Rocky Mountain Personal Injury LawyersPersonal Injury Law
Glossary of Terms

A glossary of legal definitions for the most commonly used personal injury law terms.

A Legal Dictionary for Colorado Personal Injury Law

If you’re going through a lawsuit, navigating the legal arena can sometimes feel like speaking a different language – especially if you’re unfamiliar with legal terminology.  Our personal injury lawyers have compiled a list of the most common phrases and words used in personal injury cases.  If you need help translating your personal injury case, reach out to Rocky Mountain Injury Law for a free consultation.


Accidents Involving a Minor

Any accident in which an individual under the age of 18 was injured and/or caused an injury. Personal injury law assumes that children do not have the same level of judgment that adults do, and has outlined special rules for compensation and liability in accidents involving them. 

For personal injury claims involving minors in Colorado, the court must approve the final settlement, and approve of a guardian to act on behalf of the minor in court (in addition to an attorney), as children are unable to file a lawsuit on their own behalf. 

In cases where the child causes damage to another person or property, the parent is held responsible due to Colorado’s parental responsibility law. However, there is a cap of $3,500 (per victim) that the parent can owe as a result of their child’s actions.

Amusement Park Injuries

Any injury sustained while visiting or working at an amusement park. Cases against amusement parks can be tricky, as it’s rare for a court to hold the amusement park liable, so long as reasonable care was exercised. 

The following factors are likely to be considered by the court when determining if reasonable care was taken: 

  • The age group intended for the ride or attraction
  • The rider’s own fault in causing the injury
  • Interference by third parties
  • Infractions of state inspection codes 
  • History of accidents on ride or attraction

However, levying a negligence case against an amusement park is far from impossible. Amusement parks are ultimately responsible for the actions of their employees. Any of the following could be considered negligence on the part of the park:

  • Not posting clear warnings that, for instance, pregnant guests or guests with blood pressure issues should not ride
  • Posting signs that do not adequately warn riders of the risks
  • Not properly training ride operators
  • Giving riders correct instructions
  • Neglecting to perform regular inspections

Premises liability and product liability can also potentially come into play. Due to the complexity of these cases, having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side is essential.

Bad Faith

The legal concept in which a party, typically an insurance company, acts in an intentionally dishonest or deceitful manner in relation to a contract or legal obligation. This can include failing to investigate or pay valid claims, hiding or altering evidence, or making false statements. There are also a lot of practices that some people consider to be implicit in the insurance process that can also be constituted as bad faith, like refusing to answer phone calls, emails, and messages. 

Examples of Bad Faith for insurance companies are:

  • Denying a claim without giving a reason
  • Failing to conduct a prompt and complete investigation
  • Offering less money than a claim is worth
  • Delaying or denying decisions on claims or request for approval for medical treatment
  • Refusing to pay a valid claim
  • Making threatening statements
  • Misrepresenting the law or policy language
  • Putting insurance company profits over a policyholder’s valid claim
  • Delaying the payment of a valid claim
  • Refusing reasonable requests for documentation
  • Failing to confirm, deny, or pay claims within a reasonable timeframe

These examples are not comprehensive. If you suspect that you may be a victim of insurance bad faith, contact Rocky Mountain Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation.

Bicycle Accident Injury

Any injury resulting from riding a bicycle. If the injury transpired as the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1412 states that cyclists have the same rights and duties as that of any driver of any other vehicle. 

Bicycle accident claims are typically handled by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and will often dispute your injuries, deny your claim, or even refuse to pay for your damages. Having a personal injury attorney on your side will help ensure that the insurance company pays what it needs to. 

Common bicycle accidents where the driver of a car is at fault include:

  • Failing to yield right of way to the cyclist
  • Reckless driving
  • Speeding 
  • “Dooring”- when a driver or passenger opens the door of a parked vehicle and strikes the cyclist
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Hitting the cyclist while turning

If you are the victim of a cyclist/vehicle collision, contact Rocky Mountain Personal Injury Attorneys. 

