What do I need to Prove to be Successful in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

July 22, 2022

IN A CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM, PROVING NEGLIGENCE CAN BE DIFFICULT.

More than 166,000 traffic accidents resulting in injury and nearly 2,900 fatal crashes occurred on Colorado’s roads and highways in 2018, according to the Colorado Department of Highway Safety and Motor Cars FLHSMV. These alarming statistics indicate that if you haven’t been in a Colorado car accident yet, you will almost certainly be in one at some point in your life.

Serious injuries in car accidents devastate accident victims and their families physically, emotionally, and financially. Suing for damages when an accident occurs due to another party’s negligence may provide some financial and emotional relief to someone injured in a car accident.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CAR ACCIDENT CLAIMS

This blog post discusses the different types of car accident claims, the legal requirements for proving negligence, comparative negligence in Colorado car accidents, and other factors to consider when trying to prove a case for damages.

Contact an experienced car accident attorney at Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, or Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, at 719-300-1100 for a free consultation if you need immediate assistance with the details of your injury case.

SCENARIOS THAT LEAD TO CAR ACCIDENT LAWSUITS

What you must prove to win your car accident lawsuit is partially determined by how the accident occurred. Even the procedure for proving a personal injury claim varies depending on the circumstances.

Another driver violates traffic laws.

Another driver operates a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A medical emergency caused by medical malpractice results in a car accident.

A poorly maintained road with potholes, sinkholes, or another hazard results in an accident.

An accident is caused by faulty traffic signals or train crossing signals. An accident is caused by a defective car or car part.

Property damage due to a rear-end collision

 

IF I’VE BEEN IN A REAR-END COLLISION, HOW DO I PROVE I’M NOT AT FAULT?

The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits involving car accidents require the plaintiff to prove negligence to win the case and recover medical bills and possibly lost wages. Only if the plaintiff has established the four legal elements of negligence, with the assistance of a qualified attorney, will a Colorado court enter a verdict in his or her favor and award damages.

THE DEFENDANT HAD A DUTY OF CARE TO THE PLAINTIFF.

To others with whom they share the road, all drivers owe a reasonable duty of care. This responsibility includes driving safely to avoid accidents and injuries, as well as adhering to traffic laws.

More broadly, anyone who provides driving equipment designs roads or takes actions that affect motorist safety owes it to those motorists not to act in a way that will inevitably result in injury.

THE DEFENDANT FAILED TO UPHOLD HIS DUTY OF CARE.

Negligence must be proven by a breach of the duty of care. In some cases, such as speeding, distracted driving, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, this may be obvious.

Failures of a city or county to maintain roads, a trucking company’s failure to maintain trucks, and a doctor’s failure to warn a patient about the dangers of driving after taking certain prescription medications are all examples of duty of care breaches.

THE PLAINTIFF WAS INJURED AS A RESULT OF THE BREACH OF DUTY.

This is the aspect of negligence that generates the most debate in courtrooms. Your attorney must show that the breach of duty proximately caused the injury you suffered to win your car accident lawsuit.

Essentially, this means that the injury you suffered had to be a reasonably foreseeable result of the breach of the duty of care, and it couldn’t be too far removed from the injury you suffered for the person responsible for being held liable. For example, suppose someone spills a box of nails on the road and doesn’t clean it up.

In that case, you might be able to sue them if a nail pierces your tire and causes an accident minutes later, but you probably won’t be able to sue if the nail becomes embedded in your tire, you don’t remove it, and the tire fails a year later.

 

Although spilling the nail box and failing to clean it up is a breach of the duty of care, one of the outcomes was proximate, and the other was not.

THE PLAINTIFF MUST HAVE SUSTAINED DAMAGES.

You must be able to demonstrate that the accident caused you actual injury. This is simple in the majority of car accident cases. You’ve been physically injured, and you’ve added up the costs of your medical treatment, lost wages, and pain. These are referred to as damages. Medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses can also result in damages in an insurance claim for an injury case.

IN COLORADO CAR ACCIDENT CASES, THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT MUST BE PROVEN

Your attorney will need to gather and present evidence to back up your claim to win your Colorado car accident claim. After a car accident involving other cars, an attorney will usually investigate the facts of your case to ensure you have the best chance of recovering some or all of the losses related to your injury; however, you can help increase your chances of prevailing in a lawsuit by following the tips below:

Even if you aren’t transported by ambulance from the accident scene, you should still see a doctor. Some injuries do not have immediate symptoms. Furthermore, an accident causes your body to experience an adrenaline rush, which masks pain and injury.

Visiting the nearest emergency room serves as proof that your injury was caused by an accident, especially if you haven’t had any symptoms for days or months.

COLLECT INFORMATION FROM OTHER SOURCES

If you are physically able, gather as much information as possible from other parties involved in the collision. Names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plates, and email addresses are all included. Even though Colorado is a no-fault state, you should obtain any other driver’s insurance information to share with your carrier when filing a claim.

A police report will contain a lot of this information, but it’s best to get it yourself. Some parties may flee the scene before law enforcement arrives, provide a false identity to avoid liability, or make an error in the police report.

TAKE NOTE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE ACCIDENT

Take notes or write down the time and location of the accident, as well as the weather and road conditions, on your smartphone. Also, pay close attention to any other drivers’ actions and note anything unusual or related to the accident. You may have noticed the driver was on his phone when you collided, or you may have detected alcohol on a driver’s breath. A driver may even admit fault, though this is uncommon.

