| Read Time: 3 minutes | Blog

Do I Need a Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer?

Not all personal injury claims require the assistance of a lawyer. Some are unwinnable, while others are trivial. It is important, however, that you understand when you need a personal injury lawyer, when you don’t, and how a Colorado personal injury lawyer can help you obtain the justice you deserve.  How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you in the following ways, among others: Provide an objective evaluation of your claimーsomething you might need while you are struggling with overwhelming emotions; Advise you on how to maximize the value of your claimーby staying off social media, for example; Conduct an investigation of your claim; Gather admissible evidence for use both in court and at the negotiating table; Find expert witnesses to bolster your claim; Negotiate your claim with the insurance company or the defendant; Find legal holes in the defendant’s evidence and arguments; Advise you on possible alternative courses of action; and Draft a formal complaint and file a lawsuit on your behalf (useful even if you never go to court). Above all, your attorney can take care of legal and financial matters for you, so you can concentrate on regaining your health.   Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer? Seven Signs That Say You Do There is no formula that can tell you for sure whether you need legal assistance. Under the following circumstances, however, you are likely to need a personal injury lawyer.  1. Your Injuries Are Long-Term or Permanent Some injuries leave you with permanent disfigurement. Others, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), can leave you with long-term disability. Still, other injuries might leave you with the need for long-term medical care or rehabilitation. In such cases, especially, the latter case, you may need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you estimate future medical expenses. You are also likely to need an attorney for a wrongful death claim. 2. The Insurance Company Rejects Your Claim or Offers a Paltry Settlement Most insurance companies would reject almost any claim if they thought they could get away with it. One of the ways you know that the insurance company doesn’t respect you is when they either dismiss your claim or offer you a settlement that is so low you can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. 3. The Insurance Company Is Dealing with You in Bad Faith  Bad faith means, essentially, dishonestly. Although the law prohibits insurance companies from dealing with you in bad faith, it happens all the time. Some bad faith insurance company tactics include: Stalling you with numerous small delays; Providing you with misleading information; Requiring you to provide excess documentation; Aggressively pursuing an unfairly low settlement offer; and Dismissing your claim without discussion or with blithe and simplistic answers. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Trust your gut instincts if you think the insurance company is treating you unfairly.  4. The Insurance Company or the Defendant Is Trying to Blame Your for the Accident Because of Colorado’s comparative fault system, many insurance companies seek ways to blame the victim for the accident, so that they can escape liability themselves.  Insurance company representative: “Please tell me the EXACT time of the accident.” (for the 50th time). You (exasperated): “OK, OK, the accident happened at EXACTLY 2:42 pm.” Insurance company: So you caused the accident yourself, by checking the time when you should have been watching the road.”  5. Liability Is in Dispute The defendant will always come up with some argument that they are somehow not responsible for your damages. You are going to need a personal injury lawyer, however, when the facts put liability in real dispute and you are not sure whether it is you or the other party who is the real defendant.  6. You Are Not Sure How Much Your Claim Is Worth You might not realize how much of the typically successful personal injury claim consists of intangible, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. You could drastically underestimate the value of your claim if you ignore these components of your damages. 7. Your Claim Is Complex Some personal injury claims are simple, while others are complex. Your claim might involve multiple parties, for example. Likewise, your claim might be scientifically complex. Product liability claims, for example, are often quite scientifically complex, and proving your claim might require the use of an expert witness.  We’re Ready for Action Here at Tenge Law, we put our money where our mouth is. Indeed, we have recovered more than $50 million for our clients over the last seven years alone. Although it would be unethical of us to guarantee results in any particular case, we can guarantee you this much—retain us and your case will be in good hands.  Call The Tenge Law Firm, LLC, 24/7 at 303-536-7686 or contact us online to get started pursuing your claim today.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 4 minutes | Blog