Boating Accident Injury

  • An injury sustained in an incident involving any sort of boat. These cases can be tricky to establish fault, as environmental conditions such as waves or wind can often cause these incidents. Such incidents can include:
    • Collisions between boats
    • A boat hitting a wave
    • A boat hitting another boat’s wake
    • A boat hitting a submerged object, rock, or land (running aground)

    In the case of a collision between two motorized boats, the operators will typically each be partly at fault. If you are levying a case as a boat operator against the other operator, you will have to be considered less at-fault than the other in order to recover damages. If you are a passenger who is injured in a boating incident, you may have a legal case against the operators of both boats. 

    In the event of a collision between a motorized boat and a sailboat, the motorized boat is almost always considered more at-fault than the sailboat, as safe boating practices require motorized vessels to yield to sailboats.

Bus Accident Injury

Any injury sustained in an incident on a bus. While they often happen for the same reasons as and have similar consequences to other motor vehicle accidents, bus accidents can be more complicated to litigate. 

Firstly, bus accidents have added safety risks. While the number of deaths, injuries, and property damage caused by bus accidents are significantly lower than the same caused by passenger car accidents (about 31 thousand to 4.7 million), they are by no means fool-proof. Their added height increases the likelihood of tipping or rolling over, and most do not have seatbelts, airbags, or other safety equipment. This, unfortunately, means that injuries are often much more severe when they do occur. 

Secondly, filing a claim often means bringing one against a public agency such as a city, school district, public transit authority, etc. This is usually more complicated than filing a claim with the insurance of another driver. You’ll need to file a written notice to the government owner or operator of your intent to file a claim.

Catastrophic Injury

An injury that results in permanent disability, significantly impairs a person’s ability to perform daily activities, and requires extensive medical treatment. These types of injuries can be life-altering and have a significant impact on the injured person’s quality of life. 

Catastrophic Injury Examples:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis
  • Severe burns
  • Amputations

These types of injuries often result in long-term or permanent loss of income and typically require ongoing medical care and rehabilitation. 

Compensation for catastrophic injuries may include damages for medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and loss of life enjoyment. Because of the significant impact that catastrophic injuries have on the lives of those who suffer them, these personal injury cases involving catastrophic injuries can be complex and require the expertise of experienced attorneys.

Class Action

A type of lawsuit in which a plaintiff or plaintiffs file a suit on behalf of themselves and as representatives of others. They are typically filed to hold a company accountable for the liability of its products. These lawsuits are different from Mass Tort lawsuits because it involved multiple plaintiffs grouped together in one lawsuit (see: Mass Tort). These plaintiffs typically share lawyers, court dates, evidence, and legal strategies. They will also share the settlement amount. 

Examples of class action suits you may be familiar with include:


A conservatorship refers to a legal arrangement where a court appoints a ‘conservator’ or a who acts as a protector or guardian to manage the personal and financial affairs of an individual who is unable to make decisions or handle their own affairs due to physical or mental incapacity.

The conservator is usually a trusted individual or professional entity, such as an attorney or a financial institution, who acts in the best interests of the incapacitated person, known as the ‘protected person.’

A conservatorship may arise in personal injury cases when the injured party suffers severe physical or cognitive impairments that prevent them from managing their financial matters, making legal decisions, or advocating for themselves. 

Some situations in which a conservatorship may be established include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury: If an accident causes a severe brain injury, resulting in cognitive impairment, memory loss, or the inability to make sound decisions, a conservatorship may be necessary to manage the person’s finances, medical care, and legal matters. 
  • Spinal Cord Injury: A catastrophic spinal injury that leads to paralysis or significant physical limitations may require a conservator to handle the individual’s financial affairs, including managing disability benefits, medical bills, and negotiating settlements. 
  • Elder Abuse or Neglect: In cases where an elderly person suffers from physical or mental impairments due to personal injury, such as nursing home abuse or neglect, a conservatorship may be established to protect their interests and ensure proper care. 
  • Severe Disabilities: Personal injuries resulting in severe disabilities, such as amputations or other permanent impairments, may necessitate a conservatorship to assist with managing finances, accessing disability benefits, and overseeing medical treatment. 

The primary goal of conservatorship is to safeguard the well-being and assets of an incapacitated individual, ensuring that their interests are protected and their affairs are managed responsibly. The court oversees the conservator’s actions and may require regular reporting to ensure accountability and transparency.

