When you’re suing someone for personal injury, you need to prove that they were negligent. Negligence, according to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, is the failure to provide proper care under a particular circumstance. For example, a driver is negligent if they commit an illegal action that resulted in a pedestrian getting hit, like looking at their phone or running a red light. However, the state of Colorado’s modified comparative negligence isn’t as cut and dry. Here’s how it may affect your case.
Modified Comparative Negligence Defined
The state of Colorado doesn’t just look at the defendant’s fault, but the plaintiff’s, too. If the court determines that you were also at fault in your accident, they may reduce the compensation you’ll get.
How Modified Comparative Negligence Affects Your Case
Going back to the pedestrian accident example, if it was proven that you weren’t looking at both sides of the road or you were on your phone while crossing, the court will put you at fault as well. If it’s determined that you’re going to get $100,000 in damages and you’re 40% responsible, you may only get $60,000. What’s worse is that if the court decides that you’re 50% responsible, you have to forfeit your right to receive compensation.
What You Can Do
If you had a fault in your accident, you’re likely going to have your compensation reduced. However, you can still fight for a fair reduction. Make sure you have a capable pedestrian accident lawyer representing you in your settlement and possible trial. This way, you get help from someone well-versed in maximizing the compensation you recover.
Damages You Can Claim
Whether the defendant is wholly or partially liable in the accident, you can sue them for damages related to medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and permanent disability. If you lost a loved one in the accident, you could also claim damages for funeral expenses and loss of consortium. Go over every detail of your accident with your lawyer to find out the damages you’re eligible to claim.
How the Right of Way Affects Your Case
Pedestrians like you often have the right of way when it comes to these types of cases, according to the Colorado Drivers Handbook. It states that drivers must do everything they can to prevent striking a pedestrian. That is true even for intersections with stop signs or red lights. Drivers must always come to a complete stop whenever someone is crossing the road.
The state of Colorado gives the right of way to pedestrians. However, it also recognizes that pedestrians can make mistakes when crossing the street. That is why it enforces a comparative negligence rule. If you crossed at the right time or was on the sidewalk at the time of the accident, you have nothing to worry about. But if you are even partially liable, the best you can do is to fight for a reasonable reduction of your compensation. While comparative negligence may lessen the damages you can claim, it ensures that both you and the defendant are treated fairly in court.