Colorado’s Comparative Fault Rules
In many injury cases, an injured person may seek compensation, only to have the individual or company responsible turn around and blame the injured person for the accident (alleging partial or total fault). Colorado has a comparative fault rule that applies when an injured person is does in fact share some amount of legal fault for an accident.
Colorado uses a “modified” comparative fault rule, which works like this: suppose that you are shopping in a grocery store one day. You’re not watching where you’re going, so you trip on a broken floor tile before you notice it’s there. Eventually, it is determined that your percentage of the fault is 10 percent, and the store’s is 90 percent.
In this situation, Colorado’s modified comparative fault rule reduces your damages award by 10 percent. So, if your total damages are $1,000 for the slip and fall accident, you would receive $900, or $1,000 minus $100 that represents the 10 percent of fault assigned to you. As long as your fault is under 50 percent, you can collect a reduced damages amount; if your fault is calculated at 50 percent or more, however, you will be barred from collecting anything from any other at-fault party.
Colorado courts are required to apply Colorado’s modified comparative fault rule in negligence cases. Don’t be surprised, however, if an insurance adjuster also mentions the possibility of shared fault during settlement negotiations.
Colorado Car Insurance Laws
Since 2003, Colorado has been a “fault” insurance state. If you’re injured in a car accident in Colorado, you have several options if you want to seek compensation. These include filing a claim with an insurance company and/or filing a lawsuit in court. Colorado’s insurance and injury laws have some built-in flexibility that you can use while negotiating for an insurance settlement.