's typically faster. However, in some cases, you should file a personal injury lawsuit and may have to, to get what you deserve.
Read on to learn about personal injury lawsuits and how you can file a lawsuit for personal injury in Colorado.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is a claim that you can file for any injury suffered as a result of an accident, whether that's a car crash, truck accident, bike injury, wrongful death, slip and fall, or any other civil wrong that are called torts.
If you win your lawsuit, the person responsible for your injuries will pay money to you for your damages, including, but not limited to, pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. But how long does a personal injury lawsuit take? It's hard to say because the answer depends on the facts of your case. It is important to capture all of your medical bills and medical treatment as part of the claim, and as a result, your legal case lags behind your medical case to ensure you receive maximum compensation for all that you have been through. Consider talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer to get a good idea of how long your case may take.
Types of Lawsuits for Personal Injury
There are several types of personal injury lawsuits:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
In these lawsuits, you sue the driver or drivers (via their insurance companies) who caused the crash for any damages you've suffered as a result of their actions. While these cases are common, they can be quite complicated, as they will often involve multiple insurance companies, as well as police reports and eye-witness accounts. The defendant’s insurance company usually pays for the defense and the attorneys for the defendant. It is also usually the defendant’s insurance company that pays the damages when you are successful.
You can sue for wrongful death when the death of a person was caused by another party's wrongful act. Besides intentionally harmful acts such as battery and assault, wrongful death includes negligence such as careless driving or other driving mistakes.
According to the Colorado wrongful death statute, which can be found under Colorado Revised Statutes Sections 13-21-201 to 13-21-204, not everyone can sue for wrongful death. You can only file a wrongful death lawsuit if the person who passed away would have had the grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit if they were still alive.
You can also sue a company or person who designs, manufacturers, or sells a defective product that causes injury to you.
To successfully prove your claim in court, you must prove:
- That the defendant — the person or company being sued — designed, manufactured, distributed, or sold the defective product
- That the product already had the defect before it left the defendant's possession
- That you used the product as expected, in a reasonably foreseeable manner that others would also use it in
- You suffered injuries as a result of the defect
Personal Injury Process For Lawsuits
If you've suffered a personal injury and you want to file a lawsuit for compensation, here are the steps you need to follow:
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
First, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can walk you through the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Look for lawyers that are well-versed in the type of personal injury lawsuit you want to file. For example, if you want to file a personal injury claim for injuries caused by bicycle and automobile accidents, you should reach out to litigators like Mann and Maximon, who specialize in cases of this type.
Your Personal Injury Attorney Will Uncover Evidence
Once they've agreed to represent you, your attorney will start uncovering evidence to build your case. They will talk to witnesses and review the following pieces of evidence:
- Videos and photos of the accident scene
- Police reports
- Medical records
Your attorney will also review relevant case law to identify relevant precedent and identify the best legal strategy for your case.
Lawsuit Is Filed
After your lawyer has fully investigated your case and developed evidence, they can start a lawsuit by filing a Complaint and Jury Demand. This legal document describes the facts of your case and states why you are entitled to compensation and the type of compensation owed to you by the wrongful party.
After the complaint is filed, the parties to the lawsuit engage in civil discovery to disclose all of the relevant facts, question the most important witnesses, identify expert witnesses, and get the case ready for trial.
A Verdict Is Reached
If a lawsuit is filed, the case can still settle. In most instances, the court orders the parties to engage in mediation. Oftentimes, the case will settle during mediation. If the case does not settle then it may proceed to a jury trial. At trial, the parties present evidence and arguments to a judge and jury. Once both sides have presented their evidence and argued their case, the jury will deliver a verdict.
What's The Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount?
There is no average personal injury case. All cases are different and all people are unique. The value of your case depends on how badly you are hurt, the amount of your medical bills and lost wages, and how much your life has been impacted by your injuries.
That being said, there is general data that shows average personal injury settlement amounts. According to Nolo, the average personal injury settlement amount is $52,900, with more than half of those surveyed receiving amounts ranging from $3,000 to $25,000. These cases include people who have and do not have lawyers on their side, which can make a massive difference. The same study showed that cases that filed had an average settlement amount of $45,500, while those that made no steps towards lawsuits only had an average amount of $23,000. Of course, this is just an average, some cases are worth hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars, and some cases have very little value at all, depending on what happened and how. A reputable personal injury lawyer can estimate the value of a case once they have most of the relevant information that comes with it. If you have a serious injury, it is a good idea to ask your lawyer if they have experience handling large claims and if they have ever received a large verdict-many haven't.
When Should I File A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Do you need to file your personal injury lawsuit as soon as possible? Under Colorado law, depending on the type of claim, the statute of limitations is typically 1-3 years to file a lawsuit after an injury. If you don't file it within the applicable time period, you may not be able to bring your case to court at all.
Contact Us For a Free Initial Consultation
In almost all the types of cases that we handle, contingent-fee representation is available. This means that we only get paid if and when you do. There is absolutely no cost or obligation to you for an initial consultation; we are here to help you.
Call our office at 303-991-2233 or use our online contact form to get in touch with us today.
What Our Clients
After my auto accident, I had to have my hip replaced. The insurance company said that my need for a hip replacement was not accident related. Stuart believed in me and my case and we were able to obtain the maximum amount available. His hard work helped change my life.Mann & Maximon Client
When I lost my son in an automobile accident it was devastating. Stuart helped our family cope with the loss. His guidance and expertise in wrongful death cases was tremendous. He was respectful yet demanding in handling the case. While there is never enough money to bring back a lost child, Stuart made the defendants pay for their actions and recovered a huge amount of money to help our family. He did a great job.Mann & Maximon Client
I was treated like a member of the family. They were always willing to answer my questions and help in any way they could. Best of all, they did a great job and we got a great settlement for my case.Mann & Maximon Client