Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the worst mistakes a driver can make. Yet, drunk drivers constantly plague the streets of Colorado, causing many serious and fatal collisions each year.
In 2017, the Colorado Department of Transportation reported 177 deaths from alcohol-impaired drivers. This accounted for 27 percent of all traffic deaths.
If you were injured or tragically lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, contact the Lakewood drunk driving accident lawyers of James L. Finegan, P.C. We provide personalized legal services and have helped victims with cases for over 30 years.
An attorney can protect you from tactics an insurance company will use to devalue your claim. With an attorney advocating for your best interests, you will understand the true value of your lawsuit and have the power to negotiate maximum monetary recovery.
While you focus on healing, your Lakewood drunk driving accident attorney can handle the whole legal process, fighting to obtain the fair value of your claim – including what you may need in the future. A lawyer can investigate your drunk driving accident, gather evidence and hire qualified experts to strengthen your case.
In Colorado, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content level at or above 0.08 percent. This is a crime called driving under the influence (DUI). A DUI criminal conviction can result in punishments such as thousands of dollars in fines and jail time, as well as the temporary loss of driving privileges.
Driving under the influence can also result in civil penalties. It is your responsibility as the injured party to initiate a civil claim; a prosecutor will initiate a criminal case, on the other hand. A civil lawsuit against the drunk driver’s insurance company could result in payment for your accident-related medical costs and property repairs. You may also be eligible for punitive damages to punish the drunk driver for his or her recklessness.
You may be able to hold another party financially responsible for a drunk driving accident in addition to the intoxicated driver. The dram shop or establishment that gave the drunk driver the alcohol may also bear some liability for the DUI accident.
Colorado’s dram shop liability law states that if a bar, restaurant or another business served alcohol to a minor or overserved someone who was already visibly intoxicated, that establishment could be liable for a resultant drunk driving accident.
As the injured party in a drunk driving accident lawsuit, it is your responsibility to prove that the other driver was intoxicated and that this more likely than not caused your car accident. This is called a preponderance of the evidence. You or your lawyer must provide enough evidence to meet this burden of proof before you can recover financial compensation.
Evidence against a drunk driver or dram shop may include:
You have two years to file a standard car accident claim in Colorado. If there is a criminal case against the defendant simultaneously for an alleged DUI, however, the civil courts may extend your time limit to two years from the date the criminal case ends. That way, you can use a DUI conviction (if applicable) as evidence for your lawsuit.
Drunk drivers can cause catastrophic car accidents from speeding, wrong-way driving, red-light running and other types of reckless driving. If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving accident, contact our Lakewood, Colorado attorneys today. James L. Finegan, P.C. offers free initial consultations and represents clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t pay unless we succeed in securing financial compensation for you.