Denver Auto Accident Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident in Colorado, you may be feeling overwhelmed. At the same time that you are trying to recover your health and return to your normal life, you are also faced with bills, vehicle repairs or replacements, and lots of emotions connected to the accident: from trauma to anger to confusion.
Far too often, car accident injury victims feel too overwhelmed to think about why their accident happened and who was at fault. Even if they do ask those bigger questions, many don’t have the physical, mental, and emotional capacity to seek justice and compensation from at-fault parties.
At Zaner Harden Law, we understand that the whirlwind that happens after an accident and injury can make it difficult to think about legal matters. We want you to know that we are here to take the burden of those responsibilities off of your shoulders. Once on your team, we will handle the process from start to finish, and you can be certain that we secure the best possible results for your case.
Denver & Colorado Car Accident Statistics
Over 600 people died in vehicle accidents in Colorado in 2016–and cyclist and pedestrian deaths were at a 15-year high. The high number of fatal crashes is being blamed on a number of causes, including distracted driving related to mobile devices, driver and passengers without seat belts, and motorcycle riders who aren’t wearing helmets. The growing population of Colorado, along with an increase in aggressive driving and street racing, are also partially to blame.
Motor Vehicle Fatality Rate: U.S. vs Colorado
*Rate expressed per 10 million vehicle miles traveled
Let’s take a closer look at some of the numbers from last year’s fatal motor vehicle accidents in Colorado:
- 605 people died in vehicle accidents in Colorado last year. Of those, 380 were riding in cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks.
- 125 people were killed in Colorado motorcycle accidents
- 84 pedestrians were struck and killed by motor vehicles.
- 16 bicycle riders were struck and killed by motor vehicles.
- 196 people were killed in crashes that involved drugs or alcohol.
- 61 people died in car accidents the Denver area.
Colorado Motor Vehicle Fatalities by Month
In Colorado, motor vehicle fatalities peak during the summer months – led bySeptember with 75, followed closely by July (74) and June (69).
Common Car Accident Causes
We have hundreds of road-related laws in place to prevent accidents from taking place, and yet there are still hundreds of thousands of car accidents across the United States each year. While accidents may be caused for any number of reasons, the vast majority of accidents share a few common causes:
- Distracted driving. One of the most common causes of car accidents today is simply not paying attention. This problem has only increased with the growing popularity of mobile devices, though distracted driving can take on many forms, from eating in the car to putting on makeup while behind the wheel. Teens can most often fall victim to distracted driving.
- Driving under the influence. An astonishing one in three fatal accidents in the United States involves drugs or alcohol. Driving after drinking slows your reaction times and coordination even after you’ve only had a drink or two, and driving after more is both illegal and extremely dangerous.
- Speeding and reckless driving. Speeding is a factor in a large number of fatal crashes, especially because the faster you go, the greater the force of the impact. Young males are the most likely drivers to speed, drive recklessly, or engage in street racing.
- Improper turning and intersection violations. Many accidents take place at intersections: drivers ignore stop signs or stoplights, turn in front of other drivers, or strike pedestrians in crosswalks. Making a left turn in front of oncoming traffic is not only one of the most common causes of accidents, it can also result in serious injury.
- Drowsy driving. Driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, and most accidents take place when drivers are sleepiest: very late at night and very early in the morning. Always get off the road if you are nodding off at the wheel.
- Road conditions. Some accidents are caused by rain, snow, or ice on the roads. Others are caused by the roads themselves, which might have construction, potholes, or other issues. Road conditions can be a danger especially when paired with other causes of accidents, such as speeding or distracted driving.
- Poor road design. In some cases, accidents can be the result of a road design issue: poor signage, dangerous intersections, or confusing exchanges. In these instances, the municipality may be responsible for the accident, especially if similar accidents have taken place in the past.
