| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury

What Is a Reasonable Settlement Amount for Pain and Suffering in Colorado?

After sustaining an injury, the pain and suffering that you go through is very real. Even though it can be hard to measure, you can seek compensation for it following an accident.  Lost wages and medical bills are forms of economic damages. They are tangible, have a precise monetary value, and are easily proven in court.  Unlike medical bills and lost wages, however, pain and suffering is a form of noneconomic damage. Noneconomic damages are intangible and, notably, lack a precise dollar value. Nevertheless, noneconomic damages are just as relevant as economic damages in civil litigation.  If you are filing a claim for civil damages, you should always account for any pain and suffering you experience. Because pain and suffering is a form of noneconomic damage, however, it is hard to know how much your pain and suffering is worth. Tenge Law Firm is here to break down some pain and suffering settlement examples, so you will know how much a reasonable settlement for pain and suffering is before you file your claim. When Can I Sue for Pain and Suffering Damages? Before estimating the value of your pain and suffering damages, you should first know what qualifies as pain and suffering in Colorado. Pain and suffering includes physical pain as well as mental anguish that you suffer as a result of the incident or injury. If the accident or injury in question causes such suffering, you can include pain and suffering damages in your claim. Establishing Pain and Suffering To recover pain and suffering damages you must show that the cause of your pain and suffering is the injury or incident itself. For example, if your pain and suffering stems from a car accident, you need to prove that the car accident caused the pain and suffering. You can prove your suffering with the help of a medical or mental health professional. Depending on how the incident is causing you pain and suffering, you might need to prove in court that: You received treatment for physical pain by a medical professional; You received psychological treatment from a mental health professional; You have lost a limb or your body was subject to permanent disfigurement; or You have lost the ability to do certain things that make you happy. The key, no matter what form of pain and suffering you are dealing with, is proving that the incident caused your suffering. Establishing something like losing a limb is often a bit more straightforward than establishing things like insomnia or anxiety, as the latter require a specific diagnosis. Opposing parties often try to argue that mental health issues were pre existing when claimants seek compensation for pain and suffering, but medical diagnoses will typically counter such claims. What Is a Reasonable Settlement for Pain and Suffering? The reasonable value of your pain and suffering settlement depends on your individual circumstances. The length of your suffering, the form it takes, and its intensity can all affect your settlement value. Furthermore, the total economic damages that you seek in your injury claim can also affect the value of your pain and suffering. Noneconomic damages frequently exceed economic damages and may be calculated by multiplying economic damages by a number between 1 and 5, depending on their severity. But at the end of the day, juries are given wide discretion in calculating awards for pain and suffering. They will evaluate all the evidence before them to calculate your award. Unlike economic damages, Colorado caps the amount of noneconomic damages you can recover in a given claim. With few exceptions, the cap on noneconomic damages in civil claims is roughly $500,000. Thus, most reasonable settlements for pain and suffering will not exceed $500,000. In specific circumstances, your noneconomic damages can exceed this cap, but Colorado courts apply a strict legal standard in such instances. If you believe your noneconomic damages might exceed the cap, it is crucial that you speak to an attorney right away.  Tenge Law Firm Can Help with Your Pain and Suffering Settlement While it is possible to estimate your pain and suffering damages’ value yourself, the best estimate you can get will come from an experienced personal injury attorney. The personal injury attorneys at Tenge Law Firm in Colorado are here to help you through the legal process and fight for all of the damages you suffered. We have offices in Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver, where our top priority is to fulfill all our clients’ needs. We have recovered more than $50 million for our clients in the last 7 years alone. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding all of your personal injury needs.

