determining fault in a multi-vehicle accident
In December of 2014, Fox 31 Denver, reported on an astonishing 104 car pileup that occurred in the snowy conditions of Interstate-25.
In all, occupants of 20 different vehicles required hospitalization, and tragically, one victim was killed. While an accident of that immense size is extremely rare, it is not uncommon for multiple vehicles to be involved in the same accident.
Car accidents that involve three or more distinct parties will quickly turn into challenging legal situations.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a multi-vehicle collision, it is critical that you seek assistance from an experienced Denver auto accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Colorado Law: Comparative Fault
The state of Colorado uses a modified comparative fault standard. The standard also includes a 50 percent bar on recovery.
Understanding exactly how this type of system operates is important, particularly if your accident involved multiple other vehicles.
Essentially, the way the system works is that each driver’s blame for a Colorado car accident will be directly proportional to their liability for that accident.
In practice, this means that a driver’s accident recovery will be reduced by their percentage of blame for an accident.
This type of calculation can get complicated; to better understand how the process works, consider the following hypothetical four car accident:
- Vehicle A: was 0 percent at fault
- Vehicle B: was 20 percent at fault
- Vehicle C: was 20 percent at fault
- Vehicle D: was 60 percent at fault
Further, imagine that in this multi-vehicle accident, each party sustained exactly $10,000 in damages.
Under Colorado law, vehicle A, which had no fault for the accident, would be entitled to recover the full extent of their damages, all $10,000.
On the other hand, vehicles B and C would each have each their recovery reduced by 20 percent. Therefore, they would only be entitled to recover $8,000 for their damages.
Finally, because vehicle D was 60 percent at fault, that driver would be entitled to a recovery of $0 for their damages.
This is because Colorado has a bar on recovery for any party that is at least 50 percent to blame for an accident.
You Need Protection From Unfair Blame
You must protect yourself from receiving unfair blame for an accident. This is especially important to consider after multi-car accidents, when the fault can be spread in so many different directions.
Colorado’s modified comparative fault system makes the assignment of blame crucial. If you are found to be at fault for even a few more percentage points of the accident than is fair, you could potentially lose out on thousands of dollars of compensation.
The bottom line is simple: If you have been injured in an accident, you need get an attorney by your side immediately.
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