Learn everything you need to know about how car accident liability works in Colorado, with this informative article from the Green Law Firm, P.C.
Colorado is an at-fault state. This means that the person who causes a car accident, and the insurance provider representing them, are responsible for compensating others involved for property damage and personal injuries sustained in the accident.
Fault, or liability, after a car accident in Colorado, refers to responsibility for an accident and the obligation to set things right, typically by paying for damages caused.
What it Means to be At Fault
Any person who causes an accident is at fault and is liable for any subsequent injuries or property damage.
A person is usually at fault due to:
- Negligence- carelessly failing to exercise reasonable caution to avoid causing harm,
- Recklessness- willfully failing to exercise reasonable caution to avoid causing harm.
Colorado adheres to a statute of proportional comparative fault in determining whether a claimant or plaintiff may recover damages, and in what amount.
If both drivers are equally to blame, neither is eligible to collect damages.
Motorists determined to be 50 percent or more at fault are not eligible to receive damages, just as those who are less than 50 percent at fault will see their compensation diminished by their percentage of fault.
For example, if a driver suffered $50,000 in damages, but because he was speeding was determined to be 30% at fault, he would only be eligible to recover $35,000- $50,000 reduced by 30%.
If both drivers involved received some kind of citation, determining liability and recoverable damages would be even more complex.
Regardless of whether one of the involved motorists received a citation or not, there are many factors to consider when determining liability.
Obviously, an at-fault motorist must be identified and fault must be proven. However, reaching that point is not always as simple as it might seem.
Even though it may be obvious to most everyone involved, just saying who’s at fault will not be sufficient to secure a settlement.
The police report for the accident can provide additional information that will help determine liability.
In addition to the police report, other information can be useful in piecing together the accident and assigning the proportion of blame-if any- to each driver, such as:
- Pictures of the accident scene,
- Statements provided by eye witnesses,
- Citations- if any,
- Skid marks,
- Damage to the vehicles,
- Other property damage.
Once he or she has collected raw data from police reports, eye witnesses, and other resources, your car accident attorney will assemble a case demonstrating the other driver’s liability for the accident.
An experienced attorney can impart a comprehensive understanding of the complex laws pertaining to negligence and auto accidents, and help you understand how liability works.