Questions To Ask A Personal Injury Lawyer in CO

Having the Right Lawyer Gives You the Best Chance to Recover for Your Injuries Suffering an injury at the hands of another person can seriously disrupt your life. An injury caused because of another’s negligence is likely to force you out of work while medical bills pile up.  You know you need help from a lawyer. The problem is that there are many injury lawyers. How do you know which one you should choose? At Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we believe in devoting all our attention to our clients’ needs. We strive to provide support for our clients through some of their toughest times. We also fight hard for our clients to get the best result possible in the shortest amount of time.  How Do You Know You Have the Right Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case? Every lawyer out there believes they can do the job for you. Which one is right for you? You might get referrals from numerous friends and family.  They mean well and want the best for you, but they could steer you in the wrong direction.  How do you figure out which lawyer is the best one for your case? Remember, your case is as unique as you are. You have to do some research, and you should also talk to a couple different lawyers before deciding. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like. If the lawyer doesn’t want to answer them or isn’t comfortable with them, then you probably don’t want that lawyer representing you. What Are Some Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer? There are a lot of questions you should ask any attorney you talk to about your Colorado personal injury case. Taking the time to get to know the lawyer before committing to hiring the lawyer is a smart move. You get one shot at recovering damages. So you need to make sure that you have the right lawyer for the job. I’m Out of Work and Can’t Afford to Pay a Lawyer. How Am I Going to Pay Your Fee? We get this question all the time. It makes sense to ask. Anyone who suffered a serious injury in an accident probably can’t afford to hire a lawyer. That’s why Colorado personal injury lawyers from Tenge Law, LLC, work only on a contingency fee. Don’t worry. We put our entire agreement in writing, so you know exactly what to expect. A contingency fee is a simple arrangement: if you win, we win. We won’t take a fee unless you win a settlement or judgment. Also, we advance all your costs. We recover them from your award. That way, you never have to worry about digging into your pocket to fund your case. We do it for you.  What Kind of Experience Do You Have? Most lawyers are ready to tout their accomplishments. A lawyer you can trust with your case has handled cases like yours. Although every case is different, there are some similarities in the types of cases lawyers handle.  You also need to know if the lawyer you’re talking with about your case has jury trial experience. There are a lot of lawyers who have never tried a case before. You have to wonder why. Will the lawyer settle for less than the case is worth out of fear of going to trial?  You want a lawyer who has trial experience and is not afraid to let the jury decide. That doesn’t mean you will have to go to trial. A lawyer with trial experience can push for a great settlement because the other side knows they will not settle for less.  An experienced Colorado personal injury attorney knows how to prepare a case for trial. Rigorous preparation and anticipation that every case will go to a jury usually lead to favorable results. Who’s Handling My Case? When you talk with a lawyer about your case, you expect that attorney will represent you. That’s not always the case. At Tenge Law, LLC, you will have the benefit of all our firm’s talent and resources. However, you will have one attorney dedicated to you and your best interests. We don’t pass your file onto a junior attorney to work on. Instead, your attorney from Tenge Law, LLC, will be with you every step of the way. How Much Is My Case Worth? That’s the magic question. You should want to know the answer. There is no science to translating human loss and suffering into dollar amounts. It’s comparing apples and oranges.  A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will consider lots of factors when trying to answer this question.  Economic Damages There are some damage amounts you can put a dollar figure on. The law refers to those as “economic damages.” Economic damages often include: Property damage, Medical bills, Future medical costs, Lost wages or salary, and Future economic losses. This list is only an example. You might have other economic damages in your case. Non-Economic Damages The law recognizes other types of damages as well. Non-economic damages are those losses on which you can’t put a dollar amount on. Non-economic damages are pain and suffering, emotional losses, psychological suffering, loss of consortium, or loss of companionship. Exemplary Damages Your case might involve punitive or exemplary damages as well. Punitive damages, as the name suggests, punish the defendant for their actions. Punitive damages are not available in every case. But you should discuss the possibility with your lawyer.  A knowledgeable and creative attorney might be able to make an argument that you deserve punitive damages on top of economic and non-economic damages. Why Should I Hire Tenge Law, LLC, for My Colorado Personal Injury Case? We appreciate this question because it gives us a chance to talk about all the good we’ve done for our clients over the past 25 years. In the last seven years alone, we’ve won over $50 million in damages for our clients. How do we do it? We care—a lot....

