When someone is injured in a car crash on a college campus, the legal actions the victim takes to recover damages may be slightly different than when a collision occurs on a city street. This problem was raised by a recent case in which a Colorado State University freshman died from injuries after being struck by another student at a campus intersection. Several factors can come into play when an accident takes place on campus, which could affect who is held liable.
Dealing with Campus Police
College campuses have their own law enforcement agencies, which respond to vehicle accidents and crimes on campus. In Colorado, all collisions must be reported to the proper authorities, and on campus, that agency is the campus police. As with any car accident, the parties involved may present different stories about how and why it happened. A driver may be responsible if he or she was operating a vehicle in a negligent manner, such as by speeding, failing to stop, making illegal turns, driving drunk, or falling asleep at the wheel. In other cases, the cause of the accident may be related to poorly maintained streets, streetlights, traffic lights, or signage. The first step is an investigation into the facts.
Just remember, campus law enforcement agencies are there to protect students – and the university. You may feel intimidated by the campus police, especially in cases when the university is at risk of being held liable. When an accident results from a failure to maintain the intersection, the university may be liable for some portion of the damages.
Comparative Negligence: How Much is Your Case Worth?
Colorado is a “comparative negligence” state. The amount you can recover will be based on a percentage of fault – if you were 30% responsible, you lose 30% of the compensation for damages. It is necessary to determine liability when filing a personal injury claim, whether against the responsible driver, the university, or both.
Many crashes that lead to serious injury or death are resolved by negotiating a settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company, rather than at trial. However, in some cases, the insurance company fails to make a reasonable offer or claims that the injured party was at fault. In these cases, it may be necessary to take the case to civil court. There, the skill with which your case is presented at trial has everything to do with the outcome.
What Should I Do After a Serious Injury on Campus?
If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident on a Colorado campus, it is essential that you recover full compensation for your losses, which include:
- Economic damages: These are the financial losses suffered as a result of your injuries, including the cost of medical care, transportation, lost income from work, diminished earning capacity, medications, rehabilitation, and more.
- Non-economic damages: These are paid to victims for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and emotional anguish.
If you do not want to be a victim of insurance company tactics or pressure from campus authorities, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately after a serious accident. Your attorney will obtain and preserve the evidence needed to support your case, and may call on private accident reconstruction experts, financial experts, and medical experts to ensure your right to full compensation is protected.
At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., we are trial lawyers with extensive experience in personal injury law. Our approach is professional: we prepare all our cases as if they will proceed to trial, as we feel our clients deserve the maximum compensation possible. Contact us at (719) 401-0585 today for a free consultation.