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Personal Injury

Colorado Personal Injury Laws & Statutory Rules

Whether you are in the Boulder, Denver, or Fort Collins area, injuries happen every day. In Boulder, we see quite a few bicycle-related injuries. In the Denver metro area, we see a lot of injuries caused by car accidents. Sometimes we injure ourselves and have to personally bear all of the associated costs. Other times, injuries happen through no fault of our own.  If someone else causes you an injury, you can hold them liable in civil court for the damages you suffer. Different states have different rules surrounding civil liability, so it is important for Coloradans to know Colorado’s rules on the matter. After an injury you may wonder, How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Colorado? Or, How is liability established in Colorado personal injury claims? If you have questions like these, you are in the right place. Read on for more information from Tenge Law Firm’s personal injury team.  Who Can File a Personal Injury Claim? In a general sense, anyone who suffers an injury due to someone else’s negligent or intentional actions can hold that person liable for damages. For a successful civil claim, the evidence the plaintiff puts forth must confirm their story. Unlike in criminal court, where the evidence must prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the evidence threshold in a civil case is lower. Civil claimants need only prove their story by a “preponderance of the evidence.” If a jury believes the plaintiff a mere 51% or more, their claim succeeds. Establishing Liability for Damages In legal terms, there are four things an injured party must show in order to establish liability for damages caused by negligence. Here, we will go through those four requirements. In doing so, we will use “plaintiff” to describe the injured party and “defendant” for the party who caused the injury. Duty of Care First, we must establish whether or not a duty of care existed between the defendant and the plaintiff at the time of the incident. A duty of care requires that someone acts with the attention and caution of a reasonable person when dealing with others. For example, all drivers owe a duty of care towards others on the road to drive reasonably safely, follow traffic rules, and avoid collisions. Alternatively, business owners owe a duty of care to customers legally in their store to provide a reasonably safe environment for conducting business. If a duty of care exists, the first requirement is met. Breach of Duty Once we establish a duty of care between the plaintiff and defendant, we need to assess whether the defendant breached that duty of care. In law, we use the “reasonable person standard” to assess whether someone’s actions breach a duty of care. The reasonable person standard is a four-part assessment. Juries assess whether: A reasonable person; Given all the faculties and capabilities of an ordinary person; Would have acted in the same way; Given the same or similar circumstances. If the answer to the fourth part of the question is “no”, the defendant has acted negligently and thus violated the reasonable person standard. Actual Harm Once the existence and violation of a duty of care are established, the next step is establishing that real damage occurred. Real damages include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are easier to prove than non-economic damages. In fact, without the existence of economic damages, proving non-economic damages is exceedingly difficult. Consider someone slipping and falling on a wet spot at the supermarket. If they visit the emergency room, proving economic damage is as easy as providing the medical bill. However, if the person who falls does not seek medical attention, they do not suffer economic damage. Even if that person suffers psychological distress due to the fall, proving that distress is difficult. Causation Finally, a plaintiff must establish causation in a personal injury claim. To do so, the evidence must show that the real damage occurred because of the breach of the duty of care. A plaintiff may suffer damages, but if those damages are not caused by the defendant’s breach of the duty of care, the defendant is not liable for those damages. If the evidence establishes that all four of these requirements are met, the plaintiff is entitled to damage recovery. Negligence Per Se in Colorado Sometimes in Colorado, a plaintiff can establish a defendant’s negligence in a separate but similar manner by showing negligence per se or presumptive negligence. If someone violates a law, regulation, or statute, and injures or otherwise damages someone else in the process, they are liable for the damage their actions cause. In other words, by breaking a law or regulation, Colorado law presumes those actions are negligent by default.  Colorado’s Statute of Limitations Statutes of limitations limit the amount of time after an incident that someone can file a legal action pertaining to that incident. Courts will throw out a legal claim filed after the statute of limitations expires. Colorado’s general statute of limitations for most personal injuries is two years from the date of the accident. However, if an injury is not immediately apparent and takes some time to discover, the clock doesn’t start running until after the victim discovers the injury. This is not the only statute of limitations relevant to personal injuries. The statute of limitations for property and personal injury damages caused by car accidents is three years from the date of the accident. Exceptions to Colorado’s Statute of Limitations There are a couple of exceptions to Colorado’s statute of limitations for personal injuries. The first exception applies to minors without legal representation and those who are mentally incompetent at the time of an accident. If someone is a minor, lacks legal representation, and suffers an injury before the age of 18, or, while mentally incapacitated—the statute of limitations only starts to run when they turn 18, gain a legal representative, or see their mental faculties restored. The next exception applies in cases where...