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Blog

Allstate Bad-Faith Insurance Claims in Colorado

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may know that dealing with insurance companies can be almost as scary as the accident itself. But did you know that all insurance companies in the U.S. owe you a duty of good faith and fair dealing? That’s right! And this duty likely applies to both your insurance company and the insurance company of the party that injured you. If you think you may have been the victim of Allstate’s bad-faith practices in resolving an accident or injury insurance claim, we may be able to help. The duty of good faith and fair dealing means that companies like Allstate need to act fairly in handling claims. This includes processing, investigating, and making decisions about insurance claims. Our team at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC., has helped many Coloradans like you handle personal injury claims—and the Allstate insurance lawsuits that sometimes arise as a result of a poorly handled claim. What Is Bad Faith? The State of Colorado takes bad-faith insurance practices very seriously. In fact, Allstate has been held liable for its bad-faith insurance practices in Colorado courts many times. The issues in these cases have had to do with a variety of policies and practices. But the courts’ rulings always came down to the same thing: Allstate’s alleged bad-faith actions. If you live in Colorado and think you’ve been harmed by Allstate’s failure to investigate your claim, we can help you understand your rights. The Tenge Law Firm’s goal is to achieve justice for injured parties, and that includes fighting for the insurance benefits you deserve. Who Is Allstate? The Allstate Corporation is a multi-billion dollar insurance brand and operates many insurance companies in the United States. You may not even realize that the insurance company you’re fighting with on the other end of the phone is Allstate. For instance, some of the brands that Allstate owns and operates that don’t carry the Allstate name include:  Esurance; Encompass Insurance Company; Castle Key Insurance Company; and American Heritage Life Insurance Company. After a serious accident, you may not even be aware that you’re dealing with a notoriously difficult insurance company. Experienced personal injury counsel can help you understand how to navigate both the insurance companies and the law.  When Would I Encounter an Allstate Bad Faith Issue? If you’re ever in an accident and need to file an insurance claim, you might encounter an Allstate bad-faith issue. The company’s former employees once notoriously disclosed the fact that Allstate used a “three Ds” strategy—deny, delay, and defend—to line its pockets with money that rightfully belonged to claimants. If you’ve ever filed a claim under any of the following policies held by Allstate, you may find yourself on the receiving end of a bad-faith “three Ds” strategy: Auto or motorcycle insurance; Recreational vehicle insurance; Homeowner, renter, and condo insurance; Business insurance; Life insurance; and Supplemental health insurance. Don’t get caught out when you need the support of insurance funds the most. Make sure that after you’ve sought medical attention for an injury, you call an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney before speaking to the insurance company.  How the Tenge Law Firm Can Help – Offices in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins For almost 30 years, J. Todd Tenge and his team have been helping folks like you fight for their rights after an accident. The Tenge Law Firm team can help you understand your rights in an Allstate bad-faith lawsuit. Contact us today to discuss your claims.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | CO Accident News

Nine Injured in Head-on Collision Near Monument, CO

[October 17, 2021 – Monument, CO] — A suspected drunk driver was traveling the wrong direction on I-25 and injured nine people, including himself, on Sunday morning. The two-vehicle collision occurred around 3:30 AM on Sunday. The suspected drunk driver’s Subaru was traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-25 near the County Line Road exit. An Acura was traveling north with eight passengers inside it.  The Subaru crashed head-on into the Acura. All eight passengers as well as the Subaru driver sustained injuries. All the individuals required hospitalization. The Colorado State Patrol shared that the Subaru driver is suspected of being under the influence of both drugs and alcohol-based on his statements and evidence found in his vehicle.  The CSP has not provided an update on any of the injured individuals’ conditions from the drunk driving accident in Monument.  Sources: The Gazette

