Drunk driving accidents destroy many lives every year in Golden, Colorado. Accident victims are frequently left in crippling pain from injuries that will never fully heal. A drunk driving accident can also be a significant drain on your family’s finances due to high medical costs and having to miss a long period of work. In the most tragic situations, a careless drunk driver takes an innocent person’s life, devastating loved ones left behind.
At the Olson Law Firm, LLC, our Golden drunk driving accident lawyers are committed to helping accident victims rebuild their lives and pursue fair compensation for their losses. Our extensive experience with drunk driving accident claims enables us to build the most robust case possible for our clients. At the same time, our commitment to compassionate client service means we will make this process as painless as possible for you.
Contact our office in Golden today for a free initial consultation.
The Consequences of Drunk Driving
Drunk driving accidents killed 10,142 people nationwide in just one recent year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Even in nonfatal crashes, a drunk driving accident can leave someone with permanent injuries, such as brain damage or paralysis.
In Colorado specifically, alcohol-impaired drivers are a factor in 30 percent of the state’s motor vehicle fatalities, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Approximately 188 deaths resulted from crashes involving a drunk driver in one recent year, a 7 percent increase over the previous year.
Drunk drivers may face criminal charges for their involvement in a crash. Regardless of what happens in criminal court, drunk drivers can be held liable for the losses they cause in a separate civil claim. That allows accident victims to pursue compensation for their financial losses, pain and suffering, and other harm suffered due to the crash.
How Can a Golden Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Help Me?
If you’ve been injured in a crash with a drunk driver in Golden, a drunk driving accident lawyer from the Olson Law Firm, LLC can help you by:
- Investigating the accident to gather crucial evidence to support your case
- Analyzing all the facts to determine who’s liable for your injuries
- Determining the extent of your losses to make sure your claim is properly valued
- Handling settlement negotiations with insurance companies to pursue full and fair compensation
- Representing you at trial if the insurance companies fail to offer a reasonable settlement
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Drunk Driver Crash?
Multiple parties can potentially be held liable for a drunk driving crash. That is in part because Colorado has laws in place that, under certain circumstances, hold alcohol vendors and social hosts responsible for injuries caused by the intoxicated party they provided alcohol to.
According to Colorado Revised Statutes section 12-47-801, an alcohol vendor can be held liable if they sold alcohol to someone who was under 21 or visibly intoxicated. A social host could be liable if they knowingly served alcohol to a minor under 21 or knowingly provided them a place to consume alcohol.
Given these laws, potential parties who could be held liable in addition to the drunk driver may include, for example:
- Liquor stores and other vendors
- Parents or other adults who host parties for minors with alcohol
- College fraternities
Compensation After an Accident Caused by an Impaired Driver
With help from the right drunk driving accident attorney, you could potentially cover compensation for:
- Lost income
- Reduced future earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Vehicle repair or replacement
Common Injuries Caused by Drunk Driving Wrecks in Golden
Crashes involving impaired drivers tend to cause severe injuries to anyone involved, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries – A hard blow to the head or an object penetrating the skull can cause severe, permanent brain damage. That can include memory loss, loss of motor functions, personality changes, impaired cognition, and more.
- Spinal injuries – The force from a drunk driving accident can damage the spinal cord, especially if someone is hit from the side or behind at high speed. Severe spinal injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis, among other symptoms.
- Organ damage – Internal organs like the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, and others can be damaged indirectly from the force of an accident or directly if an object penetrates the body.
- Limb injuries – Limbs can be crushed or severed in an accident or may require surgical amputation due to the crash.
- Whiplash injuries – The impact from a crash can cause the head and neck to whip forward violently before jerking backward, putting immense pressure on the bones, muscles, and connective tissues in the neck and upper back. Whiplash injuries can be excruciating and significantly inhibit mobility.
- Soft tissue injuries – Muscle, tendons, and ligaments can easily be torn or strained in a collision.
- Burns – Accident victims can receive burn injuries from contact with hot metal or road surfaces or if their vehicle ignites.
- Broken bones – Bone fractures are prevalent in car accidents, especially in the legs, feet, hips, arms, hands, and ribs.
Drunk Driving Settlements and Trials
Most drunk driving cases are settled before the case reaches trial through a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, a trial may be necessary if an insurance company refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement.
In drunk driving accident claims where criminal charges are filed, a criminal conviction can be used to prove negligence. However, a criminal conviction is not necessary to establish the drunk driver’s negligence in a separate civil case. The victim of a drunk driving crash may be able to secure compensation in a civil lawsuit even if the drunk driver never faces criminal charges.
Intoxication Levels in Colorado DUI Accidents
Here’s a breakdown of how an individual’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level may affect them and their ability to drive:
- 02 percent – Light to moderate drinkers may experience altered mood, some impairment of judgment, vision, and multitasking skills. That is also the legal limit for anyone under age 21 in Colorado.
- 05 percent – Drinkers will generally experience impaired judgment, vision, coordination, alertness, and ability to respond to sudden hazards.
- 08 percent – A driver’s muscle coordination, judgment, reasoning, self-control, and general driving skills are impaired. That is the legal limit for drivers 21 and over in Colorado, as well as most other states.
- 10 percent – A driver’s reaction time, thinking ability, speech, and coordination are clearly impaired.
- 12 percent – Drinkers who have not developed a high tolerance for alcohol will usually vomit at this level.
- 15 percent – A drinker’s balance is significantly impaired, as is visual and auditory information processing. Blackouts may also begin at this level of intoxication.
- 30 percent – Most drinkers become unconscious at 0.30 percent.
How Long Do You Have to File an Accident Claim?
You generally have three years from the date of a car accident to file a claim for compensation. If you miss this deadline, you’ll likely lose your chance to recover compensation for the losses you’ve suffered as a result of the accident.
Contact Our Experienced Golden Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Today
If an impaired driver has injured you, you deserve a chance to hold them accountable and seek compensation for what you’ve been through. The Golden, CO, drunk driving accident lawyers at the Olson Law Firm, LLC are committed to fighting for your rights so you can recover from the ordeal.
Contact our office in Golden today for a free initial consultation.