 

SPEAK WITH EYEWITNESSES

You should gather contact information from any eyewitnesses to share with your lawyer at the very least. Take an informal statement that can be verified later if the police haven’t arrived or witnesses appear eager to leave the accident scene.

Remember that law enforcement may not always arrive at an accident scene, especially if it isn’t a fatal accident, but you must still file a report. You can provide eyewitness information to the police to include witness statements in the police report.

TAKE PICTURES OF THE SITUATION

Take pictures of property damage, road hazards, license plates, and anything else you think might be of interest to your injury lawyer and useful to your case with your cell phone. You should also photograph any visible injuries sustained as a result of the accident. This adds to the evidence of the injuries.

As you recover, you should take photos of your injuries every few days or weekly. If your property damage was not significant, photos of significant property damage on the negligent party’s car could help to strengthen your injury claim.

COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE

In a car accident injury case in Colorado, comparative negligence may be used.

Most personal injury cases in Colorado, including car accidents, are decided based on comparative negligence. The concept of comparative negligence, also known as comparative fault, holds that the plaintiff may bear some responsibility for an accident. A court can find a plaintiff partially negligent even in car accidents involving a drunk or distracted driver.

Following that, the court determines how much the plaintiff may have contributed to the accident and assigns a percentage of fault to each party named in the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s injury claim award is reduced by the court’s percentage of fault assigned to him or her.

For example, suppose a drunk driver causes an accident in which you are seriously injured. You sued for $1 million, but the court determined that you were 25% at fault because you were speeding. Your injuries might not have been as severe if you hadn’t been speeding, and you might have avoided the accident altogether if you hadn’t been speeding.

In this case, Colorado law prohibits you from recovering more than 75% of the damages, or

$750,000. Comparative negligence is a common defense strategy that encourages at-fault parties to shift blame to the victim, necessitating the use of strong evidence to back up your claim.

IN COLORADO CAR ACCIDENT CASES, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NEGLIGENCE PER SE

 

Although it does not happen often, there are instances where proving negligence is a foregone conclusion. The application of negligence per se in a car accident case is one such example. In some cases, the party at fault has broken the law. Consider the case of a drunk driver. In this case, your lawyer could argue that the driver was negligent in the first place because he or she committed a crime.

This means that your lawyer won’t have to prove every element of negligence because the law considers negligence to be proven automatically when someone drives while intoxicated. In that case, all your attorney would have to show is that the accident caused your injuries.

It’s also worth noting that ordinary negligence and negligence per se aren’t mutually exclusive; your lawyer may argue for both.

For example, a drunk driver pulls up to his favorite fast-food joint and orders a burger from the drive-thru. He drives away, eating his burger as he does so. He drops the sandwich, reaches down to pick it up, and swerves it into your car, causing a collision. While eating while driving is not illegal, it is a distraction that can lead to negligence if it causes an accident. In this case, your lawyer could argue that the at-fault driver was negligent per se for driving while intoxicated and eating while driving.

Aside from drunk driving, your attorney may use a defendant negligence per se argument to win your case, such as

Running a stoplight or a stop sign

Allowing an unlicensed driver to operate a car Driving on the wrong side of the road

Blocking a road

Drag racing on a public street.

To put it another way, these actions can demonstrate that the defendant is guilty.

IN COLORADO CAR ACCIDENT CASES, STRICT LIABILITY APPLIES.

You do not need to prove negligence in a car accident case if the at-fault party is strictly liable. In most product liability cases, strict liability is a factor. Suppose you were injured in a car accident caused by a defective car or car part. In that case, Colorado law holds the manufacturer, and possibly even the retailer, of your car strictly liable.

Product liability cases are divided into three categories by the law: design defect, manufacturing defect, and marketing or information defect. When a defect causes serious injury or death, any party involved in the chain of motor car distribution may be held strictly liable under Colorado law. To argue for strict liability, you must generally show that the defect occurred before you took possession of the car and that the defect caused your injury.

 

TODAY IS THE BEST TIME TO CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED COLORADO CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER.

To win a car accident lawsuit, you must show negligence or make other arguments like negligence per se and strict liability. That is not a job for someone who isn’t a lawyer. You should concentrate on your recovery and rehabilitation while leaving the details of your case to a skilled car accident injury attorney, who will investigate your accident, gather evidence, and build the strongest case possible for your situation.

If you’ve been in a car accident, don’t try to win your case on your own; hire an experienced attorney to represent you and give you the best chance of recovering your losses. Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, and Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, can be reached at 719-300-1100 or via email for a free consultation to discuss how our skilled legal team can assist you.

TO WIN MY ACCIDENT CASE, I’M HIRING WARRIOR CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers is a well-known civil trial and personal injury law firm in the United States. Jeremy D. Earle, JD have handled over 500 hundred personal injury lawsuits.

Throughout their careers, the partners of Warrior Car Accident Lawyers have personally handled over 10,000 auto accident cases. They have extensive knowledge of all aspects of personal injury law. Insurance companies admire our personal injury law firm’s tenacity in court. Call us today at 719-300-1100 if you need legal help with a car accident claim.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers

1902 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 100

Colorado Springs, CO 80904

719-300-1100

Free Consultation

NO FEE UNLESS WE WIN

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