A loved one is gone. He or she was violently, suddenly and unexpectedly ripped from a family in a crash. There is no bringing that person back, but it may be possible to pursue justice, closure and restitution after fatal motor vehicle accidents. The problem may be determining who bears legal liability for the death.
Some Colorado residents may think the answer is obvious — the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident. Where that may be true, it may not be that simple. When looking at the issue of fault, it may not be quite so obvious who caused the crash. While it may be true that one driver cut off another and caused the victim driver to attempt an evasive maneuver that failed, the actions of the victim driver also come under scrutiny.
Was that driver speeding? If so, would going the speed limit or otherwise driving for the prevailing conditions have prevented the crash? These are questions that must be answered before any court, including those here in Colorado, will make a determination of fault in a wrongful death or personal injury claim. Moreover, other parties involved in the crash could also bear legal liability as well.
Filing a claim against one party to an accident could cut off other possible avenues of liability. In addition, if any percentage of liability is assigned to the victims of fatal motor vehicle accidents, it could reduce the amount of any award ordered by the court by that percentage. With all of the possibilities surrounding who could be liable in a particular crash, determining who to include as defendants in a civil action requires a significant amount of consideration.