An automobile accident can cause serious injuries, leaving you unable to work while facing expensive medical bills. The insurance company may not provide much help and only offer a small settlement check. If you were injured in an auto accident in Denver, you deserve to have someone on your side to fight to get you the maximum compensation.
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your claim, deal with the insurance company, and fight to get you the money to repair your car, pay your bills, and cover your lost income after an accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Auto Accidents in Denver
According to the Colorado State Patrol, there were nearly 27,000 reported traffic accidents in 2017, resulting in 329 fatalities. Denver has the highest rates of fatal car accidents in Colorado. In 2019, there were 44 traffic accident fatalities in Denver alone. Auto accidents in Denver can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Distracted driving,
- Running a red light, or
- Dangerous road conditions.
In some cases, there are multiple causes of a car accident. Whatever the cause of the accident, the driver can be left facing expensive car repairs and medical bills, be unable to return to work, and even suffer permanent injury.
During this difficult time, many drivers rely on their insurance company to get them money to pay the bills. However, dealing with an insurance company can be a long and frustrating process. In the end, the insurance company may offer little or no compensation and even try and blame you for the accident. By contacting an experienced Denver accident attorney as soon as possible, you will have someone on your side to put your interests first.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Most car accidents in Denver involve two vehicles. This includes serious accidents like a head-on collision or a minor fender bender in a parking lot. Traffic is bad in Denver and has been getting worse over the years. This can lead to frustration and distracted driving, increasing the rates of motor vehicle accidents in the Denver-area.
According to a Westword article, based on Denver Police Department information, some of the most dangerous intersections in Denver in 2019 are:
- West Alameda Avenue at South Santa Fe Drive
- West Evans Avenue at South Federal Boulevard
- West Alameda Avenue at South Federal Boulevard
- Quebec Street at East 36th Avenue
- Speer Boulevard at Auraria Parkway
- West Colfax Avenue at Kalamath Street
- South Colorado Boulevard at East Alameda Avenue
- Central Park Boulevard at East Martin Luther King Boulevard
- Downing Street at East Colfax Avenue
Each of those intersections involved more than a dozen accidents in the first six months of 2019 alone. West Alameda Avenue at South Santa Fe Drive topped the list of most dangerous intersections in Denver. Many of those accidents are born out of the frustration of sitting in gridlock, as drivers speed through the intersection trying to make a yellow light.
When another driver was distracted, not following traffic laws, or did not follow the right-of-way, the other driver may be liable for causing the accident. If the other driver negligently caused the accident, the other driver should be responsible for paying for your expenses, including car repairs, medical treatment, and any days taken off of work.
Motorcycle accidents can involve a negligent driver, negligent cyclist, or some fault of multiple parties. Accidents involving motorcycles are more likely to involve serious injury or traffic fatalities. Motorcycle riders do not have the protective features of a vehicle. The primary safety feature for most riders is their helmet. Additionally, motorcycles are harder to see and motorists may not be on the lookout for motorcycles.
As Denver becomes more populated, there are more encounters between pedestrians and vehicles. A driver may be at fault for ignoring a crosswalk and hitting a pedestrian. However, the pedestrian may also be at fault for stepping into traffic without watching, which often involves an impaired pedestrian.
When a vehicle and pedestrian get in an accident, the pedestrian almost always loses. A pedestrian does not have any safety barriers between them and the vehicle. Even a low-speed accident can knock a pedestrian to the ground, causing head trauma. In some pedestrian accidents, a driver will leave the scene of the accident and the pedestrian may be unable to call for help.
Many cyclists bike around Denver as an alternative to driving in traffic. When auto drivers do not give cyclists room, cyclists can end up hit by much larger and faster vehicles. However, cyclists may also ignore the rules of the road and blame the driver when the cyclist was at fault. Bike accidents, like pedestrian accidents, often leave the cyclist suffering a serious injury.
Auto Accident Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury claim is a type of civil lawsuit where the injury victim files a claim against another party for damages. Personal injury claims can involve any accident that results in harm but auto accident personal injury claims are some of the most common.
An auto accident personal injury claim in Colorado begins with filing a complaint in civil court. The complaint names the defendant as the person allegedly responsible for the accident, basis for the lawsuit, and the damages sought. For example, in a car accident injury claim, the injury victim may file a lawsuit claiming that the other driver negligently caused the accident, the accident resulted in harm to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff is seeking financial damages to cover the loss.
In response to the complaint, the defendant may file cross-claims and counterclaims, alleging fault of the plaintiff or fault of some other third party. When the parties in the lawsuit have a dispute as to the cause of the accident, the case may proceed to the discovery stage to provide additional information to each party, including getting responses to questions, depositions, accident records, and reviews by experts.
The injury case may then proceed to trial where a judge or jury determines who was at fault in the accident and the amount of damages to be awarded. However, in reality, the majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled before they get to trial, often when the parties negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement offer.
How Long to File a Car Accident Personal Injury Claim?
There is a limit to how much time you have to file a personal injury claim in Colorado. This is known as the statute of limitations. Filing your case too late can mean your claim will be denied and you may have no other recourse for compensation.
The statute of limitations for most car accident personal injury claims in Colorado is three years. This means a driver, passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian injured in an auto accident will generally have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in a fatal car accident is generally two years. This means in most fatal car accident, a claim for damages related to the death of a loved one has to be filed within two years of the date of death.
Many drivers put off filing a lawsuit because they believe their car insurance company will do the right thing. However, the insurance company may delay the claim for months or longer, leaving the injury victim thinking they do not have much of a case and that they have to accept what the insurance company offers. Contact a Denver car accident lawyer as soon as possible to understand your rights and how you can seek damages for the accident even if the insurance company does not want to cut you a check.