Contingency Fee

A contingency fee refers to a payment arrangement between a client and their attorney, where the attorney’s fees are contingent upon the successful outcome of the case. Instead of charging an upfront retainer or hourly fees, the attorney agrees to receive a percentage of the compensation or settlement awarded to the client if the case is successful. If the case is not successful, the attorney typically does not receive any compensation for their services.

Contingency fees are often used in personal injury cases to provide access to legal representation for individuals to pursue their claims without worrying about the financial burden of attorney fees during the litigation process. 

It is essential to discuss and agree on the specific percentage and terms of the contingency fee arrangement with your attorney before proceeding with legal representation. This agreement should be detailed in a written contract that outlines the responsibilities of both the client and the attorney. 

Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney will provide you with a clear understanding of how contingency fees apply to your specific case and help you navigate the legal process without upfront financial strain.


Discovery refers to the pre-trial phase where both parties involved in a lawsuit gather and exchange relevant information and evidence related to the case. The purpose of discovery is to ensure transparency and provide each party with a fair opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing side’s claims and defenses. It allows both parties to gather facts, witness statements, documents, and other evidence necessary to support their arguments and prepare for trial. 

Some types of commonly used discovery methods include:

  • Interrogatories: Interrogatories are written questions posed by one party to the other, and the opposing party is required to respond in writing. These questions aim to elicit specific information about the case, such as details about the incident, the extent of injuries, medical treatments received, and potential witnesses. 
  • Depositions: Depositions involve sworn out-of-court oral testimonies given by witnesses, parties, or experts involved in the case. Attorneys from both sides have the opportunity to ask questions and record the responses. Depositions help attorneys assess the credibility and knowledge of the witnesses and gather additional information relevant to the case.
  • Expert Witness Disclosure: Both sides may be required to disclose the names and qualifications of any expert witnesses they plan to present at trial. This allows the opposing party to assess the expert’s credentials and prepare for potential challenges or rebuttals.  
  • Inspections: A party may request access to inspect certain premises, vehicles, or other physical objects relevant to the cse. This allows for firsthand examination and documentation of evidence that may impact the outcome of the lawsuit. 

Discovery plays a crucial role in ensuring a fair and informed litigation process. It allows both parties to gather relevant information, assess the strength of their claims or defenses, and facilitate settlement negotiations. Properly conducted discovery helps uncover facts, clarify issues, and promote the pursuit of justice in personal injury cases.

Dog Bite Injury

Any injury resulting from a dog bite. Colorado’s dog bite statute states that a person who sustains a serious bodily injury or death after being bitten by a dog while lawfully on public or private property is entitled to bring a civil case against the owner of the dog. As a strict liability state, the injured victim can recover damages from the owner of the dog regardless of whether the owner was negligent or knew the dog could be dangerous. 

There is a strict time limit on the victim’s right to file a lawsuit for a dog bite injury. In most cases, you will have no longer than two years from the date of the attack to file a personal injury claim. The potential exception is for an injured minor, wherein the minor typically has two years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a claim. Missing the deadline almost always results in losing the right to recover damages from the dog’s owner. If you have sustained a dog bite injury, don’t wait. Schedule a free consultation with Rocky Mountain Injury Lawyers today.

DUI Accident Injury

Any injury sustained in an accident caused by a driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. From a legal perspective, the settlement procedure will be essentially identical to that of any other car or vehicle accident. Even if you did not directly cause the accident, being under the influence will likely make you partially at-fault. 

Governmental Immunity Act

The Governmental Immunity Act refers to a set of laws that provide immunity or limited liability protections to government entities and their employees in certain circumstances. The act recognizes that governments and their employees perform vital functions and aims to strike a balance between allowing individuals to seek compensation for injuries caused by government actions while also protecting the government from excessive liability. 

