Drunk Driving Injury Lawyers Serving Denver and All of Colorado
The Denver drunk driving victim attorneys at Burg Simpson Law Firm have been helping people injured by intoxicated drivers for more than 40 years. If you or someone you love have been injured by an impaired driver in a motor vehicle accident—regardless of what they were under the influence of—you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact one of our drunk driving injury attorneys by filling out a FREE case evaluation form or calling our Denver office today.
Drunk driving remains a significant public safety concern in Colorado, contributing to multiple road accidents, injuries, and fatalities every year. However, while one out of every three traffic accident deaths in Colorado involves an impaired driver, not every accident is fatal. Thousands of injuries—many serious and life-altering—occur in these accidents as well, often leaving victims with significant damages and questions about how to seek fair compensation.
The Problem Is Bigger Than Alcohol
Many people think of impaired drivers as those operating under the influence of alcohol alone. This is no longer the case. A recent report from the Colorado Department of Criminal Justice found that close to 20% of drivers screened for drugs test positive for multiple substances, with THC being the most common.
The legalization of marijuana has caused a spillover into the state’s roads. According to the most recent data from the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Traffic Area report, since its legalization, traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for THC in Colorado have nearly doubled. Add to this recent finding from the AAA Foundation that hundreds of drivers on the road may be impaired by prescription medications at any given time, and the scope of risks becomes all too clear.
The Denver drunk driving victim attorneys at Burg Simpson are dedicated to holding impaired drivers accountable for the injuries, deaths, and destruction they leave in their wake. Call us today at 303-792-5595 for a FREE and confidential case review where we can listen to your story, discuss your options, and help you choose the best path forward.
Colorado Drunk Driving Accident Laws
In Colorado, a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is charged when an individual operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. The law states that if a person’s ability to drive is substantially impaired by alcohol or drugs, they can be charged with DUI. This does not necessarily require a specific BAC level.
DUI laws apply to marijuana as well. The state sets a BAC equivalent for THC at 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. If a driver’s blood test shows this level of THC or higher, it can lead to a DUI charge, even if alcohol is not present in the driver’s system.
In addition to DUI, Colorado recognizes DWAI (Driving While Ability impaired) which comes into play when a person’s BAC is between 0.05% and less than 0.08%. While this is below the legal limit for a DUI charge, it still indicates a level of impairment that can affect driving abilities.
Colorado enforces zero-tolerance laws for underage drinking and driving (UDD). Drivers under the age of 21 face penalties if they have a BAC of 0.02% or higher.
An individual is presumed to be driving under the influence if their BAC is 0.08% or higher or if they have 5 nanograms or more of THC per millimeter of blood. This presumption means that if a person is at or above one of these legal limits, they can be charged with DUI regardless of their perceived level of impairment.
Colorado’s DUI Penalties and Express Consent Law
By driving in Colorado, motorists give their express consent to submit to chemical testing (like breath or blood tests) if they are suspected of DUI. Refusal to take these tests can result in automatic license suspension under state law.
The penalties for DUI and DWAI in Colorado can include fines, jail time, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol education and treatment programs. The severity of the penalties often depends on the driver’s BAC level and any previous DUI/DWAI offenses. Penalties are increased when a driver refuses to submit to chemical testing. These can include an interlock ignition device when the license is reinstated, requirements to carry SR22 insurance, and more depending on the specific charges.
It is important to remember that, while driving under the influence is illegal, criminal charges have no bearing on the rights of drunk driving accident victims to seek redress through civil proceedings. Talking to one of the Denver drunk driving injury lawyers at our firm is the best way to understand your rights and determine how to move forward with your claim.
Common DUI Accident Injuries
Victims of drunk driving accidents often suffer from a variety of severe and life-altering injuries. These injuries may require immediate medical attention and also lead to long-term physical, psychological, and economic consequences. When you sustain a serious injury in an accident with an intoxicated driver, you have every right to hold the responsible party accountable and seek compensation for all of these damages.
Drunk driving accident victims in Denver often sustain injuries such as:
- Whiplash: Whiplash occurs when the force of a crash causes the neck to snap quickly back and forth. While often considered a “minor” injury, whiplash can lead to neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and sometimes chronic and debilitating discomfort.
- Broken Bones: Common fractures in car accidents include broken ribs, arms, legs, and pelvic bones. These injuries can be very serious, requiring surgery and long-term rehabilitation.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury. TBI can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage, affecting cognitive functions, memory, emotional well-being, motor skills, and more. The damage sustained through TBI is often permanent.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries can be devastating, potentially resulting in partial or complete paralysis of the limbs. Damage to the spinal cord can also lead to loss of sensation and motor function in various parts of the body. It may be impossible to regain these functions after SCI.
- Internal Organ Damage: The force of a car accident can cause internal bleeding and damage to organs like the liver, kidneys, spleen, and lungs. Such injuries may not be immediately apparent but can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. This is one of the most compelling reasons to seek medical attention after an accident with a drunk driver, even if you feel fine.
- Disfigurement: Lacerations, burns, deep punctures, broken bones, and similar issues can result in permanent scarring and disfigurement. These injuries can limit mobility, cause severe pain, and lead to significant emotional discomfort.