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | CO Accident News

Village Park Teenager Killed in a Hit-and-Run Accident

[October 19, 2021 – Aurora, CO] — A 14-year-old boy was found trapped under a minivan on Monday evening, and authorities pronounced him dead at the scene. Around 8:00 PM, the police were called to a hit-and-run accident in Village Green Park on S. Chambers Circle. When officers arrived, they found the boy trapped under the minivan and no driver.  Firefighters retrieved the 14-year-old from under the minivan, but he had already died.  Some time later, the minivan driver returned to the scene. It was a teenage girl. She had fled on foot after the accident but cooperated with the police when she returned.  The police believe that the boy had been holding on to the front of the—apparently stolen—minivan as the girl drove the vehicle. As of Monday evening, officers had not arrested the teenage girl. The authorities report that they continue to investigate the crash. The coroner has not released the identity of the Aurora teenager killed in the hit and run. Sources: The Denver Gazette

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | Blog

How to Report Reckless Driving in Boulder

While you may be a very safe driver and always drive defensively to avoid an accident, there’s no guarantee that other drivers will act the same. Sadly, not everyone worries about causing harm to others. Some people drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or they may drive recklessly, both of which endanger others. When you spot someone being unsafe, you have the right to report reckless driving in Colorado. If a reckless driver hits you and you sustain injuries, speak with a skilled Boulder car accident lawyer at Tenge Law Firm, LLC. What Is Considered Reckless Driving in Colorado? Under Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1401, the law defines reckless driving as someone who drives a motor vehicle, bicycle, electric-assisted bicycle, or low-power scooter in a way that demonstrates a wanton or willful disregard for other people’s safety or property. The offending driver could face criminal charges because reckless driving is a class two misdemeanor offense in Colorado. For the first reckless driving conviction, the driver could be fined up to $300 and spend anywhere between 10 to 90 days in jail. If they are convicted of a second offense, the fine is between $50 and $1,000, 10 days to six months in jail, or a combination of both. Reckless driving is not the same as careless driving. Careless driving isn’t as severe but could result in a misdemeanor as well. How to Report Reckless Driving in Colorado According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there were 574 fatal crashes in 2020. This number was up from the year before, with 545 fatal crashes in 2019. Reckless driving certainly plays a role in the number of fatalities on Colorado roads. You can call “CSP” or 227 from your cell phone to report a potentially reckless or impaired driver to a Colorado State Patrol dispatcher. When you speak with the dispatcher, be prepared to give them your exact location (as best you can), what direction and road the reckless driver is traveling on, and a description of the vehicle. You will also need to explain how the driver was maneuvering their vehicle and why you suspect they are reckless or impaired. Look for Signs of a Potentially Reckless or Impaired Driver It’s essential to know what to look for when spotting a reckless or impaired driver in Boulder. Common examples of reckless driving include: Tailgating; Racing other vehicles; Speeding excessively; Refusing to let other vehicles pass; Passing other cars illegally; and Ignoring traffic signals and other signs. Learn how to spot a driver who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some of the most common behaviors of someone driving drunk include: Weaving, drifting, or swerving; Appearing drunk, which could be visibly drinking in the car, eye fixation, or driving with their face close to the windshield; Responding slowly to traffic lights; Almost hitting an object or another vehicle; Driving well under the speed limit for seemingly no reason; Stopping without reason or braking erratically; Driving without headlights at night;   Turning abruptly; and Driving in more than one lane or with the left tires on the centerline. If you suspect someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, you should report them. It could save another motorist’s life. Any one of these actions could cause an accident, but when combined, it could be deadly. Contact a Boulder Car Accident Lawyer Today If you sustained injuries in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, you have rights. Contact Tenge Law Firm, LLC., to schedule a consultation. We have decades of experience assisting injured victims just like you recover the compensation they are entitled to following an injury accident. Let us help protect your rights and ensure the responsible parties are held accountable for your injuries.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Blog

What Is My Case Worth in Colorado?

