Frequently Asked Questions
Personal Injury Law
What is a personal injury?
A personal injury is any physical or mental injury to a person as a result of someone’s negligence or harmful act. Sometimes personal injury may be referred to as bodily injury. Personal injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways. The following are some of the most common accidents resulting in personal injury:
- Auto accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- On-the-job accidents
- Construction accidents
What financial compensation can I get in a personal injury claim?
Personal injury victims are entitled to recover money damages for all losses and expenses they incur as a result of an accident. The damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disability
- Permanent scars
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Mental disability
- Loss of home services such as house or yard work
- Property damage
- All out-of-pocket expenses
How do I know if I have a personal injury claim?
To have a personal injury case, you must be able to show that you have been injured. This may be a physical injury or an emotional injury. In addition, you must be able to show that someone else (the defendant) caused your injury under a negligence or intentional misconduct theory. In some cases, you may have to show that the other party is more at fault for the injury than you are.
What if the accident is partly my fault; can I still have a claim?
Even if an accident or injury was partially your fault, you still may have a claim based on the concept of comparative negligence or contributory negligence.
The term comparative negligence is used to describe the actions of an injured person that may have caused that person’s own injuries. For example, a person who ignores a “Caution — Wet Floor” sign and slips and falls in a supermarket may be found to have been careless and at fault for any injuries suffered. In Colorado, comparative negligence can prevent a person from collecting any monies to compensate for injuries suffered if that person’s carelessness was 50 percent or more of the cause of the accident or incident. If you’re injured by the negligent actions of another, but you contributed to the accident by your failure to exercise reasonably prudent care, you’re guilty of comparative negligence. You may also be guilty of a form of comparative negligence if you voluntarily expose yourself to danger — by riding a roller coaster without wearing a seat belt or working with a neighbor’s power saw or other dangerous tool if you’re inexperienced or fail to use a safety guard. This is called assumption of risk.
How do I know if I need an attorney?
If you have been seriously injured or are unsure as to the outcome of your injury, then an experienced personal injury attorney should always be consulted before you give any statements or sign any papers and as soon after your injury as possible.
In a serious injury case, you are better off hiring an attorney as soon as possible. We offer a free consultation, with no obligation; therefore, you have nothing to lose by consulting us.
There is a statute of limitations that requires you to file suit within a specific period of time, depending upon the circumstances of your case, or else you will be prohibited from obtaining any compensation for your injuries. An attorney will be able to help you keep within the statute of limitations.
What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee is used by lawyers in most personal injury cases. It is contingent upon your attorney’s successful resolution of your case. A contingent fee is paid as a percentage of your monetary recovery. A contingent fee is what is meant when you hear “there is no fee unless there is a recovery.” Contingency fees are usually one-third of what you win in the case.
How long do I have to make a claim for personal injuries?
Every state has certain time limits, called “statutes of limitations,” that govern the period during which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, for example, you may have as little as one year to file a lawsuit after an automobile accident. If you miss the statutory deadline for filing a case, you can never recover any damages.
What is a statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations is a time frame in which you have to file a lawsuit. When the statute of limitations expires on your case, you simply don’t have a case anymore. Statutes of limitations differ not only from state to state, but also in regard to the kinds of lawsuits involved. In some states, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice, suits against governmental agencies and wrongful death actions is shorter than that for other types of personal injury cases. In general, however, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is from one to three years, and the clock begins counting at the time of the accident. There are exceptions, however, and an experienced lawyer can help you with them.
How long will it take to settle my claim?
The time it takes to settle a personal injury case depends on the circumstances. The more complex the case, the longer it may take to settle. Many cases will take anywhere from three to 18 months to settle, depending on their complexity.