The long-term impact of drunk driving accident injuries can be extensive, including chronic pain, disability, the need for long-term medical care, and substantial emotional and financial stress. At Burg Simpson, our Denver drunk driving victim attorneys take time to understand the economic and non-economic damages associated with these accidents and build cases to seek the full compensation our clients deserve.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Injuries in a Drunk Driving Accident?
Drunk and intoxicated drivers can be held accountable for injuries they cause in auto accidents. However, in Colorado, liability in drunk driving accidents can extend beyond the drunk driver as well.
Dram Shop & Social Host Liability
Vendors with a license to sell alcohol (dram shops) can be held responsible for injuries caused by a visibly intoxicated individual they served (see Colo. Rev. Stat. § 44-3-801). If a vendor serves a patron who is visibly intoxicated and that patron causes an accident, both the patron and the vendor can be held liable.
Social hosts can be held liable for injuries caused by an underage drinker if they knowingly allow minors to consume alcohol at an event. However, social hosts cannot be held liable for injuries resulting from accidents caused by guests who are at least 21 years of age—even if they are visibly intoxicated.
Employer Liability for Impaired Colorado Truck Drivers
Employers may be liable for accidents caused by employees driving under the influence. This includes scenarios where employers negligently hire or supervise employees, such as failing to conduct proper background checks or not enforcing safety policies. It can also occur under the doctrine of vicarious liability. Under this doctrine, employers can be held responsible for the actions of their employees if they are acting within the scope of their employment. However, if the employee deviates from their work-related duties, the employer may not be held liable.
Burg Simpson’s Denver drunk driving accident attorneys won a seven-figure jury verdict against a major car rental company for their employee’s irresponsible behavior on the road. It was the eighth-largest jury verdict in Colorado that year. Our team of experienced lawyers and legal professionals has secured several significant verdicts and settlements against individuals, corporations, government entities, and others who cause serious injury. We are here to review your claim free of cost and obligation to identify all liable parties and hold them to full account for the damage they have caused.
What Kind of Compensation Is Available for Drunk Driving Accident Victims?
Victims of drunk driving accidents in Colorado are entitled to a range of compensation to cover the damages they have suffered. These include:
- Medical Expenses: For hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and ongoing medical care.
- Lost Wages: For lost income and projected future losses due to the inability to work.
- Property Damage: For the cost of vehicle repairs or replacement.
- Pain and Suffering: For physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident.
Drunk driving accident victims can seek compensation for many different types of damages. This can include home modifications and assistive technologies made necessary by the injury, in-home care, various types of therapy, and all related services. They may also be able to seek compensation for punitive damages, which are awarded in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing. Burg Simpson Colorado is dedicated to holding irresponsibly impaired drivers accountable for the injuries, deaths, and destruction they leave in their wake. When handling these claims for our clients, we typically pursue punitive damages against impaired drivers, particularly those who cause serious injury or death.
Statute of Limitations & Damage Caps on Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving accident victims have three years to file a claim in the state of Colorado (see Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-101). It is best to speak to an experienced Denver drunk driving injury lawyer before this time limit approaches to help protect your rights and ensure you can seek the full damages your injuries demand.
Generally speaking, there is no cap on economic damages resulting from drunk driving accidents in Colorado. There is, however, a cap on non-economic damages like physical pain and emotional suffering. This cap is periodically adjusted for inflation. There is also a cap on punitive damages in Colorado, equal to the total amount of compensatory damages awarded. During your initial consultation, we can discuss Colorado personal injury damage caps in greater detail to help you understand how much you may be able to seek.
It is important to remember that, while there are limited caps on most drunk driving accident injury claims, damages in dram shop and social host liability cases are capped at $150,000. This includes both economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
The Drunk Driving Injuries Claim Process in Colorado
Civil actions, such as drunk driving accident injury claims, are initiated by victims seeking compensation. While each claim is unique, many follow a similar path. This includes:
- Consultation with a drunk driving injury attorney to discuss the specifics of the case and understand your legal options.
- Investigation and evidence gathering to obtain police reports, medical records, and other relevant information.
- Filing the claim with the court.
- Attempting to settle with the other party or their insurance company.
- Going to trial if a settlement cannot be reached.
Victims of drunk driving accidents in Colorado can file a personal injury claim irrespective of criminal charges against the responsible driver. While criminal proceedings can influence civil cases, they are unrelated. One seeks criminal penalties, such as jail time, license suspension, and fines. The other seeks compensatory justice for victims of injuries caused by drunk drivers.
The lawyers at Burg Simpson have a proven track record of successfully representing victims of drunk driving accidents both in and out of the courtroom. With extensive knowledge of Colorado’s DUI and DWAI laws, we work tirelessly to build strong cases for our clients and take cases as far as necessary to help ensure justice is served.
Contact Our Denver Drunk Driving Victim Attorneys for FREE
To schedule your FREE consultation with one of our Denver drunk driving injury lawyers, contact Burg Simpson online or call us at 303-792-5595 today. Our experienced personal injury lawyers serve victims of drunk driving accidents living in Colorado Springs, Boulder, Fort Collins, and throughout the state.