The Governmental Immunity Act may apply in in cases such as:

  • Slip and Fall on Government Property: If someone sustains injuries due to a slip and fall on a government-owned property, such as a public park or government building, they may be able to pursue a personal injury claim. However, the injured party must prove that the government  entity had actual or constructive notice of the hazardous condition and failed to take reasonable steps to correct it. 
  • Car Accidents Involving Government Vehicles: If a person involved in a car accident caused by a government employee driving a government-owned vehicle, they may be eligible to seek compensation. However, the injured party must demonstrate that the employee’s negligence, such as speeding or running a red light, caused the accident.
  • Medical Malpractice in Government Hospitals: If a person suffers harm due to medical negligence at a government-operated hospital or medical facility, they may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim. The Governmental Immunity Act generally does not shield government entities from liability in cases of medical malpractice. 

It should be noted that claims against government entities often have stricter notice requirements and shorter timeframes for filing lawsuits compared to claims against private individuals or entities. Failure to comply with these procedural requirements can result in the dismissal of the claim.

Gross Negligence

A lack of care that demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety of others. This is a more serious charge than ordinary negligence, as it implies an extreme neglect. It is typically considered to be purposeful behavior rather than simple thoughtlessness. If the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious, you may be entitled to punitive damages as well as compensatory damages in the case of gross negligence.

Examples of gross negligence include:

  • A doctor prescribing medication that is listed as a drug allergy on the patient’s medical records
  • Nursing home staff failing to provide food and water to a resident for multiple days
  • A surgeon amputating the wrong limb on a patient
  • Speeding through a street or parking lot with a lot of pedestrian traffic
  • A business selling a product they know is harmful
  • A carnival ride operator deciding not to conduct a scheduled safety inspection of the ride

If you have been a victim of someone else’s gross negligence, having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can make all the difference in bringing you justice.

Learn more about gross negligence here

Injury from Assault

Injury from assault refers to physical harm or injury suffered by an individual as a result of an intentional act of violence committed by another person. Assault involves the intentional threat or use of force against someone, causing them to fear imminent harm or causing actual physical injury. When the assault occurs, the injured party may have legal grounds to pursue a claim for compensation for their injuries and related damages. 

Examples of injury from assault cases include:

  • Physical Altercations: If an individual is involved in a physical altercation, such as a bar fight or assault on the street and sustains injuries as a result, they may have a personal injury claim. This can include injuries like broken bones, bruises, lacerations, or other physical harm caused by the assault.
  • Domestic Violence: Domestic violence situations, where one family member commits violence against the other, can result in injuries that warrant a personal injury claim. These injuries can include physical harm, such as cuts, bruises, fractures, or more severe injuries caused by physical abuse or assaults within the domestic setting.
  • Workplace Violence: In cases where an employee is assaulted by a coworker or a third party while on the job, resulting in physical injuries, the injured party may have a personal injury case. The injured party may seek compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
  • Assault and Battery: Assault and battery cases involve intentional acts of physical violence or harmful contact. For instance, if an individual is purposefully struck, punched, kicked, or attacked by another person without provocation resulting in injuries, they may have a personal injury claim against the assailant. 

It’s important to note that criminal charges may also be pursued against the perpetrator of the assault, depending on the circumstances and severity of the incident. However, a personal injury claim seeks to compensate the victim for the damages they have suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

Injury Due to Landlord Negligence

Injury due to landlord negligence refers to harm or injury suffered by a tenant or visitor on a rental property as a result of the landlord’s failure to meet their duty of care. Landlords have a legal obligation to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition and address potential hazards or dangerous conditions that could cause harm to tenants or visitors. 

Some examples of injury cases due to landlord negligence include:

  • Slip and Falls: If a tenant or visitor slips and falls on a wet or icy surface due to landlord’s failure to maintain safe walking areas, such as neglecting to clear snow or repair a leaking pipe, the injured party may have a claim for compensation. 
  • Hazardous Conditions: If a tenant sustains injuries due to hazardous conditions that the landlord failed to address, such as broken handrails, faulty electrical wiring, or exposed sharp edges, the landlord may be held liable for their negligence. For example, if a visitor cuts themselves on a broken glass door that the landlord knew about and failed to repair, the injured party may have a personal injury claim.
  • Security Negligence: Landlords may be responsible for providing reasonable security measures to protect tenants from foreseeable criminal acts, such as installing functioning locks, proper lighting, or security cameras. If a tenant becomes a victim of assault or robbery due to inadequate security measures, the landlord may be held liable for negligence in maintaining a safe living environment. 
  • Toxic Mold or Asbestos Exposure: If a tenant develops health problems or suffers respiratory issues due to the presence of toxic mold or asbestos in the rental property, and the landlord knew or should have known about the hazard but failed to address it, the injured party may have a claim for compensation. In such cases, the landlord’s failure to address the hazardous condition may be considered negligent. 