- Defective auto parts. A significant number of car accidents and injuries are due to defective auto parts: electrical issues, bad tires, defective air bags, or bad breaks. Other accidents could be the fault of the mechanic who worked on your car.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Because of the large amounts of force involved in car accidents, injuries can be serious and can cause lifelong disabilities. Even minor injuries may rack up significant hospital bills that the at-fault party should be responsible for. While car accident injuries can take on a wide range of forms, some of the most common car accident injuries include:
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
- Neck, back, and spine injuries.
- Shoulder injuries.
- Soft tissue injuries.
- Fractures and bone breaks.
- Internal injuries.
- Knee, leg, and ankle injuries.
It is important to understand that if you can prove that another party was at fault for your injuries, they are responsible to cover your injury-related medical bills. This includes both past bills, which covered the immediate medical help after the crash, as well as future medical bills, which might include corrective surgeries, physical therapy, or ongoing needs for medication.
What Should You Do After A Vehicle Accident?
Car accidents trigger your “fight or flight” response: your body and mind both go into high alert. During this time, it can be difficult to remain calm and complete the tasks that will keep you safe, prevent further injury, and protect your legal rights. After a crash, here’s what you need to do in the minutes, hours, and days that follow.
- Put your health first. Because of the adrenaline flowing through you veins, you may not realize the extent of your injuries. It’s vital to have an emergency responder check you out and/or to see a doctor after the crash. Keep in mind that some injuries, especially head injuries, may not reveal themselves until hours or days after the crash.
- Get everyone somewhere safe. You are still in danger after a car accident happens. Get away from busy traffic, burning cars, or other dangers until help arrives. Provide assistance to other injury victims if you are well enough. Call for help if someone else has not.
- Collect information. The best way to understand what happened is to find facts. Get witness information, take pictures, and write down notes about the crash. Also be sure to get the name of the police officer that responds.
Never assume fault. It might be polite to say “I’m sorry” after a wreck, but assuming fault could mean losing the compensation that you need and deserve after an accident. In addition, don’t talk to the insurance company or give a recorded statement about the crash before speaking with a lawyer.
Talk to an attorney. Even accidents that seem clear cut might be surprising once the evidence is examined. Speaking with an attorney ensures that you take the correct legal actions after an accident and injury.
Colorado Auto Accident Laws
You don’t have to be intimately familiar with the law in order to file a car accident lawsuit or personal injury lawsuit–that’s what lawyers are there for. However, knowing a few basic Colorado car accident laws and personal injury laws is helpful in the wake of an accident. Here’s what you need to know:
- You have a limited amount of time to file. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit related to property damage or personal injury is three years from the date of the incident.
Colorado is a comparative fault state. If you were partially at fault for your accident, but another party or parties were also at fault, you can still file a lawsuit for damages. However, the percent that you were at fault will be subtracted from your award.
- Colorado is a “fault” insurance state. Coloradans who have been injured in an accident can file a claim with their own insurance company, file a “third party” claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party, or file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
- Colorado requires several types of insurance. Specifically, drivers must have $25,000 in bodily injury insurance, $50,000 in coverage if more than one person is injured, and $15,000 in coverage for property damage. In addition, drivers must buy $5,000 in medical payment coverage.
Contact A Knowledgeable, Experienced Denver Car Accident Lawyer Today
Even if you are unsure who was at fault for your accident, or even if you aren’t sure if you want to pursue a case, speaking to an attorney gives you the opportunity to tell your story, learn your legal options, and find out what plan of action is best for you and your family.
At Zaner Harden Law, our compassionate, experienced attorneys are here to help you. We take on a limited number of cases so that all of our time and attention is focused on getting you the compensation and justice you deserve. We invite you to request a free, confidential consultation with one of our car accident attorneys–so that you can get your questions answered and feel confident about the next step. Call us today or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment and meet our team.
Apply for the 2017 ZHL Auto Accident Scholarship
Zaner Harden Law in Denver, Colorado is sponsoring a $2,000 scholarship for students who have either been injured in a car crash or who have a blood-relative that was injured in a car crash. The small personal injury firm has seen firsthand how a car accident can turn a person’s life upside down.