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Denver Personal Injury Lawyers

What Is a Personal Injury Case?

What Is a Personal Injury Case?

What Is a Personal Injury Case?

Personal injury cases are often characterized by the harm suffered by the victim as well as the losses that harm causes. Bodily injuries can result from accidents, deliberate actions, or even dangerous conditions that are directly controlled by the at-fault party.

A personal injury case arises when the injured person seeks compensation for the losses resulting from those injuries.

Tort Law

Tort Law

Tort law defines the rights of an individual who has suffered a physical, mental, or reputational injury. As it is a core course taught in every law school and also one of the fields of law covered on the bar exam, every lawyer learns the basic principles of tort law.

When someone gets injured, a lawyer can use three different theories of liability to help them recover injury compensation. These theories are as follows:

Intentional Torts

Intentional torts cover deliberate actions and are typically used to hold someone financially liable for homicide, assault, nursing home abuse, or sexual assault.

To prove liability, you do not need to prove the other party intended to cause your specific injury; instead, you only need to prove they intended to touch you in a harmful or offensive way without your consent. Thus, it would be enough to show that someone intended to throw a chair at you, as opposed to proving that the chair is what caused your injury, for example.

Negligent Torts

Negligence occurs as the collection of these four elements:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty
  • Damages
  • Causation

The duty of care comes from the relationship of the parties. Doctors, for instance, owe a duty of care to patients; drivers owe a duty of care to other road users; property owners and managers owe a duty of care to their guests. A breach of duty takes place when one party fails to exercise that reasonable care. 

You measure reasonableness by looking at the situation from the viewpoint of an objective person with reasonable competence and prudence; thus, it does not matter whether the other party knew they should have done things differently. It only matters whether any reasonable person in the situation would have done something different.

For example, a driver cannot defend themselves from a personal injury claim for a distracted driving crash by saying they did not know the dangers of eating while driving. They are liable, as a reasonable person in the same situation would know of those dangers.

Damages come from injuries and may include financial losses as well as the diminishment in the victim’s quality of life, among many other categories. 

Lastly, determining causation is where you must prove the other party’s breach of duty led to your damages. 

Causation usually requires both cause-in-fact and proximate cause. The former includes any event that falls in the sequence of events that naturally leads to the injury, while the latter means the at-fault party’s action or inaction was something that could foreseeably cause an injury.

Strict Liability Torts

Strict liability applies to activities that are viewed as inherently dangerous, regardless of the at-fault party’s intentions or knowledge. In Colorado, two primary types of injuries fall under strict liability law: dog bites and those caused by defective products.

Dog bite victims can pursue a dog bite claim against the dog’s owner regardless of whether the dog had a history of viciousness or the owner took reasonable measures to prevent the bite. The victim would only need to show that the bite was sustained while they were lawfully on public or private property and that they did not provoke the dog.

Product liability cases also fall under strict liability. Proving liability for a dangerous or defective product only requires that you prove the existence of a defect at the time it left the manufacturer’s hands and a causal link between your injuries and the defect. You do not need to prove the manufacturer intended to create or even knew of the defect.

Typical Procedure in Personal Injury Cases

Most personal injury cases begin with an insurance claim, generally against a liability policy. Liability insurance is an agreement between an insurer and a policyholder that obligates the insurer to pay any damages caused by the policyholder due to a covered event. 

Some examples of liability insurance and covered events include the following:

  • Auto Insurance: Covers car accidents negligently caused by the policyholder
  • Homeowners’ Insurance: Covers slip and fall accidents that injure visitors to the policyholder’s home
  • Malpractice Insurance: Covers injuries resulting from healthcare provider negligence
  • Business Liability Insurance: Covers injuries to visitors to a business that result from employee negligence

Your claim will include a description of your accident and medical records to show the injuries you suffered. The insurer will assign your claim to an adjuster, who will then investigate the circumstances of your injury and decide whether to accept or deny your claim. 

If accepted, your injury lawyer will negotiate a settlement that compensates you for your losses and will require you to release your legal claims against the policyholder in exchange for an insurance payout.

If the insurer denies your claim, your injury lawyer will try to overcome the denial with evidence and legal arguments. In many cases, the adjuster will persist in the denial, meaning you and your lawyer will need to file a lawsuit to continue your personal injury case.

The Role of the Denver Personal Injury Lawyer

A Denver personal injury lawyer serves many roles in a case. They evaluate the strength and value of claims so clients can make informed decisions about how to handle their cases; they prepare insurance claims, and they fight with adjusters to get a fair settlement. If the insurer refuses to settle, they can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Any bodily injury can endanger your physical, mental, and financial health, Call Zaner Harden Law at (720) 613-9706 or contact us online for a free consultation to discuss your injuries and the compensation you can seek for them under Colorado law.

Where We Are

We are located across the street from Union Station in downtown Denver and offer validated parking for all our clients. We also have offices in Boulder and Colorado Springs.