5 Common Colorado Accidents and How To Avoid Them

With over 70 million visitors each year, the number of Colorado accidents continues to climb. Some are more common (and avoidable) than others, so bringing awareness to the state’s hazards and risk factors helps prevent unnecessary accident injury. It’s our goal to inform tourists and residents alike of the types of day-to-day occurrences that lead people to file a claim for personal injury or seek the best accident attorney. Here are five accidents in Denver Colorado and how you can avoid them.

1. Water

As the snow on the mountains melts each spring, it fills Colorado’s lakes and rivers. Fishing, boating, jet skiing, and kayaking are just some of the water-based activities many people enjoy. And we’re right there with them—the weather during the summer months is absolutely perfect for these things. With so many people rushing to the water, however, boating and jet ski accidents in Colorado are prevalent. With experience as a boating accident lawyer, Zaner Harden Law has a few suggestions to reduce the risks.

How To Avoid Water-Based Colorado Accidents

  • Be responsible with your drinking. If you’re operating a boat or jet ski, you should not consume alcohol as it impairs your judgment and lowers your reaction time.
  • Drive defensively. Give other watercrafts plenty of space and assume they don’t see you. Be ready to get out of the way if needed.
  • Carry a life jacket for everyone. Whether you’re on a pontoon or another type of water vehicle, make sure each passenger has a life vest in case there is an emergency or they can’t swim.

2. Construction

It doesn’t matter where you’re located; construction accidents can happen. The machinery that workers use to build roads and buildings makes these types of events even more dangerous. A personal injury accident related to construction work can sometimes even be fatal for either the worker or bystander involved.

How to Avoid Construction-Related Injuries

  • When driving, go slower than you need to and heed speed limit signs. It’s tempting to zip through construction zones going 40-65 MPH, but that puts everyone’s life in danger. Construction workers try to stay within the designated areas, but occasionally unexpected things happen. If you’re going the posted construction zone speed, you can more easily stop suddenly if needed.
  • You can avoid a pedestrian accident if you are aware of your surroundings. If there is construction going on near commercial or residential areas, do your best to avoid the location. Take an alternate route if possible or walk on the other side of the street.

3. Roadways

In 2016, over 600 people were killed on the road in Colorado. Between out-of-state drivers, thousands of bicyclists, public transportation vehicles, motorcyclists, and semi trucks, vehicle accidents represent a huge portion of injuries and deaths in the state. Good Colorado accident lawyers can help victims recover some of the costs from these incidents, but hopefully, they can be avoided altogether. These are some ways to reduce the risk of being involved in a fatality on the road.

How to Prevent Auto or Pedestrian Accidents

  • Give public transportation vehicles extra room. Since they make lots of sudden stops, a bus accident can happen in a split second when another driver looks down to change the radio. Allowing extra space protects you and the passengers.
  • Avoid distractions while driving. This means you should try not to fiddle with temperature settings, eat food, hold a pet, be on your smartphone, or do your makeup while moving.
  • Similar to the strategy for boating, drive defensively on the road. Avoid hovering in other cars’ blind spots, anticipate dangerous situations, and have an “exit plan” at all times.
  • Never drive impaired. Many people think that it’s just alcohol and other substances that you shouldn’t consume before driving. That is entirely true, but being tired can be just as dangerous as being drunk. You’re slower to react and more likely to nod off on the freeway. If you feel too drowsy, let someone else drive or wait until you can get some rest.

4. Winter

When the colder months come around, you know what that means—snow! Even for Colorado natives, driving when the roads are icy can be a huge challenge. Heck, even pedestrians have to worry about slip and fall accidents (even though it’s just a bruised ego most of the time). Here is some advice for the snow-filled months.

How to Stay Safe During the Winter

  • Slow down while driving. Black ice is a real (and invisible) danger that will send your car skidding, sliding, or rolling when you slam on the brakes. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, so speeding isn’t a temptation.
  • Take it easy on your turns. If you’re pulling up to the desired cross street and realize you need to use evasive action to turn in time—just don’t. Make a safe U-turn when you can to avoid the imminent skid or wipeout.
  • Pull over when you don’t have visibility. Even if you “know the roads like the back of your hand,” not everyone around you does. Either wait until a later time to drive or pull over and turn your lights off if you’re already on the road.

5. Cycling

One of the most popular ways to commute around Colorado is by bicycle. The beautiful weather, bike-friendly roads, and plentiful trails make it an optimal place to do so. Unfortunately, that means the risk of getting in a bicycle accident is quite high without safety considerations.

