Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in Denver. Such accidents can result in serious bodily injury or even death. Victims of a drunk driving accident may be left with expensive vehicle repairs, hospital bills, lost wages, and permanent injury. Even after an injury, the victim is expected to deal with the insurance company and law enforcement to seek compensation for their injuries. Contacting an experienced Colorado auto accident attorney can help you through the process and take the pressure off you so you can focus on healing.
Drunk Driver Accidents In Denver
Nearly 1 out of every 3 traffic fatalities in the U.S. involve a driver under the influence of alcohol. However, increasingly, impaired driver accidents are not limited to alcohol. More drivers are getting behind the wheel under the influence of marijuana, prescription painkillers, illegal narcotics, or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
Driving under the influence has a direct correlation with being involved in a car accident. Drugs and alcohol can slow down a driver’s reaction time, impair judgment, alter motor function, and impair the driver’s sense of depth perception. This can lead to speeding, driving the wrong way, crossing over the center median, failing to abide by traffic signals, and other forms of reckless driving.
How The Driver’s Criminal DUI Charge Affects Your Claim
In a typical vehicle accident, the victim can generally file a personal injury lawsuit after the accident to seek compensation. They may file a claim for damages related to lost wages, property damage, medical bills, pain, and suffering. However, filing a civil lawsuit can be more complicated as a result of the criminal charges related to drunk driving crashes.
Impaired driving is a criminal offense, and may also give rise to a civil claim. However, a victim may have to wait until the criminal case is concluded before they can take their case to court. Unfortunately, this creates some problems for the victim.
Criminal court cases can take a long time to reach a conclusion, especially if the defendant wants to take their case to trial. It could take 6 months or more before a DUI arrest ends up with a jury verdict. The impaired driver may have also spent a lot of their money to pay for a criminal defense attorney, leaving fewer resources to compensate the victim.
Drunk Driver Accident Damages
The damages involved in an impaired driver accident depend on a number of factors. Many accidents only result in property damage, including damage to parked cars, hitting a building, or damaging city property.
However, more serious accidents can involve injuries such as:
The impaired driver’s liability insurance coverage or company coverage should pay for your damages in the event of an accident. However, if the insurance company does not want to pay or they only offer a portion of your damages, contact an attorney who will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Before accepting a settlement offer, make sure you understand your legal rights so you do not sell yourself short.
In some cases, an impaired driver does not have car insurance because of a suspended license and prior DUIs. In Colorado, drivers are required to have a minimum amount of uninsured/underinsured coverage, unless they waive this coverage. This includes $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident coverage. However, just because you are covered by your own insurance does not mean your insurance company will be willing to pay you for the full extent of your damages. Talk to an attorney if your claim has been denied, held up, or only partially approved.
Losing a loved one in an accident with an impaired driver is a tragic event. While no amount of money can bring them back, a wrongful death lawsuit may allow the family to cover the funeral and burial costs and ensure their children will be cared for. Through a wrongful death claim, surviving family members can seek damages for loss of support or loss of companionship. It will also hold the impaired driver accountable for their actions.
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Contact a Denver DUI Accident Lawyer for Help After An Accident
If you have been injured in an automobile accident with an impaired driver, the Olson Law Firm, LLC will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We will provide you with the personal attention you expect and deserve and always keep the lines of communication open. It is our dedication and commitment that makes the Olson Law Firm, LLC one of Denver’s preeminent law firms. Contact our office today.
Denver Drunk Driving FAQs
Car accidents can happen, no matter how careful you are, and they usually come out of nowhere. In the event of an accident, it is important to call 911 so that the police can assess the accident and complete a police report. Accident victims should call the police no matter how minor their collision may seem. Colorado Law requires it in nearly every case.
Waiting for the police may seem like an unnecessary hassle in some situations, but know that your patience will reward you with a verifiable record of your accident. A car accident report will be required if you wish to file an insurance claim for your vehicle repairs and any personal injuries. Requesting a police officer to come to the scene and create the report is the best way to capture all information objectively, improving your chances of proving negligence later on.
