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What's the Process for a Car Accident Case in Colorado? What Steps Should I Expect?

Posted by Michael P. Kane | Apr 18, 2024 | 0 Comments

Getting hurt in an auto accident impacts every aspect of your life. First and most importantly, you're injured and need medical care. And depending on how seriously you're hurt, that care can include hospital stays and long-term rehabilitation. But what are the steps for bringing a car accident claim in Colorado and what can you expect if you hire a lawyer to represent you or your family during that process?

Pre-litigation phase. This phase starts with an initial investigation. Your attorney will get the police report, order the scene photographs, send letters to the insurance companies, and start looking into the at-fault driver's background. This phase also includes talking with your medical providers to get an idea of how long the recovery process will take and when you can expect to be at maximum medical improvement (MMI). 

The pre-litigation phase is where your lawyer starts to build your case. The best personal injury attorneys treat every case as if it were going to court and should act accordingly. That includes talking to potential expert witnesses, researching all available sources of recovery, and preparing to file a lawsuit if necessary. 

Once you're recovered enough to know what your long term prognosis is, your lawyer will likely begin negotiations with the bodily injury liability insurance company. Depending on what the at-fault driver's insurance coverage is compared to your injuries and damages, the case may resolve with a pre-litigation settlement. However, if the insurance company doesn't offer fair value, your case will proceed into the next phase: litigation.

Litigation phase. This phase starts with filing a legal document called a complaint. The complaint details the facts of your case and the legal claims your lawyer brings on your behalf. The judge will set deadlines for your case and give you a trial date (in Colorado, the trial is typically set about a year out from the date you filed your case). Litigation includes exchanging documents, taking depositions (lawyers asking questions of parties or witnesses under oath) and mediation (formal settlement conference). Most cases resolve or settle during the litigation phase. However, if the insurance company still won't offer fair compensation for your injuries, the trial phase is next.

Trial phase. This is what most people think about when they take their case to court and may have seen on tv. But, trials take much longer than a 45-minute show or 2-hour movie. Trials can last anywhere from two days to a month or more depending on the type of case. This phase includes each side presenting evidence to a jury and the jury deciding fault and damages (how much money to allow the plaintiff). If your case ends up here, we strongly recommend hiring a lawyer with experience in the courtroom and is someone who loves trying cases to juries. It can be stressful so you'll want to make sure your attorney enjoys the process and will explain what to expect each step of the way. 

Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney will help make the entire process as smooth as possible for you so you can focus on healing while recovering full value for your injuries. If you or a family member is hurt and has any questions about what to expect, please contact Kane Trial Law at 303-919-7777 for a free consultation.   

About the Author

Michael P. Kane

Mike Kane is a Colorado personal injury attorney specializing in car accidents, truck accidents and catastrophic personal injury litigation. He also represents victims of sexual assault against institutions and individuals. Mr. Kane, a third-generation lawyer and Colorado native, is a former US Marine who served a tour in support of Operation I...

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