In order to successfully pursue a personal injury claim due to landlord negligence, it is essential to establish that the landlord owed a duty of care, breached that duty through their actions or inaction, and that the breach directly caused the injuries and resulting damages.

Lost Wage Claims

Lost wage claims refer to the compensation sought by an injured individual for the income they have lost or will lose as a result of their injuries. When someone is injured due to negligence or wrongful actions of another party, they may be entitled to recover not only their medical expenses and pain and suffering but also the wages they would have earned if the injury had not occurred. 

  • Absence from Work: If an individual sustains injuries that require them to take time off from work to recover, they may be entitled to compensation for the wages lost during their absence. For instance, if a person is involved in a car accident and suffers injuries that require two weeks of medical leave, they can seek reimbursement for the wages they would have earned during that period.
  • Reduced work Hours: In some cases, an injury may result in a person’s ability to work reduced hours or perform only lighter duties, leading to a decrease in their income.  If a doctor restricts an injured person’s work hours or duties due to the injuries sustained, they may seek compensation for the reduction in wages resulting from the reduced work capacity. 
  • Loss of Earning Capacity: In more severe cases, the injuries sustained may have a long-term or permanent impact on the individual’s ability to earn income. If the injury significantly impairs their earning capacity, they may  be eligible for compensation for the future income they will lose as a result of their diminished ability to work. This may involve factors such as the person’s age, education, work history, and the impact of their injury on their future career prospects. 
  • Self-Employment of Business Losses: In cases where an injured person is self-employed or owns a business, they may seek compensation for the income lost as a direct result of the injury. This can include both the immediate loss of income during recovery and any ongoing negative impact on the business due to the injury. 

To support a lost wage claim, it is important to provide the necessary evidence of the income the individual would have earned had the injury not occurred. This may include pay stubs, tax returns, employment records, or expert testimony from vocational or economic experts to establish the value of the lost wages. 

Mass Tort

A civil wrongdoing that harms or injures multiple plaintiffs, typically on a large scale. Unlike a class action suit, mass torts are not single cases. Rather, they are groupings of individual lawsuits alleging the same issues against the same defendant(s). In the eyes of the court, each plaintiff is independent of the others. Thus, the recovery that each plaintiff receives is determined by the court to reflect the extent of each plaintiff’s damages. 

Common types of mass tort lawsuits include:

  • Injury due to dangerous drugs
  • Injury due to defective medical devices
  • Injury due to other defective products
  • Injury due to mass disasters and toxic conditions

Learn more about Mass Tort here.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

The point at which an injured person’s medical condition has reached a state of stability and is not expected to improve significantly with further medical treatment. 

Determining MMI is crucial in personal injury cases as it affects the calculation of damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Once MMI has been reached, an injured person’s doctors will assess their level of permanent impairment, the extent of any disability, and ongoing medical care required. 

Reaching MMI is not an indication that the injured person has fully recovered or regained their pre-injury function. Rather, it signifies that they have achieved the maximum level of improvement possible. Any further medical treatment will be designed to manage symptoms, prevent further deterioration, and maintain the person’s level of quality of life.

Medical Liens

A legal claim by a healthcare provider or facility against a settlement or judgment of award of a personal injury lawsuit. This lets medical treatment and healthcare professionals treat the patient with the understanding that they will be paid when the case is resolved. 

Medical liens are a great way to receive care when cash or health insurance policies will not cover everything. Thus, they can be an important tool for injured parties who cannot afford medical treatment after an accident, but they can also complicate the settlement process. It’s important for personal injury attorneys to consider and negotiate medical liens in order to maximize the settlement amount for their client.

