Drunk Driver Victims Attorney in Denver, Colorado
Drunk driving is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences. When someone makes the decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol, they are endangering not only their own life but also the lives of every other person on the road.
If you are a victim of a drunk driving accident in the state of Colorado and want to know your rights and the laws that protect you, contact our firm — Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law — for legal counsel. Our drunk driving victims attorney in Denver, Colorado, represents injured victims and surviving family members who lost loved ones in collisions caused by intoxicated motorists.
We serve clients throughout the state of Colorado, including Englewood, Aurora, Commerce City, Centennial, Thornton, Arvada, and Wheatridge.
Liability for Drunk Driving
Drunk driving is a problem across the United States, and Colorado is no exception. According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, there were more than 19,600 DUI arrests in Colorado in 2019.
When DUI accidents occur, the drunk driver may not be the only one to blame. Depending on the circumstances, the following parties could be held liable for DUI-related collisions:
The driver. The most obvious party to be held liable in a drunk driving accident is the driver. When someone makes the decision to drink and drive, they are consciously disregarding the safety of others on the road and taking part in illegal activity. As such, they will be held responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from their actions.
The driver’s parents. In certain cases, if a driver under the age of 18 was involved in an accident caused by drinking, their parents may be liable as well due to negligent entrustment. This happens when parents knowingly allow their underage child to drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle afterward.
The establishment/host that served the drinks. Alcohol-serving establishments such as bars or restaurants can also be held liable if they served drinks to an intoxicated individual before they drove away and caused an accident. The same applies to social hosts such as individuals having a private party in their home who serve alcohol to guests who then go out and cause an accident after leaving. If either of these cases can be proven, then these establishments or individuals could face civil liability charges for any damages resulting from the accident.
The driver’s employer. If the driver was “on the clock” at the time of the accident or had recently left work after being on shift, the driver’s employer may also face liability charges. Employers may also be held responsible if they failed to properly drug test their employees prior to allowing them to operate company vehicles, or if they failed to fulfill other safety protocols regarding the employee’s vehicular operation.
Every case is unique, which is why you should discuss your specific situation with an experienced lawyer. Our personal injury attorney at Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law, can investigate the details of your case and help you identify liable parties.
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Dram Shop & Social Liability Laws in Colorado
Generally, dram shop laws are applicable when alcohol is sold or served to persons under 21 years of age or any visibly intoxicated persons. “Visibly intoxicated” refers to a level of impairment evident upon common observation of the person’s appearance/behavior. Under the dram shop law in Colorado, alcohol-serving establishments – bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and other licensed alcohol vendors – can be held liable for injuries/damages caused by a drunk driver if the establishment sold alcohol to:
A person who was visibly intoxicated, regardless of age; or
A person below the age of 21.
Thus, if you were injured in a car accident caused by a person who was served alcohol in violation of dram shop law, then you may be able to pursue legal action against the establishment that served them.
In addition to dram shop liability laws, Colorado also has social host liability laws which protect victims from people who provide alcohol at their own homes or private events. If it can be proven that someone knowingly provided alcohol to minors, then they may be held liable for any injuries caused by those individuals as a result of their intoxication. In Colorado, the social host liability does not apply to those who serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons aged 21 or older.
Filing a Claim as a Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you should know what steps need to be taken in order to seek compensation.
The statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Colorado is two years. When filing a claim or lawsuit against the intoxicated driver, you must do so within this timeframe.
When filing a claim against the alcohol-serving establishment under Colorado’s dram shop law, you can recover damages for any quantifiable losses caused by the drunk driver. Those damages may include medical expenses, loss of income, property damage, mental anguish, and others. However, damages in dram shop and social host liability cases are limited to no more than $150,000.
In addition, keep in mind that there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against the alcohol-serving establishment after the drunk driving accident. Under Colorado law, you can bring a dram shop lawsuit within one year of the date of the accident.
No matter what, it’s always in your best interest to consult a skilled personal injury attorney in your area. Our lawyer, Mark A. Simon, will gladly discuss your case with you and provide insight into your available options for seeking justice and compensation for your losses. Contact our Denver law firm today to get started.
Drunk Driving Victims Attorney in Denver, Colorado
If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Denver, Colorado, or the surrounding areas, contact us at Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law. Our drunk driving victims attorney can help you explain the legalities surrounding DUI crashes and guide you through the process of filing a claim for compensation. Reach out to our office today to schedule a personal consultation.