Is Colorado a Comparative Negligence State?

Injury and Accident Law
Is Colorado a Comparative Negligence State?

The term “comparative negligence” is regularly used by insurance companies to decide who is at fault for a car accident. In comparative negligence cases, one person involved in the accident seeks compensation, whereas contributory cases prevent the plaintiff from receiving compensation. Other negligence laws, such as pure, slight, and gross negligence, either allow individuals to receive compensation or prevent them from receiving it at all. These laws can be confusing, especially for those who travel between states.

Many Colorado residents who find themselves in auto accidents wonder if the state is considered a comparative negligence state. According to law, Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning the insurance company that is reviewing the case may not entirely blame one driver. Liability can be shared between multiple people in these cases, and your insurance company may still reimburse you despite being the cause of the accident. In any case, after getting involved in a car accident, you should speak with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.

Modified Comparative Negligence Explained

A modified comparative negligence law means multiple people can be liable for an accident, and if you’re found to be over a certain percentage eligible, you cannot receive compensation. In Colorado, this cap is 49%, so if you’re at least 50% responsible for the accident, you cannot be reimbursed for the damages. In a standard comparative negligence state, you can be 99% responsible for the accident and still receive compensation.

There are no strict regulations for determining which party is at fault for a car accident. Each case is unique, and car insurance adjusters must make a decision after looking at several different factors. For example, if a driver was speeding through an intersection but had the right of way yet still hit a turning vehicle, the driver may only be 20% responsible for the accident and can receive compensation. There is no set determination for how much your award will be reduced, as no car accident is the same.

To prove the other party involved was more negligent than you were and to improve your odds of being awarded compensation, consider speaking with an attorney who can help you with your claim.

How Comparative Negligence Influences Personal Injury Claims

When resolving a car accident claim, your compensation will be reduced by an amount based on how much negligence you displayed. For instance, if you are found to be 25% at fault for the accident while the other party is 75%, your final compensatory award will be reduced by 25%. If your reimbursement was $50,000, for example, this would be reduced to $37,500.

Because of how this law works, it’s essential to hire a personal injury attorney immediately following your accident. Your compensation can be reduced significantly if you are found to be negligent, and if you’re unable to prove you weren’t as negligent as the judge decides, you may struggle to recover physically and economically. A qualified attorney can gather all relevant evidence, such as police reports or eyewitness testimonies, and build a case for you. This can help you ensure all of the compensation you deserve so your recovery process isn’t as overwhelming.


Q: Is Colorado a Modified Comparative Negligence State?

A: Yes, Colorado is considered a modified comparative negligence state. This means more than one party can be at fault for an accident, and they can all receive compensation after a thorough investigation. In Colorado specifically, someone who is at least 50% liable for a car accident cannot receive compensation, which is why this state is considered a modified type of comparative negligence state.

Q: Does Colorado Have Joint and Several Liability?

A: In most cases, Colorado does not use joint and several liability. This type of liability makes multiple defendants pay compensation after a car accident has occurred, but this only affects personal injury cases if:

  1. The victim won their case
  2. Multiple parties are found to be liable for the victim’s injuries.

However, in 1986, Colorado abolished these rules, with a few minor exceptions. The state still uses these laws when multiple defendants act together and hurt the victim.

Q: What Is the Difference Between Negligence and Gross Negligence in Colorado?

A: Negligence implies there was a thoughtless mistake or inattention that resulted in an injury. Gross negligence is a deliberate disregard for the safety of other people, which results in at least one party sustaining an injury. In other words, negligence occurs when someone fails to take precautions, whereas gross negligence is intentional. In both cases, you need a knowledgeable attorney at your side so you can navigate these complicated matters more easily.

Q: What Are the Three Types of Comparative Negligence?

A: There are three types of comparative negligence various states use: pure, modified, and slight or gross. Pure allows plaintiffs to earn compensation, even if they’re 99% responsible for the accident. Modified negligence, which is what Colorado uses, allows anyone who is less than 50% negligent to earn compensation. Slight or gross negligence is only practiced in South Dakota and assigns rewards based on the actions themselves.

Speak With a Personal Injury Attorney Today

The legal system in Colorado can be confusing to fully understand, as there are several different details and laws to abide by. Car accidents can be daunting and stressful to experience, and trying to understand the legal details while recovering from injuries provides an entirely new challenge. Because of the comparative negligence laws in this state, it’s common for many individuals to wonder how negligent they were, and many fear reduced or lost compensation. If you’ve been in a car accident in Colorado, we want to speak with you immediately.

Our staff at Cheney Galluzzi & Howard have represented several Coloradoans who were partially negligent in car accidents. We’ve fought to help these people earn some degree of compensation, as they may have struggled to achieve this alone. We’re prepared to assist you as well, and we hope you’ll inform us of your case so we can begin creating a defense. To learn more about comparative negligence or to schedule a consultation, contact our team today.

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Kevin Cheney

Attorney Kevin Cheney, an experienced personal injury lawyer based in Denver, Colorado, serves as the Managing Partner at Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, LLC. He specializes in personal injury and auto accident cases. His approach combines deep legal knowledge with a commitment to client advocacy. Education: Graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law, demonstrating early legal prowess and a passion for justice. Professional Associations: Active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and the Colorado Bar Association, contributing significantly to legislative and community initiatives. Experience: Extensive experience in handling complex personal injury cases, with a track record of securing substantial compensations for clients.

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