The physical and emotional trauma caused by accident can change the course of a person’s entire life. It can take a long time and a large expense to work through recovery. A recent law change will impact recovery for victims of auto accidents, sexual assault and more.
One option injury victims have is to seek justice in civil court. Unfortunately, some victims risked bankruptcy by doing so. Colorado had a unique law regarding cases that had been dismissed: judges would automatically award attorneys fees to the defendants. This could bankrupt the victim.
The problem was that judges had no discretion. If a case was dismissed on a technicality, the plaintiff may still have to face massive fees. This deterred people from seeking the justice they deserved. It also made appeals less likely. Fortunately, a new change in our state laws resolved this issue.
Removing the fees
The Access to Justice Act (HB22-1272) was approved in Colorado on June 8th, 2022. This bill means that survivors and victims will not be forced to pay the legal fees incurred by their perpetrators simply because the case was dismissed. This law change will impact all civil proceedings other than tort and tax cases.
Not everyone supports this potential change, of course. Many government entities and corporations are opposed to it. Having the law the way it is helped them escape accountability. They claim to be trying to stop frivolous lawsuits, but it means that many valid lawsuits never happened in the first place, and justice was never served.
You can see how significant legal changes can be to your rights. Always make sure that you keep up on these changes and understand your rights if you want to start a case.