When you suffer an accident or injury, you may feel shock, fear, and sadness. If the injury or accident was not your fault you may also experience anger and resentment, and even guilt for feeling that way. As time goes by, whether minutes or months, you will likely wonder what legal remedies are available to you. In other words, you may wonder if you have “a case.”
Several Factors to Ponder
When most people call our office, this is the question on their minds. The answer depends on many factors, especially liability, meaning the determination of who or what caused the accident or injury. For a legal argument or “case” to be made, the injury must have been caused by the actions or negligence of another. For example, if you slip and fall on your own icy driveway, there is probably not much the law can do for you. However, if you slip and fall on an icy sidewalk in front of a business or restaurant, those business entities might be found liable for your injuries because they failed to maintain safe conditions.
The Extent of Your Damages
However, liability is only part of the equation. Another factor in determining whether you have a case will be the extent of your damages. Damages is a legal term which refers to the overall cost of your injury. In Colorado, there are three kinds of injuries for which damages can be awarded:
- Economic Damages: past medical care and lost wages, future medical care and future lost wages
- Non-economic Damages: pain, suffering, distress, inconvenience
- Physical Impairment: permanent injury, scarring
For a case to be made, there must be some kind of quantifiable damage. For example, if your friend trips you but you recover your balance and skip away unharmed, you have not incurred damages. Therefor you would likely not have a case against your friend. However, if your friend trips you and you fall and break your knee, now you have damages. Your friend may very well be found liable for your damages, which might include medical bills, lost wages, and suffering. In this scenario, you likely do have a case.
The Statute of Limitations
Another factor is the statute of limitations, meaning the time frame in which a case must be settled or the right to sue is lost. Statutes of limitations can be a matter of weeks or years, depending on the type of injury event. If you have been injured due to another’s negligence, it is best to call a lawyer without delay.
Still Not Sure?
Every situation is different, and only an experienced personal injury attorney can tell you if you have a case. Whether in person, by phone, or by Zoom, our consultations are free and informative. We want to get you the recovery you deserve.
Article by Molly Fuscher