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How do I sue a driver if I was a pedestrian hit by a car in Colorado?

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Linda Chalat - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Linda Chalat

Located in Denver, COChalat Hatten & Banker PC

Phone: 303-861-1042
Fax: 303-861-0506

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On average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every two hours and injured in a traffic crash every eight minutes. In Colorado, over 10% of traffic fatalities in 2011 were pedestrians.

Most serious pedestrian accidents will be attended by a state trooper or police officer, but the resulting traffic citations do not determine responsibility in a civil lawsuit. Even if a pedestrian is not in a cross-walk or walking against a traffic light, if hit there may still be a claim against the driver or other parties involved.

Severe injuries are often suffered by pedestrians because most are hit by a forward moving vehicle and accelerated to the speed of the car, then continue forward as the vehicle stops. The pedestrian is impacted twice, first by the car and then by the ground, most of the fatal injuries occur due to the interaction with the car. The initial impact itself may kill or seriously injure the victim, and these injuries are compounded when the force of the collision knocks the pedestrian to the ground or throws them through the air.

If the injury is not fatal, it likely requires many months of painful recovery from such severe injuries as brain damage, spinal cord damage or loss of a limb. The significant nature of the injuries suffered in many pedestrian accidents results in expensive treatment and rehabilitation over a long-term period. Other expenses that arise include future medical expenses, often coupled with a loss of income if the victim was previously employed. Frequently other family members lose time away from work as well. The injured victim may seek compensation from the negligent parties for all of these expenses. Read more about damages.

In Colorado, there is a three-year statute of limitations for motor vehicle accidents, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the accident or lose your right to do so. If the pedestrian is struck by a government vehicle, such as an RTD bus, a light rail train or employee vehicle, then the injury claims become technical in nature and subject to restrictive caps on damages. These cases are time-sensitive and should be pursued promptly.  Read more about time restrictions and statutes of limitations.

About Pedestrian Accident Attorney Linda Chalat - Ms. Chalat has been practicing law since 1991 and is a partner of Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker PC. In 2013, she was named to "Top Attorneys in Colorado" published by The Denver Post, Colorado Super Lawyers and 2013 Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers.  Prior to becoming a lawyer, Ms. Chalat worked as a chemical engineer, earning her B.S. Chem. Eng. degree from the Colorado School of Mines.

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