Despite laws against driving under the influence of alcohol, drunk drivers kill or injure thousands of people every year. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, contact Denver drunk driving accident attorneys The Fang Law Firm as soon as possible. Our experienced Denver drunk driving accident lawyers are committed to holding drunk drivers accountable and recovering compensation for the people they hurt.
Drunk driving is against the law and clearly dangerous. The drunk driver’s insurance company may offer to settle if it accepts that its policyholder was at fault for the accident. However, you should not accept a settlement without first consulting with an experienced Denver drunk driving accident attorney. Insurance adjusters have the insurance company’s best interests at heart. They will make a lowball offer that does not cover all your losses to make your claim go away as cheaply as possible.
If you lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you may be able to recover damages through a wrongful death claim. An experienced drunk driving accident attorney from The Fang Law Firm is here to help you explore your legal rights during this difficult time.
If your civil lawsuit against the drunk driver succeeds in holding that driver legally responsible for your accident, serious injuries and losses, that driver’s auto insurance company will have to pay for your damages. Available compensation for a drunk driving accident includes:
The specific losses you suffered in an accident, such as the money you spent on medical bills, lost wages, a rental car, travel expenses, vehicle repairs and legal fees after your auto accident. Proof of economic damages may come in the form of medical bills, pay stubs and photographs.
These are general losses that do not have a numeric value. They refer to the ways the drunk driving accident affected you personally, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental anguish, and lost enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages may be awarded in Colorado if the defendant was grossly negligent, reckless or guilty of egregious wrongdoing. Driving under the influence may meet this definition, especially if the driver’s BAC was far above the legal limit. Punitive damages detract the drunk driver and others from committing the same crime in the future.
Although no amount of money can make up for your family’s serious losses from a drunk driving accident, an award could help you move forward with greater peace of mind by allowing you to pay off your debts and afford future needs, including medical care. Find out how much your drunk driving accident case is worth during a free consultation at The Fang Law Firm.
The injuries involved in a drunk driving accident in Denver can be catastrophic. A catastrophic injury will affect the victim for the foreseeable future, such as a long-term or permanent disability. Drunk drivers often do not hit their brakes before the time of impact. They may also engage in dangerous driving practices, such as excessive speeding or racing, which can increase the severity of the accident and crash-related injuries.
Victims of drunk driving accidents may suffer many types of injuries, including:
Recovering from a DUI accident injury may take weeks, months or even years. The medical costs alone during this time can be extensive and lead to financial distress. Some victims never fully recover from drunk driving accidents and must live with a related disability, medical care and lost wages for the rest of their lives. No matter what type of injury you or a loved one suffered in a drunk driving crash in Denver, the attorneys at The Fang Law Firm can help you seek fair financial compensation.
Drunk driving accident victims in Colorado only have a limited amount of time to file related personal injury claims. State law imposes a three-year deadline on the right to bring a claim against a negligent party for causing an automobile accident. If you wish to file a claim, you must do so within three years of the date of the accident or the date that you discovered you were injured to comply with the statute of limitations.
In general, a drunk driving crash victim has three years to file a claim. However, if the drunk driver is facing criminal charges for DUI, the statute of limitations may be tolled (paused) until the date that the criminal case is completed. If the injured victim is a minor under the age of 18, the clock may also be tolled until the date that the victim turns 18.
An insurance claim, on the other hand, should be filed as soon as possible. Most car insurance companies have tight deadlines for reporting car accidents and filing claims for bodily injuries and property damage; often, within 24 to 72 hours of the crash. If you wait too long to try to file a claim, the insurance carrier may reject it based on the missed deadline. Do not risk waiting to file an insurance claim or take legal action. Act quickly to ensure you are within your time limit.
Identifying the financially responsible or liable party in a drunk driving accident case in Colorado requires an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash. Many victims mistakenly believe the intoxicated driver is the only person they can hold liable for the collision; however, this is not always the case. Other parties may be held accountable for a DUI crash in Denver in certain situations.
The liable party could be any of the following:
Discuss the question of liability with a drunk driving accident lawyer at The Fang Law Firm for more information about your specific case. Once your lawyer identifies the appropriate defendant(s) to name in your DUI accident case, he or she can go to work on collecting evidence to prove that this person or party is liable for your losses due to drunk driving.
Before you can obtain financial compensation for a drunk driving accident in Colorado, your drunk driving accident attorney will have to prove the validity of your drunk driving claim using clear and convincing evidence of fault. The burden of proof in a drunk driving accident case is enough evidence to prove the drunk driver more likely than not caused the collision. A car accident attorney can help you build an injury claim by preserving and collecting evidence.
You may be able to collect evidence while still at the scene of your accident. If possible, take photos of key elements such as tread marks on the road or empty alcohol bottles in the driver’s car. Write down the names and contact numbers of any eyewitnesses. Write down your police report number, as well. Gathering evidence can help you build a stronger claim against the drunk driver.
To pursue a civil action against a drunk driver, you must show that:
Damages you may be entitled to claim include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning potential, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Our Denver drunk driving accident lawyers will assess the full extent of your injuries and pursue the maximum compensation available under the law.
No, you do not necessarily have to go to court to recover financial compensation for a DUI car accident in Denver. The vast majority of personal injury in car accident cases in Colorado reach settlements, or private agreements made between an insurance company and a claimant outside of court.
If you hire an experienced attorney, this will increase your odds of achieving a fair and full settlement. Your lawyer will work with you to pursue your specific goals for the case. If you wish to stay out of court, your attorney will aggressively negotiate the best possible settlement. However, if an insurance company rejects your claim or does not offer reasonable compensation, your attorney may recommend going to court.
Under Colorado statutes, CRS 42-4-1301, the term “driving under the influence” means driving under the influence of alcohol, one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. First DUI is a misdemeanor. However, it becomes a class four felony when a violation occurs after three or more prior convictions arising out of separate and distinct criminal episodes.
Like many other states, Colorado sets “per se” blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at .08%. This means that a driver with a BAC of .08% can be convicted of DUI without any other evidence of impairment. For drivers under the age of 21, the state enforces a zero-tolerance law in which a BAC of .02% to .05% could result in a conviction.
DUI penalties may include automatic driver’s license suspension, fines, and a long list of fees. As stated by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CO DOT), average costs associated with a first-time DUI can total $13,530.
Something else that could be of use in proving your drunk driving accident claim is a criminal driving under the influence charge against the defendant. Official DUI charges show there is enough evidence of the other driver’s intoxication to lead the prosecution to believe they can secure a conviction.
If the criminal case against the defendant leads to a DUI conviction, this can serve as further evidence supporting your civil claim. Your lawyer can use the conviction as proof of the driver’s intoxication. If, however, the criminal DUI case does not lead to a conviction against the defendant, do not assume you don’t have grounds to hold the driver civilly responsible.
It is possible for an impaired driver to be found not guilty of a DUI charge but still be held liable for the car accident. The civil and criminal courts are held to different evidentiary standards. The standard is higher in a criminal case, meaning even without a criminal conviction, you may still have enough evidence for a successful civil lawsuit.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that:
If you get involved in an accident with a drunk driver in Denver, it is important to take the right steps to protect your rights and future. Here’s what to do:
The specific steps that you need to take can vary based on your circumstances. The sooner you call an accident attorney to take over your claim for you, the better.
Our Denver drunk driving accident attorneys are dedicated legal advocates for accident victims of drunk drivers. We will fight against the insurance company or responsible party to protect your rights and gain the compensation you deserve through a drunk driving claim. If you have suffered serious injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver, contact The Fang Law Firm in Denver right away.