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Motor vehicle accidents can result in serious injuries, but accidents that involve drunk drivers can be especially devastating for the victims involved.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2014, there were nearly 10,000 people who died in alcohol-impaired driving accidents, where at least one driver involved had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. Of those fatalities, approximately 160 of them occurred in Colorado.
If you have sustained injuries or lost a loved one in an accident that involved a drunk driver, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Colorado drunk driving injury lawyer right away. Call Zinda Law Group today for a free consultation with one of our Colorado drunk driving injury attorneys.
What Is a Drunk Driving Accident Case?
Car accidents occur everyday in Colorado, and in the worst cases, they can cause fatalities. Some accidents might be the result of a simple lapse of attention, or poor weather conditions that result in limited visibility for one or both of the drivers. However, in some cases, accidents can be the result of a driver driving while under the influence of alcohol.
In every state, including Colorado, driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal and can result in stiff criminal penalties. This is because alcohol impacts your ability to drive safely in a number of different ways. Because it is a depressant drug, it can lead to reduced reaction times or feelings of relaxation or drowsiness. In the most serious of cases, it may even lead to the driver falling asleep at the wheel.
If a drunk driver has caused an accident that led to your or your family member’s injuries, then you could have a drunk driving accident case. A drunk driving accident case could require the drunk driver to pay for any of the damages they caused.
Motor Vehicle Collision
Motor Vehicle Collision
Motor Vehicle Collision
Motor Vehicle Collision
Motor Vehicle Collision
Common Causes and Examples
Drunk driving accidents obviously will all entail a driver driving while under the intoxicating effects of alcohol. However, there are a number of ways in which a driver might get to the point of intoxication and a number of ways that an accident might occur. For example, a bar or restaurant may overserve a patron past the point of being able to safely drive. In other instances, the driver may simply drink too much at home or at a friend’s house. In any event, the types of accidents that can result include:
Rear End Collisions
There are a number of ways in which an impaired driver could end up in a rear end collision. For one, the impaired decision-making capabilities of a driver might lead them to stop in the middle of the road with little to no concern about the ability of someone behind them to stop in the time. Delayed reaction times could also mean that when the car in front of them is forced to stop, they are unable to stop in time to avoid collision. Whatever the reason, inebriated drivers are more likely to be involved in a rear end accident than sober drivers.
As every driver knows, the proper place to drive is on the right-hand of the street. However, an intoxicated driver could find themselves going the wrong way for a number of different reasons. For example, because alcohol leads to drowsiness and sleepiness, a drunk driver may find themselves drifting over the center line of a two-way road into oncoming traffic. Because alcohol also impairs decision-making ability, a drunk driver may also turn the wrong way onto a one-way street. However it occurs, a drunk driver who finds themselves going the wrong way on the street poses a huge danger to other drivers because of the potentially severe impact that can result from a head-on collision.
Another serious result of drinking to the point of inebriation is impaired vision. This can obviously pose a problem, especially at night where the visibility is already limited. This impaired vision can lead to dangerous situations for pedestrians who might be crossing the street in the periphery of a drunk driver.
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Joe's expertise in personal injury lawsuits helped alleviate the stress and anxiety that follows the aftermath of an auto accident. Thanks again Joe! You are truly an amazing, kind person and attorney! Zinda Law was incredibly amazing. I had the pleasure of working with Michael and his incredibly hard working team after my wreck in November. They went above and beyond keeping up with my health, bills, insurance companies, all that fun stuff I had no time for. After what felt like such a short amount of time, they were able to win every last penny from the "bad guys" insurance (loved that term). I couldn't happier, and even though I went through something traumatic, it was still the best experience I could have ever asked for. Thank you Michael and everyone that helped with my case, yall are the best!! 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I’m so happy and thankful to Zinda law group!!!!!! Zinda Law Group did an excellent job with my case. The staff was super friendly and super effective as far as communicating with me throughout the entire case. I highly recommend Zinda Law Group for your next case and for any of your future cases. 5 Stars across the board thank you so much for everything! Joh Harper, Priyonka Bhikha, and the rest of the team gave my case a quick and satisfactory conclusion. The attorney, Mr. Harper did an absolutely amazing job keeping me on the same page as far as the case goes. Honestly, if anybody is hurt in a car wreck or another personal injury case, I WILL STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU SPEAK TO THEM. I was in a motor vehicle collision about two years ago. From the minute I picked up the phone to speak with a representative to the case finally settling, it was a great experience. I worked with Burgess Williams and his team (Kathy, Ryan, and Linda) throughout the process. 