When you’ve had an auto accident, the first question should always be whether everyone is physically okay or if they need medical care. The next question is often who was at fault for the accident.

This is the exact question that often leads to roadside conflicts, which are always best to avoid. When you’re involved in an accident, both immediately and as you consider the damages you’re owed, there are possibly other responsible parties than just the other driver. Continue to discover how Colorado law handles auto accident responsibility and all the various parties that may have some liability for your damages.

How Colorado Law Considers Fault

The first place to start this discussion is to understand how Colorado law considers fault for personal injury claims, including auto injuries. In most cases, you have to show some form of negligence to bring a personal injury claim against someone. Keep in mind that the threshold for negligence is fairly low, especially when operating a motor vehicle. It could be as simple as the person took their eyes off the road for a split second, took a drink, or had neglected maintenance like replacing tires, just to name a few examples.

However, that low threshold also applies to the injured parties and could affect the outcome of a personal injury claim. Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-21-111 lays out how the courts handle shared responsibility. First, it simply says that someone other than the injured party who’s bringing the claim must share 51% or greater of the responsibility for the accident. However, if the injured party has any fault in the accident, then the court may reduce the damages according to the level of responsibility that person shared. If your case goes to a jury trial, it is up to the jury to decide the degree of liability for each party involved.

Primary Defendants: The Drivers Involved

Depending on your particular situation, you may have one or more primary defendants involved in the case. These are the drivers involved in the accident that led to your injuries. In the vast majority of accidents, this is one other driver. However, some accidents have multiple vehicles involved, with one or more of the drivers sharing some responsibility for your injuries. You can seek compensation from all the parties involved, with each person’s level of responsibility determining how much of your damages they may have to cover.

Keep in mind that your damages are a sum total, and multiple parties may share responsibility for covering them. You cannot file separate lawsuits against multiple parties for the same injury seeking full compensation from each.

Third-Party Defendants

Beyond other drivers involved in the accident, there are a variety of other parties who may have liability in your accident. Even if you are partly responsible for the accident, these third-party defendants may reduce the percentage of your liability, depending on the specifics of your case. This level of liability is important to recover the maximum compensation you’re owed under the law.

Insurance Companies

Insurance companies may become third-party defendants, but may also be primary defendants. The courts consider the insurance company for the primarily responsible party or parties as primary defendants along with the driver they insured.

However, in the case of underinsured or uninsured drivers, you may have to seek compensation from your insurance company. If they refuse to fairly compensate you for the claim according to your policy, you may have to file a lawsuit to force them to abide by the terms of that policy. In this case, your insurance company becomes a third-party defendant.


It’s possible that some manufacturer defect caused the accident that led to your injuries or exacerbated those injuries. In this case, you may have a case against the equipment manufacturer, which could include the vehicle manufacturer and any aftermarket equipment manufacturer. To determine this, your case would need discovery to look more deeply at the equipment involved in your accident. Of particular concern with modern vehicles for personal injury is the auto driver feature on some electric vehicles.

Repair Companies

Every vehicle eventually needs repairs, even simple maintenance repairs like changing the brakes. When a vehicle owner takes their vehicle to someone else to perform the repairs, that person or company assumes some of the liability for the equipment operating effectively afterward. Some cases revolve around the mechanic or technician not doing their job properly, contributing to the accident.

Car Owner

The car owner isn’t always the person operating the vehicle at the time of an accident. If you can demonstrate the driver was ineligible to drive in a way the vehicle owner should have known, you may include them in the claim. The most common times this comes into play is when the driver had suspended, revoked, or nonexistent driving privileges, or was noticeably intoxicated at the time they borrowed the vehicle.


No one has ever said that raising kids is easy or that it comes without risks. When they start driving, parents assume financial responsibility if their minor child causes injuries or property damage. The Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-21-107 stipulates the liability and sets the cap for damages the parent is responsible to cover.

Other Passengers

It’s estimated that roughly 96% of all car accidents result from some form of negligence on the part of drivers. However, in that rare 4 % of cases, you may have a claim against a passenger if they attempted to take control of the vehicle, leading to the car accident. These are incredibly complex to prove, but the cases do happen.


You may have a case against your employer or the employer or the at-fault driver if they were on official company business, especially if they are driving a company-maintained vehicle. If the accident was the result of the employee working within the scope of their job duties, the company owns part of the liability through the legal doctrine of vicarious liability. This is especially relevant for accidents involving delivery vehicles and passenger services.

If you or your family members have suffered a personal injury as the result of an auto accident, let the experts at Matlin Injury Law help guide you through the claims process. Call to schedule your initial personal injury consultation. with a member of our team today.