Every day, we wake up with the expectation that we will make it through the day unscathed. Whether driving to work, going for a run, or simply crossing the street, we trust that everyone around us will behave safely or at least do not anticipate that someone will act negligently and put us in harm’s way. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Every day, accidents happen that leave innocent people with serious injuries. These injuries cause physical pain and suffering and lead to financial burdens from medical bills and lost wages. If you are facing these challenges after a recent accident, you need the help of a Fort Collins personal injury lawyer.
At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, our injury attorneys have decades of combined experience fighting for the rights of accident victims in Fort Collins and throughout Colorado. We have proven success, recovering millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. When you hire an attorney from our firm, we will investigate your accident, gather evidence, and build a solid personal injury case to get you the compensation you deserve. We are sorry that you have to go through this challenging time and are driven to provide comfort and speedy results for you and your family to get you back on your feet.
Personal injury is a legal umbrella term for any injury to the body, mind, or emotions, as opposed to damages to property. It happens when someone else’s negligent or intentional act causes you harm. Because these scenarios can be so debilitating, the legal system is set to help balance the scales by providing victims with the opportunity to advance a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover for damages.
There are many types of personal injury cases that give rise to liability. Some of the most common include:
Because personal injury cases result in damages that you did not cause or could not have prevented, the goal of filing a personal injury lawsuit is to recover compensation that will make you “whole” again. This means being compensated for all the ways that your life has been impacted by the accident or injury, including:
The specific steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit will vary depending on the facts of the case and the jurisdiction in which it is filed, but there are some common steps that are usually involved.
The first step is an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer, during which you will discuss all facts in your case and decide whether to move forward with a lawsuit. This is a crucial step, as you will need to clearly understand the legal process and what to expect before moving forward. Making a decision together with a strategic and experienced personal injury lawyer will help ensure that you are taking the best possible course of action for your case.
If you decide to move forward, the next step is usually to file a complaint with the court. This document will outline your legal claims against the defendant. For example, if you are filing a claim to prove an act of negligence, your complaint will need to allege that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused you to suffer damages as a result. The complaint filings will also request specific relief from the court. This can include monetary recovery, an injunction ordering the defendant to take a certain action (or refrain from taking a certain action), or other relief as determined by the court.
After the complaint is filed, the defendant will have an opportunity to respond. The response will typically either be an answer to the complaint or a motion to dismiss the case. Once the defendant responds, there will usually be a period of discovery during which both sides will have an opportunity to obtain evidence from the other side. This can include depositions (testimonial evidence from witnesses), requests for documents, and other types of information gathering.
After the discovery is finished, the next step is usually to file motions with the court. These can include motions for summary judgment (a request that the court dismisses the case because there is not a disputed issue of material fact), motions to exclude evidence, and other types of motions. If the case advances to trial, each side will present their evidence and argument to a judge or jury, who then renders a verdict.
Once the verdict is rendered, the next step is usually to file post-trial motions with the court. These can include motions for a new trial, motions to set aside the verdict, and motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. If the post-trial motions are unsuccessful, the next step is usually to appeal the case to a higher court. However, if both parties are satisfied with the outcome of the case, they can simply file a stipulation to dismiss the case and end the legal process.
No two personal injury cases are exactly alike, so this framework should only be used as a general guide. If you have been injured and are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to have the best understanding of what to expect and how to protect your rights.
The specific evidence that will be important in your personal injury case will depend on the facts of your case and the legal claims you are asserting. However, there are some general categories of evidence that are often important in personal injury cases.
One important category of evidence is medical records. Medical records can show the nature and extent of your injuries, as well as the extent of your treatment. They can also be used to show how your injuries have impacted your life. For example, if you have had to miss work or take a reduced schedule because of your injuries, your medical records can be used to demonstrate the financial impact of your injuries.
Another important category of evidence is eyewitness testimony. Eyewitnesses can provide valuable testimony about what happened and who was at fault. If there are no eyewitnesses, other types of evidence can be used to establish what happened, such as surveillance footage or accident reconstruction reports.
Still another important category of evidence is expert testimony. Expert testimony can be used to establish the cause of the accident, the nature and extent of your injuries, and other important matters. In some cases, expert testimony is essential to establish liability or damages.
These forms of evidence only scratch the surface of what might be important in your personal injury case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you identify the specific evidence that will be most important to your position.
Once a personal injury lawsuit is filed, the defendant will have an opportunity to respond. The defendant will likely assert one or more defenses in an attempt to have the case dismissed or to reduce the number of damages they are required to pay. Some of the most common defenses in personal injury cases include:
An expert personal injury attorney is well-versed in the typical defenses used in personal injury cases and will be able to anticipate the defenses proactively, giving you the best chance for a positive result.
A: Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if you win your case. These fees are typically a percentage of the total amount recovered, ranging from 25% to 40%. The only way for a true estimate of what your lawyer will charge is to ask for a fee agreement in writing.
A: Hiring a personal injury lawyer is often worth it because the average citizen does not have years of legal background or resources to navigate the complex legal system and effectively assert their rights. A personal injury lawyer levels the playing field, giving you the best chance to obtain the compensation you deserve.
A: The length of a personal injury case can vary greatly depending on the facts and circumstances. Some cases are resolved quickly, while others may take months or even years to resolve. The faster you can hire a lawyer and begin building your case, the better.
A: Personal injury claims are typically filed in state court, although in some cases, they may be filed in federal court. The specific court in which your case will be filed will depend on a number of factors, including the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred and the parties involved. You will never question any decisions, such as where to file your case or when you hire an attorney to take on your personal injury claim.
If you are injured, it is important to act quickly. The sooner you can hire a lawyer and begin building your case, the better. At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, our personal injury lawyers have decades of experience representing accident victims and their families. We will put our experience to work for you, ensuring that no detail that can be used to your advantage is overlooked. We pride ourselves on our dedicated loyalty and commitment to our clients, and we will never stop fighting for you. Contact us today to begin consultation and see why Cheney Galluzzi & Howard is the right choice for you.