Contributory Fault

Colorado is an at-fault state for personal injury and accident claims. You must prove that the other party caused your injury to recover compensation. However, being partly at fault for the cause of your injury could reduce the amount of money you receive for injuries and damages under Colorado’s contributory fault law.

The Legal Theories of Contributory and Comparative Negligence 

Contributory negligence is only used in four states and sometimes in the District of Columbia. It is an extremely harsh rule for apportioning damages in a personal injury case. If the injured party is at all responsible for their injuries, the other party is not responsible for any damages. 

In other words, in a contributory fault state, if you are 1% at fault for your car accident, the other driver is not responsible for your injuries or damages. It does not matter that the other driver is 99% at fault for causing the car crash.

On the other hand, comparative negligence allows an injured party to receive compensation based on their level of fault. For instance, if you have no fault for causing a slip and fall accident, you could seek 100% of your damages from the party responsible for causing your injury. However, if you are 60% to blame for your injury, the most you could recover is 40% of your damages.

The examples discussed above would fall under the category of “pure” comparative negligence, which is a system around 13 states follow. Most states have a “modified” comparative negligence system instead, which works the same way except that an accident victim is barred from recovering damages past a certain threshold (either 50% or 51%, depending on the state). 

What Is the Contributory Fault Law in Colorado?

Colorado is considered a modified comparative negligence state with a 50% bar to recovery. Colorado Revised Statute §13-21-111 states that contributory fault does not bar recovery of damages for negligence if the victim’s negligence is not as great as the other party’s negligence. 

If you are more than 49% to blame for causing an accident, you cannot recover any money for your claim. Therefore, if a jury determines you were 55% to blame for causing the accident, you cannot receive any money for damages.

However, suppose the jury finds you are 30% to blame for a car crash. In that instance, you would receive 70% of what the jury awarded as damages. As long as your fault is below 50%, you can recover damages, but your percentage of fault reduces the amount of your damages.

Steps To Protect Yourself Against Allegations of Contributory Fault in a Lakewood Personal Injury Case 

Even though you know you are not at fault, you cannot prevent someone from trying to blame you for causing an accident. However, you can take steps to protect yourself if you are blamed for causing your injuries. These steps include:

A Lakewood personal injury lawyer can help you take steps to protect your rights after a personal injury or accident. Your attorney investigates the cause of your injury to establish liability and defend you against allegations of contributory fault. 

Proving Fault for a Personal Injury Claim in Lakewood, CO

Most accidents are based on negligence. The legal elements of a negligence case are:

You must prove that the other party’s conduct breached their duty of care to act with reasonable causation to avoid causing harm to another person. As a result of the party’s actions, you sustained damages. 

Once you prove negligence, you can seek compensation for your damages. Damages in personal injury claims include economic damages such as:

You may also receive compensation for non-economic damages. These damages include emotional distress, mental anguish, and physical discomfort. Pain and suffering damages also include impairments, disfigurement, and diminished quality of life. 

The amount you receive for a Lakewood personal injury claim depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. An experienced lawyer understands the steps for maximizing your compensation.

Call for a Free Consultation With Our Lakewood Personal Injury Lawyers

Don’t let the insurance company or at-fault party wrongfully blame you for causing an accident or injury. Call Matos Personal Injury Lawyers at 720) 912 7274 for a free case evaluation. Our experienced Lakewood personal injury attorneys are skilled, resourceful, and ready to defend you against allegations of contributory fault.