Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in Colorado. 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.
Impaired Driver Accidents in Colorado
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.
Drivers under the influence are more likely to be involved in an accident than sober drivers. 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 a drunk driving accident.
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.
Impaired Driver Accident Damages
The damages involved in an impaired driver accident depends 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 broken bones, head injury, neck or back injury, burns, and internal injuries. Children, pedestrians, and cyclists may be the most at risk of injury in an impaired driver accident.
The impaired driver's liability insurance 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.
Colorado and Wyoming Car Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in an automobile accident with an impaired driver, the Olson Law Firm 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 one of Colorado and Wyoming's preeminent law firms. Contact our office today.