Can I Recover Damages If I Wasn’t Wearing A Seatbelt At The Time Of The Crash?
If someone was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of a crash, they can still recover damages. With that said, not wearing a seatbelt can contribute negatively to someone’s case. For example, the at-fault insurance company might use it as an affirmative defense to argue that if the person had been wearing their seatbelt, then they would not have been injured as severely, or at all. The viability of such an argument would depend on the type of injury that was sustained, because there are types of injuries that would not be prevented by the use of a seatbelt.
In Colorado, there is contributory negligence. In some cases, both or multiple parties will receive citations after an accident, which can make a case more difficult. This is because the injured party would have to prove that their injuries were the result of someone else’s fault. If there is 100 percent fault, then the question becomes whether or not any of it can be distributed to another party. In other words, a jury or a judge could look at all of the facts and say, “Based upon what happened, we think the plaintiff was 30 percent at fault and the defendant 70 percent at fault.” In Colorado, as long as the defendant is 51 percent at fault, then the plaintiff can still recover for their injuries and losses.
It should also be noted that the police report can serve as evidence of negligence. Generally speaking, police reports are inadmissible, but the police officer who drafted a report can be called as a witness. Officers usually testify in a way that is consistent with what they wrote in the police report. For example, if they ticketed one party for careless driving, then their testimony at trial or court would be consistent with that fact. In some cases, a client who received a citation will argue that they were not at fault, either because the officer overlooked a detail or made an error. If necessary, we will hire an accident reconstructionist or someone who studies automobile collisions so that they can reconstruct what occurred by considering all of the relevant evidence.
Can I Still Win My Case If I Have Forgotten Details And Statements Made At The Accident Scene?
A person can still win their case if they have forgotten details or statements made at the accident scene. However, what it really comes down to is how credible the person will come across to a judge or jury. Oftentimes more weight is placed on the statement a person gives right after an incident because it is seen as an honest, unvarnished, and unfiltered reaction to what occurred. However, sometimes people are angry, not thinking clearly, or just too injured to make an accurate statement. If someone is brought to the hospital, they may be given medications that would alter their thinking and lead them to make inaccurate statements (through no fault of their own). If a person’s memory conflicts with what was said at the time of the event, there could be a good reason that the memory is different. This is something that we can talk to our clients about; we encourage them to be honest and admit when they may just be mistaken about something. Honesty is always the best policy, and what a plaintiff may view as a weakness in their testimony might not be perceived that way by a judge or jury.
For more information on Recovering Damages In A Collision, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (303) 870-8492 today.
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