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Drunk driving accidents in Colorado – Call Denver Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Help!
Drunk driving accidents claim the lives of people in Colorado every year, and much more are injured. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person is killed in a drunk-driving collision every 53 minutes in the U.S. In 2014, 9,967 people died as a result of drunk driving across the nation. Learning that a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver can leave people reeling from grief along with unexpected and substantial losses. People who are injured by drunk drivers may be left with life-altering disabilities that forever affect their quality of life. An experienced personal injury attorney may fight for his or her clients in order to hold the drunk driver and other responsible parties accountable for their actions. Our Denver drunk driving accident lawyer can help you build your case!
Under Colorado law, injured victims and the families of people who have been killed are allowed to file civil personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits against drunk drivers and negligent third parties whose actions resulted in the injuries or fatalities. These actions may be filed at the same time that separate criminal matters against the drunk drivers are pending.
Personal injury and wrongful death actions arising from the operation of a motor vehicle have a three-year statute of limitations under C.R.S. 13-80-101. This means that people must commence their civil actions within three years of the accident and injury date or else they may be forever barred from seeking damages that arose out of it. If people wait to file their lawsuits until the criminal proceedings are completed, the deadline may pass in some cases.
It is also best to file an action as soon after the accident as possible in order to prevent the loss of evidence that can happen over time. An experienced Denver drunk driving accident lawyer may be able to build a stronger case the closer in time it is filed to the actual accident date through investigation, accident reconstruction and witness interviews.
Negligence and negligence per se
In order to prove cases, plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death cases must prove that the drivers owed them a duty of care, that the drivers breached their duties, that the accidents happened as a result of their breaches and that the plaintiffs were injured or suffered actual harm. In the case of an accident involving a drunk driver, his or her negligence may be established by his or her violation of the statute prohibiting drunk driving. Negligence per se means that a person is negligent by virtue of his or her breaking the law when it results in harm to another.
Colorado also allows injured victims and the families of people who are killed to sue negligent third parties who share blame for the drunk driving accidents. These parties may include people who host parties at which alcohol is served, bars, restaurants and others. When the drunk driver was provided with alcohol by a third party who then let the driver leave despite his or her state of intoxication, then the third party may also be liable to the plaintiffs.
Social host liability
Social hosts may be liable to pay damages to drunk driving victims if they serve alcohol to people who are underage who then go out and cause injury or fatality accidents. This provision is included in the state’s dram shop law, which otherwise applies to establishments that serve alcohol.
Dram shop liability
Restaurants, taverns, bars and pubs may hold third-party liability for drunk driving accidents if they over-serve a patron who then goes out and seriously injures or kills others in an accident. Bartenders and servers are supposed to cut patrons off when they have drunk too much. If they don’t, the establishments for which they work may be liable for any resulting drunk driving accident injuries or deaths.
Dealing with serious injuries or wrongful deaths that were caused by drunk drivers can be overwhelming. An experienced Denver drunk driving accident lawyer may strongly advocate for his or her clients in order to make certain that they receive the compensation that they deserve for the losses that they have suffered at the hands of drunk drivers and third parties.