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Liability

"Liability" is the legal term meaning fault. In order to prevail on your claim, you must show that some other person or entity is legally responsible for your damages. In some cases, like rear-end automobile accidents, liability is fairly clear. In other cases, the main fight occurs over which parties are at fault and therefore legally responsible for the harms and losses caused.

In many cases, the defendant will attempt to reduce his or her liability by blaming the plaintiff for the incident. This can have a severe impact on your case. Colorado follows what is known as a "modified comparative fault" scheme. Under this scheme, if the jury concludes the plaintiff was 50% or more at fault, the plaintiff recovers nothing. If the jury finds the plaintiff less than 50% at fault, the verdict is reduced by that amount. For example, if the jury awards $100,000.00 in damages but find the plaintiff was 25% at fault, the verdict is reduced by $25,000.00.

In an effort to reduce their costs, many insurance companies will blame the plaintiff even when liability against the defendant is clear under the "last clear chance doctrine." We have seen many cases where a defendant driver runs a red light or turns left in front of oncoming traffic and the insurance adjuster will arbitrarily assign 20% fault against the plaintiff claiming the plaintiff should have avoided the accident. Ultimately a jury decides, and not an insurance adjuster, whether the plaintiff should have been able to avoid the accident. If the defendant persists in this often unfounded defense, it has the potential to backfire against the defendant as jurors may resent the defendant's attempt to avoid responsibility.

Further complicating matters, defendants are allowed to designate additional "non-parties at fault" in an effort to reduce the defendant's liability. If this occurs, the jury will be asked to apportion fault between the defendant and any properly designated "non-party at fault." According to Colorado law, defendants are only responsible for their share of the damages. For example, assume the same $100,000.00 verdict mentioned above. Assume the jury again finds the plaintiff 25% at fault and finds a non-party 25% at fault leaving the defendant 50% at fault. Under this scenario, the plaintiff would recover $50,000.00 from the defendant driver.

Whenever it appears that liability will become contested, it is important to contact us as quickly as possible. The highly skilled lawyers at the Kaudy Law Firm will immediately initiate a comprehensive investigation to secure all favorable witnesses and testimony. It is important to do this near the time of the accident as memories fade and sometimes witnesses become difficult to find over time.

If you or a loved one has been hurt by the negligence of others, please call or email us today for a free case assessment. The Kaudy Law Firm is here to help.

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The Kaudy Law Firm LLC
333 W. Hampden Avenue,
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Englewood, CO 80110
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The Kaudy Law Firm, LLC, provides legal help to injured people and victims of insurance misconduct, including bad faith, in Denver, Colorado, and communities throughout the Denver metro area, Rocky Mountain region, Front Range, Eastern Plains, the Foothills, the Western Slope, I-70 and I-25 corridors, Denver County, Arapahoe County, Douglas County, Jefferson County, Adams County, Boulder County, Summit County, Eagle County, Pitkin County, El Paso County, Weld County and Larimer County, including the cities of Aurora, Broomfield, Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley, Colorado Springs, Lakewood, Littleton, Golden, Longmont, Loveland, Vail, Aspen, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Castle Rock, Parker, Highlands Ranch, Thornton, Brighton and Westminster.