How to Avoid Bicycle Injuries and Accidents

  • Drivers should leave at least three feet between their vehicle and a bicyclist whenever passing. We highly recommend leaving a full car’s width (about six feet), so even if the rider falls off their bike, a catastrophe won’t happen.
  • Bicycle riders should wear bright clothing, especially at night, to increase visibility.
    When riding after dark, a flashing headlight and taillight are essential. Not only are the lights required by Colorado law, but they also reduce the chances of an accident by alerting drivers to your location and movements.
  • Make sure your bicycle is equipped with reflectors.
  • Use your head and protect it: never ride a bike without a helmet. The chances of surviving an accident without one are meager—keep yourself safe with a five-star helmet.

Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time, not just here in Colorado. The best thing you can do is make yourself aware of any potential dangers and take reasonable precautions against them. Whenever you find yourself dealing with an accident or personal injury, make sure to get counsel from qualified, experienced attorneys in Denver. The lawyers at Zaner Harden Law encourage you to reach out with any questions you may have. We will help you resolve any accidents that occur in Colorado and get any compensation you deserve.

7 Things Every Colorado Tourist Should Know This Summer

The mid-year months draw thousands of tourists to Colorado every year, and it’s not hard to explain why. The weather is pleasant, mountains are covered in vibrant-colored flowers (and perfect for hikers of all skill levels), and can’t-miss festivals happen nearly every weekend across the state. There are a variety of activities for every traveler, plus beautiful weather to accompany them.

If all of these things sound dreamy, you’re not alone. Travelers come from far and wide to experience the culture and inspiring landscape of Colorado. And although the state is a veritable paradise, there are a few things that every tourist should know (plus some must-see destinations) to ensure a memorable vacation, free of a personal injury accident.

1. The Slopes Still Have Lots to Offer in the Summer

Despite the fact that most peaks are no longer covered with snow in the summer, they still offer lots of enjoyable activities. You can choose from disc golf, yoga on the mountain top, zip lining, mountain biking, and dozens more offerings unique to each location. You might be safe from the slip and fall accidents that novice skiers face each winter, but you’re not completely exempt from other mishaps. A ski resort accident is more likely when tourists don’t follow safety instructions, wander off designated paths, and try to push past their limits. Use common sense when adventuring around the mountains and resorts.

2. Be “Cool as a Cucumber”

Locals are friendly, patient, and casual most of the time. With picturesque mountains on all sides and wonderful weather during the majority of the year, is that any surprise? Therefore, if a tourist comes around with a short temperature, rude attitude, or impatient actions, that person is not going to make many friends. Instead, we recommend trying to enjoy the relaxed Colorado atmosphere. Chat with people while waiting in a line (that you might think is taking forever), and stop to enjoy the views instead of huffing and puffing at the hiker who is traveling more slowly. You’ll probably find that it’s a welcome (and stress-relieving) change of pace.

3. The Hidden Treasures

Millions seek it, it’s off the beaten path, and it’s simply breathtaking. Hanging Lake, which is a thousand feet up Glenwood Canyon, is one of the thousands of “hidden secrets” in Colorado. Over time, though, it gained more fame and people now find it relatively difficult to visit. The main obstacle is that the parking lot fills up before 9 am (with no alternate lots available), leaving visitors with no other parking options. Sometimes, people leave cars along the road illegally or idle in the lot (blocking emergency exits) to wait for a space to open up.

When it comes to seeing these Colorado treasures, travelers unknowingly get tunnel vision. In other words, they get so focused on seeing the destination, that they throw laws and logic out the window. We understand that it’s unfortunate to get so close to a long-awaited experience, only to have to turn around; however, engaging in dangerous or illegal behaviors to see it puts your life and the lives of others in danger.

4. Watch For Walkers

Many Colorado cities are highly walkable, meaning locals and travelers alike are constantly crossing streets (sometimes outside of designated crosswalks), across driveways, and along the roads. Out-of-state drivers aren’t accustomed to the roads and number of people on foot. The combination of these two factors can lead to a severe pedestrian accident. It’s common for these drivers to turn into a store or restaurant without looking for walkers in the sidewalk or round a corner without considering the “walk” sign. Make it your top priority to look twice for people on foot, or you’ll need to speak with a pedestrian accident lawyer.

5. If You Indulge, Don’t Get Behind the Wheel

Whether you’re looking to explore the bars, Denver Beer Fest, or check out the dispensaries, make smart, informed decisions. While it is legal to smoke and drink for those of age, getting in a Denver car accident when under the influence will have serious consequences. You’re not only putting your own life at risk but the lives of other innocent people as well. If you’re unsure what the laws and regulations are in Colorado, get clarification from knowledgeable lawyers in Denver.

