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Determining Fault in a Colorado Car Accident

If you get involved in a car accident in Colorado, you will have to prove that another driver is at fault for the crash to receive financial compensation from that driver’s insurance company. In some car accident cases, fault is obvious, while in others, it is difficult to determine. You may need help from an experienced Colorado car accident lawyer to establish fault for your crash.

Accident Investigation

If a car accident in Colorado involves injuries or property damage, it legally must be reported to the police. The police may send an officer to the scene to conduct an investigation. This investigation will typically involve interviewing witnesses, documenting key facts, taking official photographs, and gathering other available information and evidence.

When a car accident gets reported to a car insurance company, an insurance claims adjuster is assigned to the case. The adjuster will investigate on behalf of the insurance company by contacting the parties involved, asking questions, requesting proof of losses, revisiting the scene of the accident and analyzing property damage. Then, the adjuster will use this information to make a determination regarding fault for the collision.

If the claims adjuster does not believe that its policyholder is at fault for the crash after its investigation, it may refute liability and reject the claim. It may also decide that a third party caused or contributed to the accident, such as a product manufacturer. It will then be up to the claimant or claimant’s attorney to prove that the defendant is at fault using clear and convincing evidence.

Evidence of Fault

Determining fault is not enough to recover financial compensation in a car accident case in Colorado. The plaintiff’s attorney must prove that the defendant is more likely to be at fault than not at fault. This burden of proof is known as a preponderance of the evidence. While it is lower than the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which must be established in a criminal case, it can still be difficult to meet.

Proving fault in a car accident case may involve evidence such as:

  • A police report
  • Witness statements and testimonies
  • Expert witnesses
  • Photographs and video footage
  • Hospital bills and medical records
  • Cell phone records
  • Accident reconstruction

Do your best to collect evidence after getting into a car accident in Colorado. Take photographs before you leave the scene of the crash, for example, and request a copy of your police report. Go to a doctor immediately for professional medical care. Doing what you can to gather evidence soon after your crash can help your lawyer build a stronger claim against the at-fault party.

Comparative Negligence

Fault in a car accident case is not always black and white. In many cases, fault is assigned to multiple parties rather than a single person. Under Colorado’s modified comparative negligence law, a victim’s financial recovery can be reduced by an amount equivalent to his or her degree of fault for the accident. If an insurance company attempts to allocate a percentage of fault to you for a car accident, this could interfere with your payout.

An attorney can help you determine and establish fault from the very beginning of your car accident case. If the comparative negligence defense is raised, your attorney can present evidence refuting your alleged fault for the crash or your injuries. You can trust an attorney to fight for the best possible results for your case on your behalf. Contact Cannon Law to learn more about determining fault during a free car accident case consultation.