Being in a car accident can be confusing and frightening, but we are here to help. At the Olson Law Firm, our Denver car accident lawyers have decades of combined experience fighting and finding justice to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at (303) 586-7297 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation over the phone or in person at our local Denver office.
How the Police Will Aide Your Case
Parties to the accident must take care to exchange insurance information, obtain the full name of all drivers, and provide a witness statement to police officers responding to the scene. It is also in their interests to document the accident with pictures and their own recorded statements from witnesses.
In the State of Colorado, regardless of how minor damages may appear, any personal property damage or personal injury to either party requires a report of the accident to authorities (§42-4-1606. Duty to report accidents). This law differs from other states, where some accidents may not need to be reported if damages are minor or there are no injuries.
It is up to the police to decide whether they will conduct a formal investigation of the accident, but they still create a report of the crash to have on file. This documentation is important because not all vehicle damage is noticeable immediately, just like some injuries. Having supporting documents could provide enormous help in establishing fault and seeking compensation to pay for any damages.
When you call 911 to request a police respondent to your accident, they will arrive and perform the following procedures:
The police will investigate the entire scene, including damages to personal property and bodily injuries. They will also place a generalized estimated value for the costs to repair the damage of all vehicles involved in the incident.
The police will find witnesses, talk to them, and document what they saw.
The police will search and find evidence to support the claims of witnesses and both parties of the car accident.
The police will provide official documents to both parties documenting what occurred.
If applicable, the police will assign a citation to a driver considered primarily responsible for the accident, or they may assign multiple citations between all parties involved.
Colorado became an at-fault state in 2003, meaning someone — or both parties — will be at fault in every incident. The at-fault party cannot seek insurance coverage for damages if they are found to be more than 50% at-fault for their own collision.
As a result, it is important to call the police as soon as possible, document the incident, and exchange insurance information. The police reports will determine who is at fault in an accident. So even if the opposite party expresses a desire to handle the case without police involvement, always call the police.
Distracted Drivers Are Causing Accidents (And Trying to Avoid Consequences)
Today, drivers are easily distracted by cellphones, passengers, eating or drinking, and daydreaming during a long commute.
Distracted driving is considered to be anything from talking on a cell phone or texting, to zoning out when they are driving long commutes. It is a growing problem as distracted drivers ignore their surroundings, even if they did not mean to, and put others at risk of an accident because of their negligence.
Many times, when someone does not wish to report an accident, or they make statements that conflict with your own experience of the accident, it is because they were distracted while the accident occurred. If you can recall evidence of them holding a mobile device or otherwise not looking at the road during or near the time of the accident, make sure to report this information to police.
Injuries Can Still Be Significant in a Fender Bender
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, rear-ended accidents, T-bone accidents, and head-on collisions are the most common car crashes. Rear-end collisions account for over 100,000 incidents since 2010, and T-bone accidents account for the most fatalities passing 1,100 deaths since 2010.
On the other hand, a fender bender is considered a minor accident that causes minimal damage to personal property; usually accounting for $500 or less, and is the most common vehicular accident. Fender benders are usually caused by drivers who are backing up and not looking, negligence while driving in dangerous weather conditions, distracted driving, rear-end collisions while driving in slow-moving traffic, and generally following too closely on roadways.
Most drivers cannot properly determine the estimated cost of damages, so it is best to call the police as they are trained to do so. Even in minor cases like this, it is important to call the police to determine the cost of damages. While Fender benders do not often account for deaths and they are small incidents, they can cost between $3,000 to $4,000 depending on the circumstances in repairs and fees. Additionally, this number does not include the medical costs of treating any bodily injury that either party may have sustained because of the accident.