6. Pitch a Tent

Surround yourself with the sounds, smells, and sights of Colorado national forests in one of the scenic campgrounds. You have a range of features to choose from including:

  • Private and intimate,
  • Lakeside,
  • Bike trail-adjacent,
  • Kayaking accessible,
  • Nearby fishing,
  • Popular and well-frequented,
  • Tree-filled,
  • Close to hiking trails, and
  • Filled with wildlife.

You’ll surely be able to find the perfect campground for your preferences. Whether you want some alone time in nature for meditation or are looking to make friends and explore. A few campsites we recommend are:

  • Turquoise Lake Recreation Area in San Isabel National Forest,
  • Pawnee Campground in Arapaho National Forest, and
  • Rosy Lane Campground in Gunnison National Forest.

The camping possibilities are exciting, but make sure you meet your food, water, and first-aid needs, though. Many of these grounds can get chilly at night as well, which makes it vital to pack appropriately.

7. Join the “Fourteeners Club”

Colorado is home to fifty-four 14,000-foot+ peaks. As you can probably guess, that’s where the “14ers club” name originated. Natives and tourists alike strive to hike all of these mountains for bragging rights and personal achievement, but not everyone is cut out for these strenuous hikes. If you decide to take on the challenge, know your limits and put safety first. That’s the easiest way to avoid injuries. Furthermore, you should wear proper hiking boots to avoid sprained ankles; carry more than enough water to prevent dehydration; bring protein-filled snacks to sustain you throughout the journey. If you compromise your well-being just to reach the top, you’ll miss out on the other wondrous things Colorado has to offer.

No matter what you decide to do while vacationing, keep these bits of advice in mind. You’ll set yourself up for an amazing trip filled with irreplaceable memories. On the other hand, if you do find yourself in a bit of trouble while traveling in Colorado, don’t hesitate to discuss your situation with the best personal injury lawyer in the state. Whether you are dealing with a claim for personal injury or an automobile accident, make sure to consult a reputable lawyer who has your best interests in mind.

What You Need to Know About Settlements

A settlement or jury award will never fully make up for the time spent, injuries sustained, and inconveniences incurred because of your specific incident. However, money is the only thing our system has available to help compensate you for your damages and losses. While we would never say that the money makes it worth going through all the pain, doctor visits, and further inconveniences, we at Zaner Harden Law can promise you that we will work tirelessly to provide you the very best result. Rest assured, we make the insurance companies lay out every dollar on the table that they have to spend on your case and we will get you the maximum value possible for your case. The best way to find out if past clients are happy with an attorney’s services (and the result) is to look for online reviews of that firm. Check out sites like Google, Avvo, and Thumbtack. These are independent sites that accept reviews of all attorneys. Be wary of looking at reviews that are just posted on an attorney’s website as there is not way to verify that those are actual authentic reviews.

How Settlement Awards Are Disbursed

Once your case is settled for a certain amount, there is still a lot of work that must be done before you can get your check. The check from the insurance company must first be deposited into the firm’s client trust account. Receiving a check, depositing it, and then letting the deposit settle with the bank can sometimes take several weeks.

Once the check has settled, Zaner Harden Law will then have to take a close look at your entire file and evaluate a number of factors, including how much you owe back to health insurance or healthcare providers. This is a critical step because your health insurance, lien company, or other providers have a legal right to be paid back for any treatment they provided. If you have a skilled attorney, he or she will be able to negotiate these amounts down to as little as possible so more goes into your pocket.

Not all lawyers will do this; some firms will hire an outside company to negotiate with the insurance company and then they will take money out of your settlement for this service. Zaner Harden Law does not do this; Zaner Harden Law negotiates these balances down in-house and considers it part of the attorney fee you are paying them.

Once the balances have been reduced, the firm will then draft a “distribution statement” which will break down your settlement in great detail and will show you how much money will be going into your pocket. At that point, the firm will schedule a time for you to come in, review, and sign the distribution statement. If you have any questions about your settlement, you are of course free to ask them before signing anything. Once the distribution statement is signed, the firm will hand you a check which you can then deposit in any bank account with your name on it.

Tax Issues to Be Aware Of

The general rule regarding personal injury settlements is that they are tax-free. The underlying logic of this is that a settlement is not “income” like a salary or bonus is – it is money which is needed to make you whole and bring you back to where you were before the crash occurred. For this reason, the government is generally not entitled to any taxes from the settlement.

However, some parts of the settlement may be taxable – including parts of the settlement that are considered wage loss. Clients who do have questions about the tax implications of their settlement are advised to speak to their accountant or a tax attorney.

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