When people are injured by the negligence of another there is often a hesitance to turn to a personal injury attorney for help. Frequently it seems this hesitance stems from a misunderstanding of the victim’s rights. This article will help you understand your rights if you’ve been harmed by the negligent acts of another in Colorado.
What is Negligence?
To understand what your rights are as an injured party you must understand what negligence is. The law imposes a duty upon everyone to act with a certain level care in their day to day conduct so that they don’t endanger everyone else around them. Negligence is a violation of that duty to act with a specific standard of care. That means when a person doesn’t act with sufficient care in going about their day to day business, they are being negligent. If another person is harmed because of this negligence then the court will generally deem the negligent party liable for the damages arising from the injury.
What is the Standard of Care?
This all begs the question, what is the standard of care? The standard of care varies from activity to activity. The more dangerous an activity is to the public, the more careful you must be when engaging in that activity. When determining what is the appropriate level of care that a person should exercise in a particular situation, a court will frequently ask “What would a reasonably prudent person do under the same circumstances?” Often this question is left to juries to decide, but Denver Personal Injury Attorney Bonnie Shields can help you determine if someone has breached their duty of care.
A simple example of a breach of standard of care is texting while driving. A reasonably prudent person would not be distracted by sending text messages while driving, therefore, if a person strikes someone else while texting and driving, they are probably negligent and therefore liable for the resulting injuries.
What Are The Limits of the Standard of Care?
The standard of care is only concerned with what the “reasonably prudent” person would do in a particular situation, not what the “fanatically paranoid” person would do. Imagine that a contractor is building a brick house. The house is built to code and is of sound quality for its purposes. Suddenly one evening a nearby tree falls on the home, collapsing the structure and harming the unsuspecting inhabitants. The contractor is probably not liable to the injured inhabitants because a reasonably prudent person would not be expected to build a house capable of withstanding the sudden crushing blow of a falling tree. We do not reasonably expect houses to be built as bunkers. This creates a limit on liability in situations where a person is acting with the level of care expected of them.
How Do I Collect Damages for Negligence?
Remember that injuries resulting from negligence don’t always include physical injuries to your body. You may be injured in the form of damaged property or pain and suffering. If you believe you were injured by someone who was not acting with an appropriate level of care, you may have a claim for negligence that entitles you to receive compensation for your injury. Compensation in negligence cases can include medical costs, the costs of repairing or replacing damaged property, lost wages and income and damages for pain and suffering. Denver Personal Injury Attorney Bonnie Shields can help you determine what damages you may be owed.
Learn More About Your Rights
Don’t wait until it’s too late to recover damages for your injuries. Negligence claims in Colorado must be reported very quickly, normally within six months to two years of discovering your injuries. Call (303) 798-1927 or contact our Denver law office immediately for a free consultation to learn about your rights.