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Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley, LLC Dec. 21, 2020

In the fiscal year of 2019, more than 5,300 personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death civil suits were filed in Colorado district courts. Thousands of other personal injury claims were settled out of court.

Personal injury claims are, indeed, highly “personal.” Injured victims often suffer physically, emotionally, and financially. For many injured victims, there simply isn’t enough money in the world to return their lives to normal. Even if they recover fully from their injuries, many victims are forced to carry both physical and psychological scars.

Good personal injury lawyers are a unique blend of compassion, aggression, experience, and knowledge. There are hundreds of personal injury attorneys in Colorado, but the real challenge is finding the right one.

At Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley, we offer more than 75 years of combined experience in representing personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims in Durango, Colorado, and the surrounding communities.

A Brief Overview of Personal Injury Law in Colorado

Personal injury law involves the civil representation of individuals who have been harmed or killed due to the negligent actions of another party. In personal injury and wrongful death claims, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury or death. This would include any injuries from slip and fall accidents, dog bites, skiing accidents, product liability cases, and medical malpractice suits, among others.

If an automobile was involved in your injury claim, the statute of limitations to pursue a claim is three years. If a motor vehicle operator is convicted of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene, a family has up to four years to pursue a claim.

In the case of injuries sustained by a minor, the statute of limitations begins running on the date of the minor’s 18th birthday.

What Are Some Qualities To Look For in a Personal Injury Attorney?

You will share a vast amount of personal information with your personal injury attorney over the course of your case. Therefore, it is vital that you feel comfortable enough with them to be as honest as possible about the details of your case. There are several other qualities that you should seek when searching for legal representation. These qualities include:


You can never overestimate the importance of experience. If you were having major heart surgery, would you want a surgeon who has only performed the procedure once or twice, or one who has performed the procedure over a thousand times? Choosing a personal injury lawyer is very similar. You should look for an attorney who has years of experience and a history of successful representation of clients. Consider also looking for an attorney who understands the way attorneys on the other side work. Having someone on your side who used to represent insurance companies against injured victims, like the attorneys at our firm, can provide valuable insight to help you stay one step ahead of the opposition.


The statute of limitations can run quickly in Colorado. It is critical that your attorney can investigate the circumstances of your injury quickly before vital evidence is lost or destroyed. You need an attorney who can start on your case immediately. If you call an attorney after you are injured and they are unable to meet with you quickly, that might be a sign that they lack the resources necessary to handle your claim. Also, if you are unable to go to the lawyer’s office due to your injuries, they should be willing to come to you. Finally, you should be able to contact your attorney at any time with any questions or concerns that arise over the course of the legal process. Your personal injury attorney should be your personal legal advocate, and that role does not stop after normal office hours.

Reliable Expertise

Attorneys have all completed law school and passed the state bar exam; however, their expertise must be reliable in the eyes of the court and the insurer. Your lawyer must use not only the principles of the law but the facts and data surrounding the unique details of your case to convince a judge, jury, or insurer that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries. How can you determine whether a lawyer has reliable expertise? Look at their track record of success in representing plaintiffs in cases like yours. Attorneys with a successful track record will be a good indicator of whether or not you’ve chosen the right attorney to represent your needs.

Sensible Strategist

Your attorney should also be a sensible strategist who provides you with realistic expectations for the potential outcome of your claim. There is no standard formula for what an insurance company may offer in a settlement or what a jury may award in court. Every case is unique, but a skilled attorney will apply their knowledge and experience to your specific circumstances when crafting a legal strategy for your claim.

Specialized Knowledge

The best personal injury attorneys specialize in personal injury law. That dedication to the field provides them with a level of knowledge that many general practitioners with more diverse legal backgrounds lack. This trait extends beyond knowledge of the law. It also helps your attorney be a better guide for you throughout all aspects of the process. You will have numerous decisions to make while pursuing your claim. An attorney who specializes in injury law will be better equipped to provide advice and counsel, no matter what obstacles or challenges arise over the course of your case.

Local Representation

Laws can vary greatly from city to city, county to county, and state to state. Communities are unique, even within the great state of Colorado. It is important to find a personal injury lawyer who knows local laws and how they apply to your case. An attorney who not only understands the community but is also an active participant. Having that kind of local connection can make all the difference in local courts, especially if a member of the community shows up to represent you rather than an attorney from somewhere else.

How Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley Can Help You with Your Case

It is always a wise decision to retain an attorney to represent you in a personal injury claim rather than attempting to handle it on your own. Your attorney will act as your advocate and your voice throughout the process of filing a claim, so you will want a representative with extensive personal injury knowledge, experience, and expertise.

At Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley, we have helped hundreds of injured clients and their families in Durango, Telluride, Pagosa Springs, and Cortez, Colorado, as well as The Four Corners. If you or someone you know has suffered damages due to the negligent actions of another, call our office today to schedule a free case consultation. You can learn more about us while we learn more about you and the details of your case.