When people bring a legal case, they must show that the allegations are likely to be true. Different types of cases require different standards of proof. For instance, the prosecutor in a criminal case has the burden of proving the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor must also establish there is no reasonable conclusion to reach other than the defendant has committed the crime.
Car collision cases are civil lawsuits and require the plaintiff to meet a different burden of proof called preponderance of the evidence. Generally speaking, the evidence must show the at-fault driver was more likely than not negligent in the operation of a vehicle and is therefore responsible for the plaintiff’s harm. Meeting the burden of proof means four elements must be established.
- Duty of Care: A duty of care exists between two drivers because both are expected to keep their vehicles in safe conditions and operate them in accordance with traffic laws.
- Breach of Duty: A person breaches their duty by doing or not doing something the average person would do in similar circumstances. A driver can be found responsible for causing an accident if the average driver would have known their actions might cause an injury to someone else.
- Causation: Causation requires a plaintiff to show the at-fault driver’s breach of duty was the cause of their injury and losses.
- Damages: Damages refer to the economic and non-economic damages a victim sustains in an accident. In a car accident, common damages are medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Evidence Supporting a Colorado Car Accident Claim
To prove the above-elements by a preponderance of the evidence, there are standard pieces of information to collect. This information will be used to convince a jury the at-fault driver caused the victim harm and should be held responsible. The following is a non-exhaustive list:
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Witness accounts
- Expert testimony
- Photographs or videos from the accident scene
- Lost wages statements
The amount of evidence needed will depend on the circumstances surrounding the Colorado car accident. If, for example, it’s clear the at-fault driver broke a traffic law, the police report could be sufficient for proving breach of duty. If, however, the victim is partially at-fault, it will be necessary to collect evidence that proves why the other driver is more at fault.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Colorado utilizes a concept known as modified comparative negligence, whereby a plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault for the collision. In the event the plaintiff’s fault is greater than or equal to the combined fault of the at-fault driver, however, the plaintiff gets nothing. For example, if the injured driver is 40% responsible for a Colorado car accident, the potential recovery will be reduced by 40%.
Contact a Colorado Car Accident Lawyer Today
At Bowman Law LLC, we investigate claims immediately and thoroughly to find evidence to support liability. For more information, contact a Colorado Car Accident Lawyer at Bowman Law LLC today by calling 720.863.6904 or email us. We offer free consultations.
Owner and Managing Attorney
Jerry Bowman, J.D., M.A., Owner and managing attorney of Bowman Law LLC, takes his responsibility to the legal profession seriously and dedicates his time and effort to providing quality and competent legal representation to clients in Denver and throughout all of Colorado. He holds an MA in Political Science from Wayne State University and earned his law degree in two and a half years from Michigan State University College of Law.