What Damages Are Available in an Auto Accident Lawsuit?
In a personal injury claim, the plaintiff is asking for a financial award to cover damages caused by the accident. This includes economic damages which have a direct dollar amount, as well as non-economic damages for things that may be harder to quantify, like pain and suffering. Damages in a car accident personal injury claim can include:
- Medical expenses,
- Emergency medical care,
- Continuing medical treatment,
- Vehicle damage or replacement,
- Loss of income,
- Loss of future earnings,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of support, and
- Loss of consortium.
Many drivers underestimate the costs of a car accident. Even a minor accident that results in injury can quickly amount to tens of thousands of dollars in expenses, losses, and time off work. Talk to your Denver auto accident attorney to help you make sure you recover the full amount of the damages after an accident.
Wrongful Death Auto Accident Claims
In a fatal car accident, the victim is unable to do anything to hold the person who caused the accident accountable for their negligence. Fortunately, Colorado law allows for family members to file a claim in their loved one's name to hold the negligent party liable for the accident.
In a wrongful death claim, a surviving family member, heir, or beneficiary can file a claim on behalf of the deceased for damages. In the first year after death, a spouse can file a wrongful death claim. If there is no spouse, then the heirs or designated beneficiary can file a claim. If the spouse does not file a claim within the first year, then the children or heirs can file a wrongful death claim. In any event, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the death of the decedent.
Damages in a wrongful death claim are slightly different than in a personal injury lawsuit. Damages available in a wrongful death claim are related to the losses suffered by the surviving family members as a result of the death of their loved one. Damages can include loss of income, services, or support the deceased would have provided. Damages may also cover funeral expenses and any medical expenses related to the accident before the individual died.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents
There are a number of causes of auto accidents in Denver and Colorado. Common causes of accidents may include:
- Ignoring traffic signals,
- Reckless driving,
- Texting while driving,
- Drowsy driving,
- Driving under the influence (DUI),
- Dangerous weather conditions,
- Not keeping a vehicle in proper condition,
- Vehicle malfunction,
- Brake or tire defects,
- Overloaded trucks,
- Running a red light,
- Running a stop sign,
- Distracted driving, or
- Road debris.
The weather in Colorado can also be a factor in accidents. Drivers who do not account for the weather conditions may be driving too fast in icy conditions and tourists or new residents from other states may be unfamiliar with Colorado driving conditions. Drivers in Colorado know that the weather can change quickly, going from snowing and freezing to warm and sunny all in the same day. The bright Colorado sun can also create glare or blinding conditions for drivers.
Hazardous road conditions can be created when potholes are not filled, drivers knock over street signs, or roadway debris is not cleared. The hazardous road conditions could cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle, go the wrong direction on a one-way street, miss a stop sign, or blow a tire. In many cases, the city, county, or state government is responsible for maintaining the public roadways and may be liable when hazardous road conditions are not fixed, resulting in an accident.
Distracted driving is an increasing problem. Drivers rely more on their phones for mapping and directions and may take their eyes off the road for a few seconds too long to avoid an accident. Many drivers feel like it is okay to text and drive while in traffic because they are moving so slowly. This kind of “multitasking” is responsible for a lot of fender benders, rear-ending accidents, or pedestrians hit while crossing at an intersection.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries can be deceptive. Even a low-speed accident can result in serious injury for drivers and passengers. This includes neck or spinal injuries that may not seem serious in the beginning. It may take a few hours or even a couple of days before the injury victim feels the real pain caused by a neck, back, or head injury. This is why it is so important for drivers and passengers to seek medical care after an accident to make sure there are no other injuries that may be lingering.
Common injuries in Denver auto accidents may include:
- Neck injury,
- Back injury,
- Head trauma,
- Broken bones,
- Eye injury,
- Burn injuries,
- Spinal trauma,
- Nerve damage,
- Puncture wounds,
- Internal bleeding, or
What to do After an Automobile Accident
Immediately after an auto accident in Denver, anyone involved in the accident should consider seeking medical care for any injuries or suspected injuries. Ignoring even minor injuries after a car accident can lead to complications that make the injury worse. Head injuries and neck injuries can be difficult to diagnose immediately after an accident and may require observation.
Drivers involved in an accident may also be required to file an accident report. If a police officer responded to the accident, the officer should complete an accident report. If a police officer did not respond to the accident, the driver may file an online report. Drivers should exchange contact information, including name, telephone number, and insurance information.
Drivers may also want to take pictures or video after the accident. This could include the accident scene, location of the accident, and damage to the vehicles. If there were any witnesses to the accident, the driver or passenger should get contact information from the witnesses.
Contact Your Insurance Company After an Accident
Automobile insurance policies generally require drivers to report an accident to the insurance company immediately. Contact your insurance company to report the accident. However, it is important to understand that the other driver's insurance company may also try and contact you to get you to say something that they can use against you. If the other driver's insurance company contacts you, refer them to your attorney.
The insurance company is in the business of making money. You are generally not their top priority. Many insurance companies will try and get away with paying out as little money as possible. This may include stalling and delay tactics to force the injury victim into a desperate situation where they are more likely to accept any offer they can get.
Before you accept any settlement offer from the insurance company, make sure you understand your rights. If you take the settlement offer, you will be giving up your right to sue the other driver in court. Talk to your accidentdenver.com attorney before you accept a settlement. Your attorney represents you and will negotiate with the insurance company to get the maximum compensation.
Denver Auto Accident Injury Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented clients and families who were involved in a car accident get compensation for their losses. They understand how the insurance companies operate and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact them today for a free consultation.