Mold Poisoning

A type of injury/illness caused by exposure to toxic mold. The inhalation of mold spores and mold particles can often trigger an allergic reaction. Furthermore, exposure to toxic mold can cause respiratory problems, flu-like symptoms, headaches, and skin irritation. The removal of mold typically requires the destruction of all infected materials, like sheet rock, floorboards, and furniture. If medical treatment is needed, this will be included in the damages. 

Typically, mold lawsuits are filed against parties such as:

  • A landlord who knew or should have known about mold 
  • A business or public building where mold injuries occurred
  • A contractor or construction company who were negligent in their construction of the property (using improper materials, knowledge of the mold problem, etc). 
  • An insurance company who did not properly cover repairs, leading to a mold infestation

If you have suffered an injury or illness due to exposure to toxic mold, contact Rocky Mountain Injury Attorneys to see what damages you can recover. 

Multi Car Accidents

A car accident involving three or more cars. Insurance claims for these accidents are often difficult, as determining liability is tricky. Colorado’s fault-based insurance law is used to determine liability, and says that the driver or person most at fault for causing the crash will pay for the damages using their liability coverage. Often, an investigation will need to occur. 

What to do following a multi-vehicle crash
    • Document everything – Take pictures, write down your police report number, and ask for eyewitness contact information. Write down everything you remember as soon as possible, as you will start to forget the details quickly. 
    • Hire an attorney – These accidents are complicated, and insurance companies will try to avoid paying out for damages. We have the experience and the know-how to make sure you are not taken advantage of. 
  • Do not work with the insurance company – They may deny liability or delay the claims process. Do not give a recorded statement or sign a release of liability waiver until you’ve spoken with your attorney. 

Even if you are partially at fault, you can still recover some financial compensation for damages. Colorado’s comparative negligence law means that as long as your fault is less than the combined fault of all of the defendants, you can receive compensation reduced by your percentage of fault. To see what damages you can potentially recover, reach out to Rocky Mountain Personal Injury Lawyers today. 

Negligence vs Negligence Per Se

Negligence refers to a legal concept that establishes a duty of care owed by one party to another, and the failure to meet that duty, resulting in harm or injury to the other party. Negligence forms the basis of many personal injury claims, where the injured party seeks compensation for the damages caused by the negligent actions or omissions of another party.

To establish negligence in a personal injury case, the following elements must generally be proven:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant (the party being accused of negligence) must have owed a legal duty of care to the injured party. This duty typically arises from the relationship between the parties or the specific circumstances of the case. For example, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws, and property owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment for visitors. 
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant must have breached their duty of care by acting or failing to act in a manner that a reasonably prudent person would have done in similar circumstances. This involves showing that the defendant’s conduct fell below the standard of care expected in that situation. For instance, if a driver who runs a red light or a property owner who neglects to fix a hazardous condition may be considered to have breached their duty of care. 
  • Causation: There must be a direct causal connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. It must be demonstrated that the defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of the harm. This means that the injuries would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s actions or omissions.  
  • Damages: The injured party must have suffered actual damages, whether they are physical injuries, emotional distress, property damage, or financial losses, as a result of the defendant’s negligence. These damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related losses. 

Examples of negligence in personal injury cases can include: 

  • Car Accidents: A driver who fails to yield at a stop sign and causes a collision resulting in injuries to another driver.
  • Slip and Falls: A store owner who neglects to clean up a spill or fails to provide adequate warning of a hazardous condition, leading to a customer slipping and injuring themselves.
  • Medical Malpractice: A healthcare professional who fails to follow accepted standards of care during a surgical procedure, causing harm or injury to the patient.

Examples of instances that may not constitute negligence in personal injury cases include:

  • Accidents with No Fault: In some cases, accidents may occur due to unforeseen circumstances or factors beyond anyone’s control, such as sudden mechanical failure of a vehicle. In such instances, proving negligence may be challenging. 
  • Intentional Acts: Personal injury claims are typically based on negligence rather than intentional harm. If a person deliberately causes harm or injury to another, it may be considered an intentional tort rather than negligence. 

Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate the specific circumstances of your case can help determine if negligence exists, advise you on your legal rights, and guide you through the process of pursuing a personal injury claim.

Negligent Entrustment

A legal concept that holds a person or entity responsible for negligently providing someone else with a dangerous object that causes injury to a third party. This can be someone loaning a car to an individual with a history of reckless driving, leading to that individual causing an accident. In this case, the owner of the vehicle could be held liable for negligent entrustment. 

To prove negligent entrustment, the injured party must show that the person or entity entrusted the dangerous object to the person who caused the injury and that the person or entity knew that the person was likely to use it in a way that would create unreasonable harm to others. 

Negligent entrustment is applicable to a wide range of situations, including loaning a firearm to someone known to be a danger to themselves or others, allowing an intoxicated individual to drive a vehicle, or allowing an unlicensed person to operate heavy machinery. 

Pain and Suffering Damages

Also called “non-economic damages,” these are damages that can be recovered for trauma, or general suffering. For instance, if a person loses both of their legs in an accident, the economic damages would be meant to cover medical expenses, wheelchair purchases, etc. In this case, the victim would also be able to recover non-economic damages for the trauma of their injuries and loss of quality of life. An example of pain and suffering damages without a physical injury would be losing a spouse or child.

Though each pain and suffering dispute is different, potential things you may need to pay in court could be:

  • You received treatment for physical pain from a medical professional. 
  • You received psychological treatment from a mental health professional
  • Your body was subject to permanent disfigurement
  • You have lost the ability to do things that impact your happiness and quality of life

Don’t let your physical and mental wellbeing be deprioritized. We are the lawyers who listen and we want you to receive appropriate compensation for your pain and suffering. Learn more about Colorado pain and suffering damages personal injury law. 

Permanent Impairment Rating (PIR)

A medical evaluation that assesses the extent of a person’s permanent impairment, physical or mental, resulting from an injury. The PIR is expressed as a percentage, with higher percentages indicating a more severe impairment. 

The PIR is typically assigned after the injured person has reached MMI (see entry for Maximum Medical Improvement). The PIR considers factors such as pain, range of motion, loss of sensation, and functional limitations to determine the level of permanent impairment caused by the injury. 

The PIR is an essential component of determining the amount of compensation an injured person may be entitled to for their injuries. It can be used to calculate damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. It is not a direct measurement of the severity of someone’s pain or ability to perform daily activities. Rather, it is a standardized way of quantifying the physical or mental effects of an injury that could have long-term consequences on the injured person’s quality of life.

Premises Liability

A form of negligence action that holds owners of land responsible for injuries occurring on their property. These can include things like slip and falls, dog bites, falling from a deck/porch, among many others. Essentially, any personal injury sustained due to the negligence of the property owner could fall under premises liability. The types of damages a person can receive depends on the legal status he or she was at the time of the accident. 

There are three legal statuses:

  • Trespasser – Eligible only for damages willfully or deliberately caused by the property owner. 
  • Licensee – Eligible only for damages caused by the property owner’s failure to use reasonable care concerning dangers he or she knew about OR the property owner’s unreasonable failure to warn of dangers they did not create and are not ordinarily present on the property.
  • Invitee – Eligible only for damages caused by the landowners failure to use reasonable care to protect against dangers they actually knew about or should have known about.

If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of a property owner, contact Rocky Mountain Personal Injury attorneys to see how premises liability can help your case.

Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants an individual (known as the “principal”) the authority to appoint another person (the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent”) to make decisions and take actions on their behalf. This legal arrangement is particularly relevant in personal injury cases when the injured individual is unable to handle their own legal and financial matters due to their injuries or incapacitation. 