Plus, since fender benders are considered minor accidents, people often forget that they can cause serious physical injuries to either party. These injuries can encompass internal bleeding, soft tissue damage, concussions, whiplash, cuts and lacerations, and other minor injuries. Sometimes, these injuries will not appear for weeks, or even months, after the accident occurs.
Adrenaline Can Dull Pain for Hidden Injuries
After being involved in a car accident, injuries may not be immediately apparent due to the presence of the adrenaline hormone. Adrenaline is a natural reaction when someone is in a stressful situation and triggers flight or fight responses. Consequently, it is common to encounter increased adrenaline immediately after a car accident. In fact, many serious injuries do not appear for weeks or even months after the accident.
Because of the risk of hidden injuries, it is important that you do not refuse the service if medical care is offered at the scene of the accident. Adrenaline makes it difficult to feel injuries, but a medical professional can identify any injuries and determine if you may need medical treatment.
Common Hidden Injuries From “Minor” Accidents
Some injuries may not appear until after an accident, including:
Head injuries — These kinds of injuries can be caused by a multitude of things, from flying glass, displaced objects inside the vehicle, and even the force that thrusts you forward. While most of these injuries are minor, a few can be very dangerous, like Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) or concussions. Worst of all, the symptoms are commonly not present at the scene.
Neck injuries (Whiplash) — While whiplash is the most common injury after a car accident, it is not necessarily present at the time of the incident. Unfortunately, whiplash can come days and even weeks after the accident occurs, and its symptoms can include limited mobility, pain, headaches, loss of appetite, blurred vision, and loss of flexibility.
Abdominal pain — Internal bleeding or damage to internal organs, like the spleen, can cause abdominal pain after an accident. Symptoms can appear weeks after the accident occurs. If you feel any abdominal pain after an accident, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Back Injuries — Spinal cord injuries are among the most dangerous injuries involved in car accidents. This kind of injury can lead to fractures, paralysis, and various other medical complications. Victims can find themselves battling chronic pain, herniated discs, nerve damage, neuropathy and other conditions. The pain can present itself up to months after the accident occurs.
If you find yourself dealing with chronic pain, stiffness, limited mobility, or any other medical conditions that were caused by the accident that you were part in, it is important to seek immediate medical attention and call a Denver car accident attorney. In cases where the other driver was at fault and you were injured, you may be eligible for compensation. An attorney can review your case, help you assemble evidence, and seek to establish that your damages were the fault of another person’s carelessness. Your medical expenses should not come out of your own pocket because of someone else’s negligence.
You Called the Police — Now Call the Olson Law Firm
No one wants to be held liable for a wreck. Most people will try to get out of being accountable for all damages they caused to property and people. But, when parties get the police involved, it helps get the facts straight and document what happened.
An official police report is one of the best ways to advocate for your own justice, along with obtaining the support of an experienced car accident attorney in Denver. At the Olson Law Firm, we take pride in handling car accident cases daily and have proven results. As a result, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
When you work with the attorneys at Olson Law Firm, our skilled legal team can leverage their years of experience handling complex car accident claims. We know how to investigate accidents, review evidence, and build strong legal cases to defend our clients. As a result, we have helped many car accident victims get full financial compensation for their losses.
Car accidents are terrifying and can be hard to navigate, but you can have help on your side. Reach out to our Denver car accident legal team for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and options for pursuing compensation. Call (303) 586-7297 or contact our law firm online today if you have been injured in a car accident in Denver. We are happy to review your claim and explain your legal options to you at our local Denver office.
The Colorado State Patrol or the nearest law enforcement agency will take your information and try to find the driver. Hopefully, they’ll be able to find the offending driver before anything terrible happens, but that’s not your responsibility.
It’s best to let the police know about a drunk driver as soon as possible, but your most important job is to stay safe. You can report a drunk driver after you get home and are safely off the road.
You are not required to give your name when reporting a drunk driver.
You could be asked to testify against a drunk driver if you reported them, but if you make your report anonymously, there are usually little to no repercussions for reporting a drunk driver.