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accidents

What Is Considered a Serious Injury in a Colorado Car Accident?

You may hear people tell you that you should hire an attorney if you sustained severe injuries in a car crash. However, what is considered a serious injury in a car accident?  Serious injuries are ones that result in permanent damage, loss of a body organ or function, significantly limited use of a body part, fractures, disfigurement, spinal cord damage, brain injuries, and death. In these situations, retaining an experienced Colorado car accident attorney is extremely helpful. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, our practice focuses on Colorado auto accident claims. We have years of experience assisting injured clients just like you to recover the compensation they deserve in these accidents. Types of Accidents that Often Cause Severe Injuries There are numerous ways you could sustain a severe injury in a car accident. Some of the most common types of car accidents include the following. Rollover Accidents SUVs are especially prone to rollover accidents because of their high center of gravity when compared with smaller vehicles. Many rollover accidents involve the car flipping multiple times, resulting in severe injuries such as spinal cord injuries, broken bones, internal organ damage, etc. Side-Impact Crashes Side-impact crashes are typically known as T-bone collisions and occur when one vehicle makes an impact on the side of another vehicle. These accidents can leave victims with severe injuries since the side of a vehicle is typically not built to withstand the impact in the same manner as the front and rear of the car is. Head-on Collisions Head-on collisions often occur when a vehicle attempts to overtake another vehicle on a one-lane road, so they are going the wrong way. These collisions are very serious and pose an increased risk for fatalities for both front passengers and drivers in either vehicle. Other types of collisions can also result in severe injuries. If you were involved in any serious auto accident, contact the Tenge Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation. Understanding Brain Injuries in a Colorado Car Accident One of the most severe types of injuries in a car accident is a brain injury. Brain injuries are unfortunately quite common in car accidents. In some cases, symptoms of a brain injury might not appear for days or even weeks after an accident. Some people may not even be aware they have symptoms until they engage in everyday activities of work and life. These are all reasons why getting evaluated after an accident is so important. You may not even realize you have symptoms of a brain injury, but a doctor will. Symptoms of a Brain Injury in a Car Accident Brain injuries are classified as mild, moderate, or severe. A mild brain injury is one where there’s a loss of consciousness for under 30 minutes. Many traumatic brain injuries are mild, but some injured victims will experience symptoms for at least a year or more. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms There are multiple symptoms and signs of a mild brain injury. These symptoms include: Nausea, Coordination issues, Depression, Excessive sleep, Memory loss, Mood changes, Comprehension issues, Seizures, and Sensory issues. Many victims who have a mild traumatic brain injury will fully recover and enjoy their previous quality of life. Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms Victims who have a moderate to severe brain injury will experience symptoms right away or within several days. Symptoms include: Repeated bouts of nausea or vomiting; Confusion; Depression; Clear fluid that drains from your nose or ears; One or both dilated pupils; Difficulty walking or speaking; and Bouts of irritability or combativeness. In the most severe cases, the victim will be unconscious for an extended period of time. They may be in a coma or need to be in a medically induced coma to potentially stop further damage. Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries in a Car Accident There are several different types of brain injuries you can sustain during a car accident. Some of the most common brain injuries include: Concussion: Concussions usually cause a brief loss of consciousness and no permanent damage. However, multiple concussions can cause more significant damage over time. Contusion: A contusion is a bruise on a specific part of the brain which results from an impact. Hematoma: Hematomas are blood clots in the brain that develop when a blood vessel ruptures. Hematomas can be small, or they can enlarge and compress the brain. There are different names for clots depending on where they develop. For example, an epidural hematoma forms between the skull and dura lining, while a subdural hematoma is one between the brain and dura. Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Also called tSAH, this is bleeding into the area that surrounds the brain. This type of injury occurs when small arteries tear during the initial injury. There are other types of brain injuries that you might sustain during a car accident as well. Don’t assume that if your injury is not on this list, we cannot assist you. Contact Tenge Law Firm Today If you suffered a severe injury in a car accident, don’t attempt to handle your claim alone. Let the skilled legal team at the Tenge Law Firm assist you. To learn more about how we can protect your rights and help you fight for the compensation you deserve, schedule an initial consultation. Contact our office today, so we can review the facts of your case and advise you of the best course of legal action.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury

Tips to Follow After a Slip and Fall Accident

Slip and fall accidents are some of the trickiest situations in personal injury law. One reason for this is that they can happen most anywhere and to anyone. They are not very predictable and the weather doesn’t have to be icy, snowy or wet for an accident to take place. Most everyone will suffer a fall at some point in their lives and there’s a good chance it won’t be your fault when it happens. There is a level of safety that needs to be provided at homes, workplaces, and other public spaces to ensure people are not injured by a slip and fall accident. This is called premises liability. If you are injured on someone else’s property because they failed to make that space properly safe, then you could be entitled to compensation. Compensation in slip and fall accidents will usually cover medical expenses, loss of work while recovering, and more as it relates to the accident. What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident So what should you do if you or someone you love is injured in a slip and fall? Here are some personal injury law tips to help you. Seek Medical Attention Immediately Your health and well-being is the most important thing at this time. How long do you have to go to the doctor after a slip and fall accident? The only sensible answer to this question is as soon as possible, even if you do not believe you are injured. A slip and fall injury might not produce symptoms right away. You are going to need documentation of any injuries as soon as possible. If you suffered an injury, you are going to need a medical report to establish exactly how serious it is. Your medical records will serve as crucial evidence to support your claim. Report the Incident You should also report the incident to the manager, supervisor, homeowner or some other person in charge at the location of your fall. A landlord or business manager should take a written statement and provide you with a copy before you leave the scene.   Take Photos Always try to take photos of the location you fell and the area around it. You want to document the exact location with as much photographic evidence as possible. You also need to document the time and date of the accident. Additionally, be sure to photograph anything that could establish a cause for the accident. Follow Medical Advice Do not miss doctor’s appointments, and do exactly as your doctor tells you to. Otherwise, the defendant can attempt to blame you for your own condition. Missing doctor’s appointments in particular suggests that you were not seriously injured—even if you were in too much pain to go. Collect Info Document absolutely everything. You should collect all relevant info such as names, phone numbers, and addresses of witnesses or people involved. Write out a complete description of the accident while it is fresh in your mind. Keep a medical diary where you record your symptoms and the pain and suffering that you experience. Stay Off Social Media Don’t use any of your accounts until your compensation is already in your bank account. If you must use social media, don’t talk about your accident or upload any photos that make you look healthy.. Don’t accept friend requests from strangers, because an insurance adjuster will try to gain access to your accounts. Save Your Clothing and Shoes You should take the clothing and shoes you were wearing at the time of the accident and keep them in a safe place. They could be used as important evidence in the case at some point. Call an Attorney You should call an experienced premises liability lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Slip and fall cases are often difficult to prove, and you want to involve a professional as soon as possible.  Have your lawyers negotiate your claim for you. Remember, your lawyers cannot accept a settlement offer on your behalf unless you authorize them to. If they are experienced slip and fall lawyers, they almost certainly have a lot more experience negotiating claims that you do. Take advantage of their skills!  Remember: insurance adjusters are professional negotiators, and they are not your “good neighbor.” They are your adversary. At The Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we have been helping personal injury clients for nearly 30 years. We have the experience you need to seek the compensation you deserve. What to Do If You Slip and Fall in a Store  If you slip and fall in astore, take the following steps, in addition to those above: Identify any substance or obstacle that caused your accident. It might have been water on the floor, a banana peel, an uneven surface, merchandise left on the floor or something else. Do your best to identify it before you leave the scene of the accident. Request a copy of the store security video. You need to do this right away, because some shops erase their footage every 24 hours. Video footage can be very convincing evidence. File an incident report with the store. The store will almost certainly have a procedure for filing one. Be careful what you say, because the store is already your adversary. Read the report carefully, and sign it yourself if it is accurate. Make sure to obtain a copy of the incident report for yourself before you leave the store. If you’d like to learn more about personal injury law, or how we can help you with a slip and fall case, contact us today.

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