The number of people killed by those texting and driving is too high to ignore. In 2020 over 10,000 car crashes involved distracted drivers in Colorado. Of those, nearly 70 deaths and over 1,470 injuries occurred as a result. The data shows these numbers are increasing every year.
The partners at Zaner Harden Law are respected legal leaders standing on the front lines of this issue. With their unique experience and national recognition in the field of distracted driving, the partners specialize in bringing high-value cases against distracted drivers. Further, cognizant of the danger as it continues to grow, the firm stays up to date on the science behind how distracted behavior affects one’s ability to drive.
At least eight people each day are killed in a distracted driving crash. A distraction is anything that takes your eyes or attention away from the road and others around you. The U.S. Centers For Disease Control (CDC) lists three main types of distracted driving.
Manual distraction is taking your hands off the wheel. It can include eating or drinking, putting on make-up, programming a GPS, or using a phone.
Visual distraction means taking your eyes off the road. You could be looking at your GPS directions, looking at something a passenger points out or even drifting off to sleep.
Cognitive distraction essentially means your mind is wandering. If you’re using a phone, then you’re cognitively, visually, and manually distracted.
Did you know that more than half of Denver drivers report being distracted most of the time on the road? The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) conducted a driver survey recently and noted the most common types of driver distractions in the Mile High City were:
Texting and driving is another chief distraction, with 41% of respondents admitting to sending a message behind the wheel and 54% admitting to reading one.
If you’re traveling 55 miles per hour and are distracted for just a few seconds, you’ve traveled the equivalent of a football field with your eyes closed. You may not have time to correct your trajectory if you notice another car slamming on its brakes or a pedestrian walking in front of you. Distracted driving can cause multi-car pile-ups, too, affecting dozens of people.
Anyone on the road can be at risk of injury if a distracted driver strikes them, but some people are more at risk for catastrophic injuries than others.
Parking lots can be especially dangerous for pedestrians, as drivers may be distracted by looking for a parking spot or making sure that they’re in the right location. Or, a distracted driver may not see a pedestrian walk into a crosswalk and hit them.
Hitting another car when you’re distracted is a very real risk. Another driver could suddenly change lanes without signaling or slam on their brakes to avoid something on the road. If you’re not paying attention, you can’t react in time.
Motorcycles have a much smaller profile than other types of vehicles. Common accidents include drivers not seeing a motorcycle in their blind spot when changing lanes or merging. If you’re distracted, you likely aren’t checking your mirrors and looking over your shoulder to check your blind spot.
Cyclists may use the full lane when riding in Denver, although many stick to the edge of the right lane. You may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting a much slower-moving cyclist.
When you’re in a crash, your passengers are in danger too. This means distracted drivers have the potential to harm several people with just one crash.
The minutes after a collision are painful and chaotic, and it’s hard to know what to do. Following these steps can help you protect yourself and your passengers from further harm and give your Denver distracted driving accident lawyer the best opportunity to make a strong case for damages against the other driver.
Move your vehicle out of traffic if possible. Otherwise, try to move yourself and your passengers out of the vehicle to avoid a follow-up crash.
Visually assess your condition so you can tell the 911 operator where and how you’re injured. Your body releases adrenaline after the collision, which masks pain. So, you could be seriously injured and still not feel hurt.
Always call 911 after a car collision, even if the other driver tries to convince you not to. First, EMS responders are trained to diagnose injuries that car accident victims may not realize they have, giving you the best chance to fully recover. Second, the responding police officer will complete an official crash report.
Colorado law requires all car accidents that cause at least $1,000 in property damage or any injury to be reported within 60 days of the collision. The police report satisfies this requirement. The police report contains valuable information about the crash, including all relevant details and an official narrative.
The only person you should make a statement about the accident to are the responding police officer and your lawyer. Don’t talk to the other driver, their insurance company, or their lawyer; refer them to your attorney.
Most insurance companies require their customers to notify them of a collision, even if their customers didn’t cause the wreck.
Any photos or videos you can take of the accident scene and your injuries help your lawyer build their case.
You may not be hurt enough to require a trip to the emergency room, but you should still get a medical evaluation after the wreck. Your doctor’s records link your injuries to the crash, proving that you were hurt in the collision.
If you didn’t cause the collision, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages against the distracted driver. A Zaner Harden Law car accident attorney can advise you of the strength of your case and your options.
