How to Prove a Colorado Negligence Claim
Denver-based personal injury attorney R. Mack Babcock and associates can prove negligence in your case
Negligence is defined as the failure to behave in a way that a responsible person would have in the same situation. This lack of reasonable care can either be an action, or an act of omission, when there is a duty to take steps to prevent harm from befalling another person.
In legal terms, negligence is a concept used by plaintiffs to receive compensation for injuries or damages that have been incurred by the defendant’s lack of due diligence or regard for others’ safety. While most negligence claims are based on common law and similar among different states, individual state laws can have subtle yet important distinctions in how liability is determined and how much damages can be awarded.
Colorado Negligence Law
In Colorado negligence lawsuits, a defendant is only obligated to compensate the plaintiff for the proportion of the injury the court determines them to be at fault. For example, if the plaintiff is found to be 25 percent responsible for the accident, then they can only sue for 75 percent of the total costs.
If, however, the court determines the claimant’s negligence is greater than that of the defendant’s, the plaintiff may not recover any damages at all. This is known as contributory negligence.
Colorado’s contributory negligence limits also set a maximum amount you can recover financially for certain damages. For example, a claimant may recover up to $1 million in a medical malpractice case, but not more than $300,000 for non-economic damages (i.e. pain and suffering or loss of consortium).
Types of Negligence
The most common types of negligence claims are
Gross Negligence: When an individual acts unreasonable, or does something that a reasonable person would not do, thus resulting in an injury. The defendant willfully showed a complete disregard for another person’s safety. (For example: A person drives while intoxicated, resulting in a serious drunk driving crash that injures or kills another driver.)
Vicarious Negligence: When an individual fails to take reasonable action to prevent harm from befalling another person. The defendant is held liable because of a failure to responsibly supervise another person or animal that caused the injury. (For example: A dog owner fails to properly secure their pet, resulting in an animal attack that seriously harms or kills a child.)
Both forms of negligence fall under negligence law, and the case is filed against an individual, company, or party responsible for the injury. Other types of negligence lawsuits include comparative fault, contributory negligence, as well as mixed contributory & comparative negligence.
Negligence is by far the largest type of legal tort, and can fall under many different legal categories involving personal injury, such as:
- Medical malpractice
- Defective product
- Inadequate security
Proving a Negligence Claim
In order to successfully prove negligence in a lawsuit, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant had a responsibility to the victim, that the defendant breached proper conduct by failing to fulfill their required duty, and that the defendant’s negligent behavior resulted in injury or damage to the plaintiff.
Simply put, proving fault in a negligence case can be broken into four key elements:
- Duty. The defendant had a legal responsibility to protect the plaintiff from harm.
- Breach. The defendant broke their legal duty by acting negligently or failing to act appropriately.
- Causation. The defendant’s action or inaction directly caused the plaintiff injury or harm.
- Damages. The defendant has assets or the financial ability to provide compensation to the plaintiff for damages.
Get Help Proving Fault in Your Colorado Negligence Case
At the Babcock Law Firm, our Denver personal injury attorneys understand the pain that someone else’s negligence can cause. We are committed to passionately representing victims of negligence and their families.
Whether you are located in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, or another Colorado city, our personal injury law firm possesses extensive experience with investigating and establishing fault. Don’t hesitate to seek out an attorney to at least discuss —and possibly represent you — in a case involving negligence.
We invite you to learn more about how representation works, and then schedule a comprehensive free consultation today.
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