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I would recommend them to anyone that's been involved in an accident and feels skeptical in engaging an attorney.When one gets into an accident, you're traumatized, confused, angry and helpless.That was me last year, getting all kinds of advice becomes your next norm, to use or not to use an attorney.I was in so much pain from my injuries but at the same time knew I had to act fast.I called Zinda Law Group for consultation, they took my case seriously and treated me with respect, they were very professional and understanding.Elizabeth, kudos to you, you're true to your word, Integrity should be your last name.Jason Aldridge my attorney went to work immediately, he assured me that all be well and I should concentrate on my healing and he will do the rest. Thank your Sir, You did just that.His team, Mara, Zuleyma and Andrew, they all become my support system, so professional and lots of respect in each and everyphone call or email. Thank you guys.I would recommend anyone to use Zinda Law Group. I honestly loved not dealing with the hospital bills while I was recuperating. It gave me peace of mind going through this process and Zinda took care of everything. They found awesome health providers for me and haven't had to worry about anything while they've been taking my case. I've been well informed, communicated with, responded to and understood by Zinda. They have been efficient and effective while working on my case and I'm so glad I choose to go with this law firm. When I was injured in a car accident in March of 2020 the insurance companies were not concerned with my well being. I called Zinda Law group & spoke with Reagan, who went over my concerns & later had Jono contact me. After reviewing my information with Jono my case was immediately put in motion. I worked mainly with Sam Thomas who truly was a blessing to me, he was very supportive & genuinely concerned with my well being, everything wasn't simply about the case it was about me being healed & getting the proper treatment that I needed. Sam was also emotionally supportive when I went through several losses in my family & is a great friend. In all everyone was extremely supportive & all worked for me which was quite a different legal experience for me from Law groups in my past. I was well supported, always informed, treated with respect & made the priority in all decisions. Zinda Law Group made sure I was compensated completely & that I didn't have financial stresses over hospital bills after all was said & done. Sam, Katrina, Mary Catherine, Reagan & Jono I just want to thank you & all of Zinda for the incredible experience & the wonderful caring people that you all are, you are truly Golden in your field. I am so glad I got in touch with Zinda! 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I never felt pressured with decision making and they went above & beyond to answer questions with satifactory explanations. This is a very professional group of attorneys & support staff. In addition, they were willing to meet me at a location more convenient for me. I appreciated their concern for my time. Could not speak highly enough of the firm. I was involved in my first accident and thankfully had Zinda Law Group supporting me through the scary time. Jono took care of me every step of the way. He made me feel like I was a priority through the entire process. A big thank you to Jono and the rest of the Zinda crew!
What to Do After a Drunk Driving Accident?
Getting hit by a drunk driver can shatter your life in a moment. While every accident is different and should therefore be handled differently, it is helpful to have a general idea of what to do after a drunk driving accident to ensure that your rights are protected and you are able to get back on your feet as soon as possible.
After an accident, there is nothing more important to think about than your physical health. Calling 911 is important that way you can receive emergency medical care. Make sure to follow any and all of the medical recommendations that emergency personnel or doctors give you as the case progresses.
Calling 911 right away is also important because it gives you the chance to start documenting exactly what happened and what injuries were related to the accident. In addition, in the case of a drunk driving accident, an officer will typically conduct field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer test on the other driver. These can become crucial pieces of evidence in your case going forward.
Document the Scene
If you are able to, it is a good idea to start documenting the accident as thoroughly as possible before leaving the scene. This should include making sure to get the name, contact, and insurance information from the other driver or drivers involved. In addition, contact information for any potential witnesses could become important. Also, while police may take pictures or videos as a part of their official investigation, it is a good idea to take your own pictures of the scene, including the condition of the vehicles involved and surrounding road conditions.
Contact a Colorado Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Accidents involving a drunk driver are very. The eventual success of your case can also be impacted by things that you do starting from the moment the accident occurs. For this reason, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced Colorado drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as you possibly can. A qualified lawyer may be able to help take care of the legal side of your case while you focus on recovery.
How Does a Drunk Driving Case Work?
Because all drunk driving accidents are different and have unique circumstances, no two drunk driving cases will ever be exactly the same. That being said, there are some commonalities in the process that drunk driving cases follow and certain elements that need to be proven in every case.
Contact a Colorado Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
The first step in the process for a victim should be to contact a reputable drunk driving accident attorney. Insurance companies or opposing parties may be trying to minimize your injuries or that amount that they could be required to legally pay you. A drunk driving accident attorney may be able to handle all communications with opposing parties and ensure that your case isn’t damaged before it even begins. They can also analyze all of the elements in your case and give you an idea of what to expect as far as the process.
Negotiate a Settlement
Many cases will resolve in a settlement before going to a trial. This is because going to trial can be an extensive, stressful, and expensive process for everyone involved. When negotiating a settlement, having an experienced lawyer on your side who understands the true value of your claim is critical. When negotiating a settlement, your attorney may be able to use their training and experience to maximize the strong elements of your claim while minimizing any weaknesses that your case could have.