If you sustained injuries in a personal injury accident, you are likely pursuing a claim to recover compensation from the negligent party. Understandably, one of the most common questions prospective clients ask is, How much is my personal injury case worth? Determining your case value can be complicated in some situations. That is why you need an experienced Colorado personal injury lawyer at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, who can help. To better understand what your case is worth, it’s essential to understand the factors that go into determining your case value. Injury Type and Severity One of the most important factors in determining case value is your injury type and severity. That means someone with a more severe injury in an accident will likely have a higher case value than someone with seemingly minor injuries. For example, an accident victim with brain damage and in the hospital weeks after the accident will have a higher value than someone with a sprained ankle that heals within a month. Cases involving victims with comparable injuries can still have very different resolutions. Imagine two victims who sustained a broken leg in similar accidents. In one case, the victim’s broken leg healed quickly with no residual pain complaints. The other victim had complications and will require additional surgery. The second victim’s case will likely be worth more than the first victim’s. Liability Liability plays a crucial role in determining your case value. Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state. That means you can still collect a portion of your damages even if you are partially at fault for your injuries. However, if you are 50% at fault or greater, you are barred from recovery. Your percentage of fault will reduce any potential settlement or jury award you receive. That means if a jury finds you 20% at fault, you could still collect up to 80% of your damages. However, if a jury finds you 55% at fault, you will collect nothing. Damages Your damages are the financial losses that you incurred as a result of the personal injury accident. They are both tangible and intangible. Your tangible losses are called economic damages. They include things such as your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, etc. All these items have corresponding dollar amounts that you can calculate.  Non-tangible damages are called non-economic damages. They consist of more subjective value items like your physical pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of consortium, and more. When determining a demand amount for your case, your attorney will calculate your economic and non-economic damages together. Contact a Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer Determining your case value can be challenging in some instances. You need a skilled Colorado personal injury lawyer who has the expertise to estimate your overall damages accurately. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, our legal team has decades of experience recovering compensation for injured victims just like you. If you need to pursue a personal injury claim in Colorado, let us help. We know all the tactics and tricks that insurance companies use to reduce the value of your claim.   Suppose you received a settlement offer from the other party’s insurance company. In that case, you should always review it with an experienced attorney before agreeing to resolve your case or signing a release of all claims.  Contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can assist you in a Colorado personal injury claim.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Wrongful Death

