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Frequently Asked Personal Injury Questions
Do you have questions regarding your personal injury claim? The Law Office of James H. Guest, L.L.C., has the answers you need to feel confident about your next steps toward recovering compensation. Check out the answers to some of our clients’ most commonly asked questions or contact our firm online or by calling our Denver office at 303-292-2992.
What is a personal injury claim?
When someone suffers a physical injury, mental trauma or dies because of someone else’s negligence, the victim or the victim’s family may have grounds for a personal injury claim. This is a lawsuit brought against the negligent party — which could be a person, business, hospital, health care facility or multiple parties — and seeks to recover damages, also called compensation.
A personal injury can stem from a range of situations including but not limited to:
What compensation can I recover?
Compensation in a personal injury claim is broken into two categories: compensatory and punitive damages.
“Compensatory damages” are damages that often have a compensable cost associated with them. Examples of this include:
- Hospital bills
- Reconstructive surgery costs
- Charges for doctors visits
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Prescription medication costs
- Medical devices and in-home medical equipment
- Modifications to a home to accommodate a disability
- Lost wages
- Funeral and burial expenses (in cases of wrongful death)
“Punitive damages,” on the other hand, are meant to punish the negligent party by forcing them to pay additional compensation beyond what is being asked for compensatory damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which are calculated based on the total economic damages suffered by a victim or a victim’s family, the calculation of punitive damages is left to the discretion of the plaintiff.
Punitive damages that are often sought include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of future employment
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability
If I was partially to blame for my accident, can I still file a claim?
Yes. You can still file a personal injury claim even if you were partly to blame for your accident. This is because Colorado is a comparative negligence state. The law regarding comparative negligence states that each party to the crash or accident will be assessed a percentage of fault. If your percentage of fault is less than the other party, your total compensation will be decreased by your percentage of fault.
You may even be able to collect compensation in cases where there is an assumption of risk, such as failing to wear a seatbelt while driving a car or disabling the safety guard on a power tool. The same rules of comparative negligence apply in these situations as well.
Will I need to hire a lawyer after an accident?
Hiring a lawyer to help you file a personal injury claim is a personal choice and one that should only be made after considering the immense benefits a lawyer offers. At the Law Office of James H. Guest, L.L.C., we:
- Handle all talks with insurance adjusters to ensure nothing gets said that could jeopardize your claim
- Gather police reports, witness statements, medical records and other important documents that could help bolster your case
- Handle all legal matters, including negotiations with the insurance company
- Make sure you’re getting maximum compensation to cover all of your present and future financial needs
Here it should be noted that it’s very important to make your decision about hiring a lawyer sooner rather than later in Colorado as there are statutes of limitations on personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. If you wait too long, you may forfeit your right to obtain compensation for your injuries.
How long do I have to file a claim?
The length of time you have in which to file a claim is called the statute of limitations. In Colorado, there are different statutes of limitations depending on the type of case you file:
- Personal injury — within three years of the accident
- Medical malpractice — within two years of discovering an injury or evidence of negligence
- Wrongful death — within two years of a loved one’s death
It should be noted that there are some exceptions to these time periods. An experienced lawyer can explain what is the case for you in your situation.
How long will it take before I recover compensation?
This all depends on the level of complexity of your case, whether the other party is negotiating in good faith and if you need to go to trial to resolve matters. Settlements can be reached in a matter of months or they can take more than a year to resolve. Clients often see faster or better results, however, if they hire a skilled personal injury lawyer.
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t owe us anything until your case reaches a successful resolution. If you win, our contingency fees will be approximately one-third of your total settlement.
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Law Office of James H. Guest
Law Office of James H. Guest, L.L.C.
3333 South Bannock Street, Suite 1060
Englewood, CO 80110
Phone: 303-292-2992 Fax: 303-292-2882