In Colorado, it is illegal to text and drive. Unfortunately, the police have almost no power to enforce this law, which has led to very few arrests. Knowing there isn’t much legal risk, most drivers don’t take the law seriously.
If a distracted driver caused you a personal injury, civil courts still have remedies for victims. These go above and beyond what the law generally allows. As a result, you may be able to pursue punitive damages to hold negligent drivers accountable.
The statute of limitations to file a car accident lawsuit in Colorado is three years from the date of the collision.
Colorado personal injury law permits drivers to claim three types of damages in a personal injury case.
Economic damages are your actual losses, those you can put a dollar amount on, like:
Non-economic damages consist of non-quantifiable losses you suffered. Things like pain and suffering, emotional trauma or PTSD, or a diminished quality of life cannot be replaced. Nonetheless, you deserve compensation for them.
Non-economic damages are calculated as a factor of your economic damages, so the worse you’re injured, the higher your non-economic damages will be.
If the distracted driver was egregiously reckless or out of control, a Colorado judge may assess punitive damages. This is financial punishment for the defendant’s actions and a deterrent to others who may be tempted to make similarly bad choices behind the wheel.
The distracted driver is usually the party liable for your injury. However, in some cases, another party could also be held accountable. For example, if a distracted semi-truck driver hit you, then your lawyer may find that the trucking company is also liable for the accident.
If the trucking carrier hired someone with a track record of reckless driving or who has a spotty record, then the carrier is also liable for allowing the driver to operate a fleet vehicle.
Distracted driving cases rest on proving negligence. This is a four-step legal process, and your car accident attorney must prove each of these to hold the defendant responsible:
We build a case proving each step to secure your settlement.
Insurance companies don’t make money by paying out large settlements. The other driver’s insurance company will minimize or even deny your valid claim or attempt to blame the accident on you.
It’s important to have legal representation after a collision because under Colorado’s comparative negligence laws, you cannot collect compensation in your case if you’re found more than 50% responsible for the crash.
Car accident injuries can change your life. Many people suffer from one or more of these:
Healing can be long and painful, with no guarantee of a full recovery.
You’re required to report the crash to your own insurance company, so simply stick to the facts. The other driver’s insurance adjuster will contact you fairly soon after the wreck, asking for a statement. You have no obligation to give one; simply refer the adjustor to your Denver distracted driving accident lawyer.
Your medical records link your injuries to the wreck, but the longer you wait, the more likely the other driver’s insurance company is to claim that you were hurt from any other cause besides the accident.
Many car accident injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning that they represent you on the contingency they win your case. Fees are assessed out of the final award; if the lawyer doesn’t win, they don’t get paid.
The Zaner Harden legal team is by your side from the initial consultation through the conclusion of your case. Here is what you can expect from your Denver personal injury attorney.
We offer a free initial consultation for all potential clients. Our years of experience mean we accurately advise you of the strength of your claim. Bring as much documentation and evidence as possible from your crash, like the police report and your medical records.
Witness interviews, analysis of photos and videos, your medical records, and information in the police report are all part of the evidence we use to build your case. We also conduct formal witness interviews as part of the discovery process and will represent you when the other driver’s lawyer interviews you during discovery.
Every choice in your case is yours, but we tailor our advice so you have the best opportunity for the highest settlement possible. We may advise you when the other party’s offer is likely as much as you can expect or let you know when you have a strong enough case to pursue a trial.
We negotiate on your behalf with the distracted driver’s lawyer and insurance company in mediation. Our Denver car accident attorneys are tenacious negotiators and fight for every dollar you’re owed.
If we cannot reach a fair settlement for you, we take your claim to Colorado civil court and argue before a judge and jury. If your case goes to trial, we prepare you for possible testimony and explain what each motion and argument posed by the other party means.
At Zaner Harden Law, we have a clear understanding of distracted driving and a front-line position on the issue. That makes us uniquely positioned to use Colorado law to help victims and the families of victims of distracted drivers.
The unfortunate reality is that victims can’t prove other drivers were distracted without powerful legal knowledge and resources. Therefore, it is critical to seek counsel from an experienced Denver distracted driving accident lawyer.
Some of our most recent victories include:
We focus on winning and have the skill and resources to litigate even the most complex distracted driving cases.
Have you or someone you love been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver? You have legal rights to seek compensation. Call Zaner Harden Law for a free and confidential consultation at (720) 734-8335 or complete our Free Case Evaluation Form, and we will contact you.