Average Settlement for Accidental Death in a Colorado Accident

After losing a loved one in a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed with the prospect of filing a wrongful death claim. You probably have several questions about the process, especially about the average wrongful death car accident settlement. While many sources claim to have accurate estimates for the average settlement, there are several aspects of wrongful death cases that they may ignore. Here is everything you need to know about the factors affecting your potential settlement and how our Colorado personal injury lawyers can help you pursue your claim. Is There an Average Settlement for Wrongful Death Claims in Colorado? Since most wrongful death cases have confidential settlements, it’s nearly impossible to determine an accurate average. While the average settlement amount for published cases may be easy to calculate, it doesn’t provide a realistic estimate. In addition, some cases may settle for as little as a few thousand dollars, while others may receive upwards of a few million. This not only greatly skews the average, but also shows that not all wrongful death cases follow the same pattern. Ultimately, the value of a wrongful death car accident settlement depends on the unique circumstances of the case. Elements of a Wrongful Death Car Accident Claim Much like any other personal injury claim, wrongful death requires the plaintiff to prove the liability of the defendant. There are different elements of proof that determine whether the plaintiff may seek damages, including: Duty of care, Breach of duty, Causation, and Proof of damages. Proving each of these elements may be difficult without the help of an experienced Colorado wrongful death attorney. This is why it’s important to seek legal representation as soon as possible in the claims process. Damages in a Wrongful Death Car Accident Settlement In Colorado, the law divides wrongful death losses into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Each category includes a variety of losses sustained by the family of the deceased. Economic damages refer to the actual financial losses related to the death. This typically includes things like funeral expenses, potential future earnings of the deceased, and more. In essence, economic damages must be tangible expenses with a standard economic value. There is also no limit to the amount of economic damages awarded in Colorado wrongful death cases. Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate than economic damages. These losses are intangible and subjective, including but not limited to: Emotional distress, Mental anguish, Loss of companionship, Loss of consortium, and Loss of support and guidance. Colorado is one of the few states that places a limit on non-economic damages for a wrongful death car accident settlement. The state adjusts the cap every two years based on inflation. The cap for accidents occurring between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, is $613,760. The only exception is for wrongful death cases arising from a felonious killing, such as manslaughter or murder. In cases like this, the damage cap does not apply. Contact Our Colorado Wrongful Death Attorneys No matter what the circumstances may be, wrongful death is incredibly devastating for families. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we believe that families who lose a loved one due to the negligence of another person deserve justice. Whether you need money to cover the deceased’s medical bills, funeral costs, or lost income, our attorneys fight for your family’s best interests.  If you lost someone you love to an accident or other incident, contact us online or call us at 303-665-2929. We offer free consultations to all potential clients and manage your case from start to finish. 

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Blog

Defining Motorized Bicycle Laws in Colorado

With the popularity of motorized bicycles on the rise, it’s becoming more common to see individuals involved in motorized bicycle accidents. Despite being a relatively new form of transportation, Colorado has a law distinguishing motorized bikes from other types of vehicles. Here is everything you need to know about Colorado motorized bicycle laws and what our personal injury attorneys can do if you get injured on a motorized bike. Motorized Bicycle Definition According to the Colorado DMV, a motorized bicycle is any vehicle with the following characteristics: Two or three wheels; An automatic transmission; and A cylinder capacity not exceeding 50cc OR a wattage not exceeding 4,476 watts. Most motorized bicycles and scooters fit into this category. Unlike motorcycles, motorized bicycles do not require a special license to operate. However, you need to register your motorized bicycle if you want to use it on public roads. Registration costs $5.85 for three years, and you must provide proof of insurance and proof of ownership. Are There Any Special Safety Requirements Under Colorado Motorized Bicycle Laws? Just like regular vehicles, there are certain safety precautions you must follow when riding a motorized bicycle. Under CRS 42-4-109, drivers of motorized bicycles must: Ride on the permanent seat attached to the bike; Carry only the amount of passengers specified by the vehicle manufacturer; and Avoid attaching their motorized bicycle to another vehicle on the roadway. Depending on the city, there may also be extra safety measures, such as headlights, reflectors, or the use of a horn or bell.  Can You Drive a Motorized Bicycle on the Highway? Motorized bicycles can only be used on city streets and in residential areas. They aren’t permitted on any highway, interstate, or limited-access road unless that road permits bicycles. While you must follow the same rules of the road in a motorized bicycle as a full-sized vehicle, there are a few differences. For example, under CRS 42-4-109(5), a motorized bicycle must ride “as close to the right side of the roadway as practicable.” However, you must obey all other traffic rules, such as stoplights, stop signs, speed limits, and directions.  What If I Get into a Motorized Bicycle Accident? If you sustain an injury in a motorized bicycle accident, you may be able to make a claim against the driver responsible. To do this, you must identify the person who caused the crash and file a claim with their auto insurer. During your claim, you may seek a variety of damages including medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages, and more. If the insurance company gives you any trouble during your claim, we highly recommend talking to one of our Colorado personal injury attorneys. Need Help Understanding Motorized Bicycle Laws in Colorado? Contact Us Today At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC., we understand how difficult it is to navigate Colorado motorized bicycle laws after an accident. We help clients who were injured due to someone else’s negligence pursue the compensation they need to recover after an accident. Unlike other injury firms that assign their cases to paralegals, we take a personalized approach. Our attorneys work directly with clients. We take the time to get to know you and the details of your situation because it gives us the best chances of getting you the money you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or give us a call. We proudly represent clients throughout Colorado from our offices in Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | Blog

Contributory Negligence and Comparative Negligence: What’s the Difference?