What Are the Elements?
In order to prove fault after an accident, a plaintiff typically needs to prove a few different elements in order to succeed. First, they must show that the drunk driver owed them a duty of care. All drivers have the obligation to drive carefully, and this does not comport with drunk driving. The next step is to show breach of that duty, and driving while intoxicated is, in almost every case, going to be a violation of the duty to drive safely.
After showing duty and breach, which will generally be established by the very act of driving drunk, a plaintiff must next show the element of causation. The plaintiff must be able to prove that the breach of the negligent party caused their injuries in order to seek compensation. If there is an intervening cause of the injuries, then the victim will need to find another source of compensation. Finally, the victim has to show that they do, in fact, have compensable damages.
Who Can Be Sued?
In order for a victim to recover compensation, there needs to be someone from whom compensation can be recovered. In a drunk driving case, there a number of different people who could potentially be sued. A Colorado drunk driving accident attorney will likely be able to give you a good idea of who could be sued in your case.
The obvious first choice to sue is the drunk driver themselves. Drunk driving is an illegal and irresponsible thing to do. Because of this, if a drunk driver ends up causing an accident, they will most likely be a source of compensation for the victim.
Because drunk driving is illegal, there can often be a criminal case involved as well as a civil case. In the criminal case, the court may order the driver to pay restitution to their victims. However, a civil lawsuit may also be filed to cover other damages. Your attorney may be able to explain to you how criminal and civil cases work, and how you may be able to seek both restitution and civil damages.
A Bar or Restaurant
There are certain situations in which a bar or restaurant could actually be liable for a drunk driving accident that a patron gets into after drinking at their establishment. The law that governs this kind of situation is referred to as a “dram shop law.” Under Colorado’s dram shop law, a bar or other establishment can be held liable for a victim’s injuries if they served alcohol to someone who was visibly intoxicated and under 21 years of age. Your attorney may be able to let you know if this law applies.
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA BY THE NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (2016-2020)
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA (2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2021), JOE CAPUTO (2019-2021), BURGESS WILLIAMS (2019-2020), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020), JOE CAPUTO (2016 – 2020) & BURGESS WILLIAMS (2016-2017)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA & JOE CAPUTO
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
Damages refer to the monetary compensation that a victim seeks from a wrongdoer in order to be compensated for their injuries after an accident happens. There are many different kinds of damages that a case could entail but they will generally fall into one of a couple of different categories.
Economic damages refer to tangible damages that can be fairly easily quantified. They can include things like medical bills, damage to property, and any lost wages from being left unable to work. Medical bills certainly include medical bills that a victim has already incurred, but they may also be compensated for damages moving forward into the future. Economic damages will generally be proven by things like bills and receipts.
Non-economic damages refer to money that compensates a victim for the pain and suffering that they experience as a result of their injuries. As opposed to economic damages, which are objective and can be established to a fairly high degree of certainty, non-economic damages are more subjective and depend on exactly how a victim has been impacted by their injuries. Non-economic damages depend largely on the testimony of victims.
Whereas economic damages and non-economic damages are intended to compensate a victim and make them whole after they have been injured, punitive damages are directed at the wrongdoer. They are intended to serve as a punishment to the drunk driver and to warn other drivers not to drink and drive. Punitive damages are generally not a part of negligence cases.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations refers to the amount of time that an accident victim has from the time of the accident to file their claim. In Colorado, the general statute of limitations that applies to car accidents is three years. This means that victims of a drunk driving accident have three years starting from the date of their accident within which to file a claim or else risk having their claim be thrown out. Because of this, it is critical that you speak with an attorney to make sure that you can begin the litigation process as soon as possible.
In certain situations, it may be possible to get around or extend the statute of limitations. For example, if the victim of an accident is a minor, then the statute will likely not begin until the victim turns 18. There could also be situations where the victim of an accident doesn’t actually realize the full extent of their injuries until well after the accident happens. In this case, a victim might be able to bring a claim after the statute of limitations would have otherwise expired.
Why Hire Zinda Law Group?
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Colorado drunk driving injury lawyer as soon as possible. You shouldn’t have to worry about taking on the legal system alone while struggling with recovery or the loss of a family member.
Once you choose Zinda Law Group to represent you in your case, you can expect compassionate and dedicated representation by skilled attorneys experienced with drunk driving injury claims in Colorado. Our firm also operates on a contingency fee basis—you pay nothing unless we win your case.
Call Zinda Law Group today at (888) 564-5596 to receive your free consultation with one of our drunk driving injury lawyers in Colorado.