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Every year, drunk drivers cause untold damage on Colorado’s roads.
According to statistics, police arrest 60 people for drunk driving each day.
Unfortunately, too many drunk drivers avoid arrest and cause serious injuries when they get into a collision.
In 2017, more than 500 DUI Injury crashes took place in Colorado—a number that is far too high.
However, statistics do not do justice to the damage injured victims suffer—pain, lost wages, bodily disfigurement. If a loved one died in a drunk driving crash, the surviving family members must recreate their lives, often without the help of the family breadwinner.
At the Olson Law Firm, we take drunk driving accidents seriously, and we are here for those facing injuries from these crashes. This article will describe how we handle drunk driving collisions.
What You Must Prove to Sue
Car accidents are usually caused by negligence, meaning that a driver did not operate their vehicle with sufficient care. Colorado law requires that motorists drive their vehicles with the care that an ordinarily prudent person would. This does not mean that a driver has to be perfect, but they must be at least as careful as the ordinary person.
Getting behind the wheel of car while drunk is certainly not careful behavior, and you should easily be able to prove that the driver was negligent. Evidence that helps your case includes breathalyzer or toxicology evidence, as well as any statements the driver made about drinking before driving. You can also use witnesses who saw the driver drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
Injured victims also need to show that the drunk driver caused their injuries. This is usually pretty easy. You can testify yourself that the car accident led to your injuries, or you can have a doctor testify.
Drunk drivers must pay compensation to their victims to cover all economic losses for things like medical care, lost wages, and property damage.
Any medical care that was necessary to treat your injuries warrants compensation. For example, you can receive sums for:
- Transportation to the hospital or doctor
- Doctor’s visits
- Hospital stays
- Prescription drugs
- Equipment like crutches, wheelchairs, or braces
- Mental health counseling or therapy
Hold onto your bills or receipts to prove how much this medical treatment cost. If you need continuing care, such as an at-home attendant because of paralyzation, then you can request money to pay for that future care as well.
Drunk drivers can cause serious injuries that leave you unable to work for weeks or months. You can receive compensation to cover these amounts that you have lost. Be sure to hold onto your pay stubs or other proof of income to establish your losses.
When injuries are particularly bad, some of our clients cannot return to their jobs at all, even after reaching maximum medical improvement. Instead, they will be partially or fully disabled for the rest of their lives. These clients can also qualify for lost future earnings.
The drunk driver might have wrecked or totaled your car, and you can receive compensation to repair or replace it. Hold onto repair estimates or other proof that shows the damage to your vehicle.
A bad injury does more than cost you money. It can also dramatically reduce your quality of life in ways that are harder to measure in dollars and cents. For example, motorists hit by a drunk driver can receive compensation for:
- Pain and suffering. This compensates you for the physical pain that accompanies any bodily injury.
- Mental anguish. Physical injuries often cause emotional distress in the form of depression, anger, anxiety, and irritability.
- Disability. Any injury that disables you warrants compensation for denying you the full use of your body.
- Disfigurement. Disfigurement in visible areas, such as the face, can cause severe emotional harm. You can receive compensation for these scars.
Calculating non-economic losses requires using our experience and common sense to arrive at a number that is well supported by the evidence. Generally, the greater your physical injuries, the more you can receive in compensation for non-economic losses.
Exemplary Damages and Drunk Drivers
Colorado law allows victims to receive exemplary damages (also called punitive damages) when the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious. Drunk driving probably qualifies, especially if the driver has a history of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Unlike other compensation, punitive damages punish the defendant and to deter him (and others) from engaging in drunk driving again in the future. Punitive damages can equal the amount of your actual damages, but you will need a lawyer to help determine whether you can request them.
Why You Need to Hire an Attorney
Drunk driving cases are not like other car accidents. For one thing, many drunk drivers do not carry insurance or carry far too little. This means it can be hard to receive compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys will need to do the necessary investigation to see whether pursuing a lawsuit makes sense.
Also, insurance companies are not eager to compensate someone when their insured is drunk. A lot of money is at stake, and insurance companies often play hardball, trying to minimize or reject claims outright. Rather than go up against a giant insurer on your own, you should have an attorney who can make a compelling case for compensation.
Speak to a Colorado Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one is facing serious injuries from a drunk driver, please call us today. It is vital that you hold the drunk driver accountable for any injuries. At the Olson Law Firm, we have brought many lawsuits against drunk drivers, and we know these types of cases inside and out.
To build your case, reach out to one of our attorneys as soon as possible. We can help you gather the evidence you need and negotiate with an insurance company, if necessary. Contact us today for a free consultation. Avoid delay.
Sean Olson is much more than just a personal injury lawyer. Sean is an advocate who helps those who are injured navigate our complex legal system. And he is a voice for those who are injured and cannot speak for themselves.