Outside of the legal world, not very many people are familiar with the concepts of contributory and comparative negligence. At first glance, you might even think that they are just two different words for the same thing. However, as anyone in the legal community would quickly tell you, they are not the same. In fact, understanding how comparative negligence and contributory negligence differ is critical in the civil claims process. A misunderstanding of these concepts could easily leave you confused during the pendency of your case.  At Tenge Law Firm we try to give our clients all of the tools necessary to understand and fully participate in the legal process. We find we get better results that way, so we put together this quick guide on contributory vs comparative negligence. Contributory Negligence vs Comparative Negligence Contributory negligence and comparative negligence are terms that describe the attribution of liability and its effect on recovery in a given legal claim. In other words, both terms represent different ways to figure out who is responsible for what damages, and to what degree? Different states use different rules to answer these questions. Colorado uses what we call a modified comparative negligence system.  Another name we give to these concepts is “fault systems.” So if you hear or read about “contributory fault” or “comparative fault,” know that the writer or speaker is referring to these same systems. Contributory Negligence Systems Some states use contributory negligence to determine who can recover damages in any type of personal injury case. In these systems, only a plaintiff who is entirely free from negligence and fault can recover damages. In other words, if your state operates under contributory negligence rules, then you cannot recover any damages at all if you are even 1% at fault for your injuries. You must have zero fault to recover damages from the other party. Colorado does not utilize contributory negligence. Comparative Negligence Systems In contrast, comparative negligence systems compare each party’s percentage of fault in their negligence assessment. Afterward, each party’s degree of fault corresponds with a reduction in the amount of damage they can claim.  To illustrate, consider the following car accident scenario. Imagine that party A is 75% at fault for an accident while party B is only 25% to blame. Party B can recover damages from party A, but they will see a 25% reduction in their overall recovery. Similarly, party A can claim compensation from party B, but their damage claim will be subject to a 75% reduction.  So if the total damages to party A equal $100,000, this amount would be reduced by 25%, and their actual recovery from party B would be $75,000. Keep this example in mind as we delve further into comparative negligence. Pure Comparative Negligence vs Modified Comparative Negligence States typically employ comparative negligence systems in one of two ways:  Pure comparative negligence systems; and Modified comparative negligence systems. In a pure comparative negligence system, regardless of how great a percentage of fault a party bears, if the other party is not 100% at fault, they can still recover some damages. Someone 95% to blame for an accident in a pure comparative fault system can still recover 5% of the damage they suffered. Colorado does not use pure comparative negligence. Instead, we use a modified comparative negligence system. In such modified systems, there is a maximum threshold of blame beyond which a claimant cannot recover damages. In Colorado, this maximum is 50%, but other states may use 40% or 51%. Because of this, someone who is 95% at fault for a car accident cannot recover any damages under Colorado’s modified comparative negligence rules. Nor could party A who was 75% at fault in the first outlined situation. Are You Ready to Recover the Damages You Deserve in Colorado? If you are ready to file a claim and recover the damages you are owed, Tenge Law Firm can help you from start to finish. If you have questions about modified comparative negligence liability, we can answer those questions for you. In situations where there are more than two plaintiffs, it isn’t always easy figuring out who is responsible for what damages. That’s exactly why we are here, and that’s exactly why we practice law. Our team is standing by to help you get the legal support you need with as little a hassle as possible. Contact Tenge Law Firm today for a consultation! We have offices in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins.

Continue Reading