Instances in which a power of attorney may be sought out include:

  • Medical Decision Making: If an individual suffers severe injuries that render them unable to make medical decisions, they can grant a power of attorney to a trusted family member, friend, or attorney to make medical choices on their behalf. The appointed agent can consult with healthcare providers, give consent for medical procedures, and make decisions regarding treatment options. 
  • Financial Matters: In personal injury cases where the injured party is unable to manage their financial affairs, such as paying bills, assessing bank accounts, or handling insurance claims, a power of attorney can be utilized. The appointed agent can act on the injured individual’s behalf to manage their finances, file insurance claims, negotiate settlements, and handle other related matters. 
  • Legal Representation: In some situations, an injured individual may be unable to actively participate in their personal injury lawsuit due to their physical or mental condition. By granting a power of attorney, the injured party can authorize their attorney-in-fact to act as their legal representative, including signing legal documents, attending court hearings, and making litigation related decisions. 
  • Property Management: If an individual is injured and unable to manage their property or real estate, they can designate a power of attorney to handle property-related matters. This included buying or selling a property, paying mortgages or property taxes, and managing rental properties on their behalf. 

It is important to note that a power of attorney can be limited or board in scope, depending on the specific needs and preferences of the principal. It is crucial to carefully select a trusted agent and clearly define the powers granted in the power of attorney document.

Product Liability

The legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of a defective or dangerous product for injuries caused by that product. These claims arise when a product is found to be defective, unreasonably dangerous, or lacking proper warnings/instructions for safe use. Defects can be related to the design or the manufacturing of the product. 

Product liability cases can be based on strict liability or negligence. In strict liability cases, the injured person does not need to prove that the manufacturer or seller was negligent, only that the product was defective and caused their injury. 

In negligence cases, the injured person must prove that the manufacturer or seller was negligent in some way, such as by failing to adequately test the product or failing to provide adequate warnings.

Property Damage

The harm or destruction caused to a person’s physical property, rather than their body, as a result of an accident or intentional act of another property. Can refer to a car, home, personal belongings, or other property. 

In a lawsuit, the injured party, or the party whose property was damaged, can seek compensation for property damage in addition to compensation for any physical injuries or other losses. This can include the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property, as well as any lost value, depending on the extent of the damage.

Ride Share Injury

An injury sustained in a car accident involving companies like Uber or Lyft where passengers pay to ride in a driver’s private vehicle. These cases refer to passengers in a rideshare service rather than a driver who is injured in their car by an Uber/Lyft driver or the Uber/Lyft driver themself. Rideshare accidents are a bit more complicated. 

The driver’s personal vehicle is involved, but Uber and Lyft both insure their drivers when providing rides under certain circumstances. In other cases, the driver’s personal car insurance will take the case. These complexities are why having a personal injury attorney on your side will help ensure that you get the settlement you deserve.

Ski Injury

Any injury sustained while skiing or snowboarding. This can include:

  • Skier collisions
  • Snowboarder collisions
  • Ski lift accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Ski equipment failure
  • Ski area negligence, such as failure to mark proper trails

In Colorado, the ski patrol of the resort will typically investigate any accidents and complete any accident reports. These reports can be extremely valuable for your claim, so be sure to get a copy of it. In the case of collisions, the at-fault party will typically be a skier or snowboarder, while the ski resort may be at-fault in the case of an equipment failure. 

Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage

Also referred to as UM/UIM insurance coverage, Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage is meant to cover expenses in the event that you are hit by a driver who has no auto insurance (UM) or not enough coverage to pay for the damages/injuries they caused (UIM). 

Colorado does not mandate that drivers carry UM/UIM coverage, but does require insurance providers to provide consumers with the option, and makes it so that policyholders are immediately eligible for UM/UIM coverage equal to that of their bodily injury liability policy. 

These policies can be incredibly valuable, as they ensure that you will be able to collect from a provider in the event of an accident, even if the other party is uninsured, to pay for repairs, medical bills, and other accident-related expenses. If your UM/UIM coverage is still not enough to cover medical expenses, you may still be able to recover damages in court through a personal injury claim.

Wrongful Death

A loss of life caused by another party’s negligence. These cases are usually filed by the families or loved ones of the victim. In Colorado, a wrongful death action must be filed within two years of the victim’s death. Both economic and non-economic damages can be recovered in a wrongful death suit. 

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Colorado?

The spouse of the deceased or designated beneficiary can file this at any point within the two years, while the children/heirs of the deceased must wait until the second year if there is a spouse of the deceased, unless given permission by the spouse. Parents can file a claim for wrongful death if there is no spouse, children, or designated beneficiary.

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