Can I Recover for My Medical Bills, Expenses, Lost Wages and PTO?

Absolutely. Under Colorado law, an at fault driver is responsible for all the damage that has been caused by his or her negligence. This means that he or she is responsible for the property damage to your car, as well as any damage to you – commonly known as personal injury. Generally speaking, Colorado law provides for three categories of damages: 1) economic losses; 2) non-economic losses; and 3) permanent impairment. We will discuss these types of damages below.

Economic losses are those damages that have an objective, actual value to them. The most common type of economic loss is past medical bills. As the name suggest, this includes the amount of bills you have incurred for your past medical treatment. Usually past medical bills include visits to your physician or chiropractor or mental health provider, imaging, and progressively more invasive procedures such as injections or surgery. However, when documented correctly – ideally through physician’s referral – we can recover for massages, certain medical devices such as electric stimulation units (commonly referred to as TENS units), and even unconventional therapy such as acupuncture or naturopathy.

Economic losses also include future medical procedures, although historically insurance companies do not pay dollar for dollar value for such treatment. Typically the insurance companies will argue that future treatment is speculative and thus will compensate only with a detailed doctor’s explanation as to why the future treatment is needed, and even then, the insurance company will pay a significant discount of the true value of the services. The speculative nature and discount for payment of future medical treatment is one of the reasons we suggest that clients actually complete as much medical treatment as possible before finalizing their claim. To attempt to settle your claim to early is a good way of leaving money on the table.

A significant category of economic loss is lost income due to missed work to attend medical appointments or inability to work because of injury. Not only have experienced Boulder personal injury lawyers like Cook, Bradford & Levy recovered for lost wages, but also when our clients have had to use their Paid Time Off (PTO) for crash-related missed work. It is simply unfair that you have to dip into your PTO that you have worked so hard to earn, preferably for a vacation or a cash payout, but instead have had to use to go to the doctor or stay home to recover from a crash. PTO is a valid and quantifiable category of economic loss that we can help you recover.

Non-economic losses include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, emotional distress associated with the incident, and the like. The value of a non-economic loss claim is difficult, if not impossible, to calculate exactly. Each case is different, and depending on what you have experienced as a result of the crash will determine the amount of your recovery for non-economic damages. For example, did you have to go through the scare of a surgery? Did you lose your ability to participate in an activity you love? The examples and factors that contribute to non-economic loss are infinite. With this said, non-economic losses are typically a function of the amount of economic losses. If calculating the amount of non-economic losses sounds like more of an art than a science, this is because it’s true. This is where you would benefit from an experienced Boulder personal injury lawyer who can help you understand from past experience how much compensation for non-economic losses is adequate.

The third area of damages is known as permanent impairment. Most often this includes permanent changes to your body. There are numerous examples of what can be considered a permanent impairment, but for illustration purposes, we often see this when a person loses a limb, or when a child receives a permanent scar from a dog bite, for example. We work hard to identify and include any permanent impairment in your insurance claim.

If you have any questions about what kinds of damages you are entitled to recover under Colorado law, please reach out to us at 303-543-1000 for a free consultation!

Client Reviews
“I was rear ended by a driver on his cell phone. I started with another attorney, but was not receiving adequate attention to my case. I switched to Brian and everything changed. He was attentive to my situation, listened to all I had to say, and worked to resolve my case in a timely fashion. He continued to communicate and touch base even during slow parts of the process. After the settlement was resolved, he has still reached out to check in on my health and well being. I would highly recommend Brian Bradford as a lawyer.” Randy
“A driver trying to get away from the police ran a red light and broadsided my car. My injuries affected me physically, emotionally and organizationally. Hiring Steve Cook allowed me to focus on healing while ALL the legal Issues were effectively handled by his firm. Steve's patience, honest, determination. competence and experienced evaluation of my case resulted in a great settlement without having to go to trial.” Shirley
“I was injured in a car accident and I was having a hard time getting much of a response from the insurance companies. I never thought I would resort to calling an attorney, but I am so happy that I did, and that Jason Levy was that attorney. He was respectful, knowledgeable, and kind. When I was healing from major surgery, he arranged for my deposition to take place all the way out in Harford County, at a library near my home, rather than having me come into the city. He was also very persistent with the other driver's insurance company, finally negotiating an excellent settlement” Kate