Your case may not escalate to a lawsuit unless you first attempt to file a personal injury claim with an insurance company. If you were injured in a car accident in Aurora, you will file a claim with your car insurance provider and/or that of the at-fault driver, depending on fault and available coverage.
In filing a claim, you first must establish fault for the accident. In many states, you must be less than 50 percent at fault in what is known as comparative negligence. This is the law followed in Colorado, so for your claim to be valid, you must be less than 50 percent at fault for causing the accident.
You cannot resolve your personal injury claim directly with the insurance company.
There are many reasons you may be unable to come to an acceptable settlement with the insurance company. In many cases, the insurance company will offer a low settlement quickly in hopes that you will not want to negotiate and accept whatever amount is offered. In other cases, the adjuster assigned to your claim may try to devalue your damages.
Some tricks the insurer may attempt include taking recorded statements to coerce you to downplay the severity of your damages; hiring private investigators to watch your behavior; obtaining unnecessary medical records to try to tie previous injuries to your current ailments; and misconstruing your social media interactions to claim you are not severely injured.
When an insurance company denies your claim or refuses to pay a fair amount for your damages, you may need to escalate the claim to a lawsuit to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.
You are within the statute of limitations.
Colorado's statute of limitations is two years for basic negligence and three years for negligence or injuries involving a car accident. If your injuries were caused by a slip and fall accident, medical malpractice or any other accident not involving a vehicle, you must file the lawsuit within two years of the date of injury.
There is an exception in cases of medical malpractice where it may not be feasible for the injury to be discovered at the time it occurred. This is known as the discovery rule and applies to instances such as when a surgical tool is left inside a patient and isn't discovered until years later during an X-ray.
You have substantial damages that occurred due to another's negligence and have not been compensated for them by any other means.
Personal injury lawsuits are not for minor damages. The settlement being sought should be substantial to expend effort on a trial.
If you have already accepted a settlement from your insurance company, you most likely signed a settlement agreement to obtain your compensation. Most settlement agreements include a clause saying that you waive your right to take any further legal action related to the case. This means you have signed away your right to file a lawsuit and recover any further compensation.
You have a personal injury attorney working on your case.
While it is possible to file a personal injury claim on your own, it is advisable to seek out a personal injury attorney if you suffer serious injuries and/or are seeking to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits require extensive preparation, evidence gathering and appearances in an Aurora court that an attorney is best suited to handle.
Most accident victims are unable or unwilling to bear the burden of developing a legal case against an insurance company. A personal injury attorney can be of great benefit to an accident victim who is looking to file a lawsuit when a personal injury claim goes unanswered or is decided unfairly.
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