Determining liability in a personal injury case and understanding how much the plaintiff can recover depends on the comparative negligence laws that govern the case. In Colorado, modified comparative negligence rules are used.
Modified comparative negligence rules state:
- Plaintiff cannot recover any compensation if they are at least 50% liable for the accident.
- Plaintiffs’ recovery is possible but will be reduced if they are more than 0% liable but no more than 49% liable for the accident.
- Recovery is possible and not reduced at all if the plaintiff is not liable.
Examples of Modified Comparative Negligence Rules
Let’s look at a few examples of how modified comparative negligence rules work:
- No recovery: You and another driver are both approaching a four-way stop, neither of you stops, and you hit each other in the resulting car accident. A jury determines that you and the other driver are both 50% liable for what happened because you were both engaging in unsafe driving behaviors. Because you are 50% liable, you recover nothing.
- Lessened recovery: You are speeding through a big rig’s blind spot when it merges into you and causes a truck accident. It is determined that your unsafe driving contributed to the accident, so you are given 20% liability and the trucker is given 80% liability. The truck driver cannot recover from you, but you can still recover from the truck driver’s insurer because your liability is below 50%. However, any recovery you obtain will be reduced by an amount equal to your liability percentage, which is 20%.
- Complete recovery: You are in a retail store and round an aisle corner, only to immediately slip and fall on a spill there. Store cameras show there were no warning signs in the area and that the spill was there for four hours without being cleaned. No liability is assigned to you at all. You can recover from the store without any reduction because your liability is 0%.
If you have more questions about how liability and Colorado’s modified comparative negligence rule will affect an injury claim you need to file, call (720) 491-3117 to connect with the attorneys of Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. We have offices in Broomfield, Loveland, and Longmont for client convenience.