I was Hit By a Drunk Driver in Colorado. What Do I Do?
Getting Help After an Accident with a Drunk Driver
Car accidents are one of the most common sources of injury in our state and throughout the nation.
In fact, there are literally thousands of car crashes throughout our country reported each day.
There are a number of things that a driver can do to reduce their risk of a crash.
They can ensure their vehicle is well-maintained.
They can reduce distractions, slow speed, and more.
Still, nothing can prepare a driver for the gross negligence of another on the road. And one of the most dangerous threats on Colorado roads is that of drunk drivers. If a drunk driver hit you in Colorado and you suffered harm, you deserve compensation. To start the process of recovering damages for the injuries you’ve incurred, call our Colorado motor vehicle accident attorneys at the Law Office of Steve Roberts for your free consultation today.
Drunk Driving Statistics Across the Nation and in Colorado
Drunk driving is a problem both in our own state and throughout the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 29 people die daily in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes. This means that one person dies every 50 minutes. In the year 2016, there were a total of 10,497 people killed in drunk driving crashes throughout our country.
The data is also grim in Colorado. In 2016, there were 500 fatal and injury crashes resulting from alcohol-impaired drivers; in 2017, this number slightly increased to 504, as reported by the Colorado State Patrol Department of Public Safety. There were also 3,018 proactive DUI citations given out in 2017, as well as 1,413 reactive DUI citations. This means that there are thousands of drivers driving drunk on our state’s roads – a terrifying thought.
Drunk Drivers Cause Serious Accidents and Injuries
The statistics above speak for themselves: drunk drivers cause thousands of fatal accidents every year. When accidents are not fatal, they may still be very terrible and tragic. Those involved in a drunk driving crash but do not suffer fatal injuries may incur injuries such as:
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Back and neck injuries;
- Limb amputation or loss of use of limb injuries;
- Bone fracture injuries;
- Facial injuries; and
- Injuries to extremities.
The injuries above are very serious, and may permanently alter the course of an injured person’s life. The above injuries may be extremely expensive to treat. This creates questions about how the victim will pay for their medical care. It may be disabling and lead to loss of work and loss of ability to do basic things, including performing self-care; and may lead to a loss of quality of life. All of these things are not only emotionally stressful, potentially leading to anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, but physically stressful, too. Those who are seriously injured may suffer severe economic harm as a result of a drunk driving accident. It can leave them unable to provide for themselves or their family.
Elements of a Personal Injury Claim – Do I Have to Prove that the Driver Was Drunk Beyond the Legal Limit?
If you a drunk driver caused an accident that injured you, you deserve compensation for your losses. The Law Office of Steve Roberts can help you to prove each element of the personal injury claim process, including:
- Duty of care. With a motor vehicle accident, there is a duty of care – each driver as a duty to operate their vehicle in a careful and reasonable manner.
- Breach of duty of care. A plaintiff in a personal injury claim must prove that the driver involved breached the duty of care owed to them. While proof of a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08 percent is strong evidence that can lend itself to establishing breach of duty of care, this evidence is not necessary in order to hold a driver liable for harm. You must simply prove that the driver acted in a negligent manner, which means that they did something outside of what a reasonable person would do. Operating a vehicle with any level of impairment, or breaching another traffic safety law, such as speeding or illegally changing lanes, constitutes negligence.
- Causation. The third element in a drunk driving accident claim is proving causation – that the accident and your injuries would not have occurred but for the actions of the drunk driver. It is not enough to prove negligence/breach of duty alone; you must prove that this negligence was the direct cause of your accident.
- Damages. Finally, after you have established the above three elements, you must prove that you suffered actual damages–either economic or noneconomic or both–as a result of your accident.
Types of Damages Recoverable after a Crash Caused by a Drunk Driver
As stated above, both economic and noneconomic damages are recoverable after a serious crash caused by a drunk driver. Our lawyers will advocate for your right to recover compensation for your:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Future healthcare expenses;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional anguish; and
- Value of a diminished quality of life.
In large part, the amount of compensation that you can recover comes from not only on the value of damages you have suffered, but also on the sources and amounts of insurance coverage available.
The Clock on the Statute of Limitations Is Ticking
Those who suffer injuries as a result of motor vehicle-related accidents have three years from the date of the accident to pursue compensation for harm. If you wait longer than three years from the date of your accident to file your suit, you may not be able to recover damages. We recommend meeting with a skilled attorney. You need someone with experience bringing claims against drunk drivers. Hire them as soon as possible following your accident.
Our Drunk Driver Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help
Working with a lawyer can make a significant difference in your accident claim. If a drunk driver hit you, you deserve representation from a qualified lawyer who will aggressively advocate for you. At the Law Office of Steve Roberts, we have the knowledge and reputation you can count on. Please call us today or send us a message to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.