At Matlin Injury Law we have been assisting the victims of automobile accidents for years. We understand what it takes to help you claim damages after a drunk driving crash. Our skilled team has the know-how and resources to ensure that your case will be handled with the highest level of consideration.

DUI In Colorado Is Serious.

Here in Colorado, automobile crashes involving intoxicated drivers have been on the rise. Intoxicated drivers can include those impaired from alcohol consumption, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or even legalized or decriminalized substances such as marijuana. That’s right, even though it is legal to consume cannabis in the state, it is not legal to drive high.

DUI and DWI personal injury cases are taken seriously in the state. Driving while under the influence is indicative of a dangerously poor judgment. The court takes this reckless behavior very seriously, and so do we!

If you were injured after being hit by a drunk driver or hurt in an accident caused by a person driving under the influence of a controlled substance, we encourage you to contact our personal injury firm right away. We will do everything we can to ensure that your case gets the most favorable outcome possible from the very start. In the meantime, here are seven steps and legal options to consider when hit by a drunk driver.

1. Call 911 and the police.

Immediately following an automobile accident of any kind, you should call 911. Colorado has specific accident reporting laws that must be followed if people are injured or property is damaged.

If you are capable of calling 911 yourself, go ahead and do it. However, if you are injured, you may need to wait for someone to call 911 for you. Sometimes, it can be helpful to point at someone specific and say “call 911”. This cuts through the bystander effect and places personal responsibility on the individual you point to and tends to lead to faster call responses.

If you suspect the driver who hit you is under the influence, you should report this on your 911 call. Every accident is different and the circumstances surrounding your situation can vary. The most important thing is to get to safety and contact the authorities. Emergency responders should arrive on the scene quickly.

2. Take note of your surroundings.

As you wait for emergency responders to arrive, take note of your injuries and look around the scene. Try to remember as much as you can, as this will be important later. If possible, take a few photos using a smartphone. The position that your vehicle is in, the license plate of the driver that hit you, and the area where the crash occurred are all important things to document.

If you believe that the driver who hit you is under the influence of a controlled substance like marijuana or alcohol, report it to the police right away and request that they perform a field sobriety test. You can also ask for the business card and phone number of the officer-in-charge on the scene. This may help you get an accident report later.

Using common sense, document everything you can without placing yourself in immediate danger. You may notice the driver who hit you acting drunk or see an empty beer bottle in their car. Tell the police right away. It is the job of law enforcement to investigate your claims and find out whether the driver who hit you is drunk or under the influence. Taking your own pictures is fine as well, just use common sense.

3. Contact an attorney.

If you are convinced that the driver who hit you is under the influence of alcohol, you may want to contact an attorney right away. Sometimes, people feel well enough to contact an attorney while they are still at the scene of their accident. In other situations, people call an attorney while still in the hospital.

If you were in an automobile accident during business hours, we encourage you to contact our firm. Even if we cannot help you right that second, we can begin building a case in your favor. We may even be able to advise you before you make a police statement. Contacting an attorney sooner rather than later is usually a smart move.

4. Get witness statements.

It may also be helpful to gather witness statements. If possible, get the names and phone numbers of any people who witnessed your accident. Having someone testify on your behalf can be very helpful in DUI accident situations.

If you yourself cannot gather witness statements, you may want to call a family member for assistance. A friend or family member who immediately comes on the scene can help you get pictures of the wreck, take down names and phone numbers, and will also be there for you in the hospital as you recover. It is better to face the trauma of an automobile accident with loved ones by your side, after all.

5. Accept the ambulance ride.

When the paramedics arrive on the scene after a DUI accident, always accept the ambulance ride. If a drunk driver hit you, that driver will most likely be held liable for the cost of your ambulance ride. This is especially true if it is proven that they were driving under the influence and were at fault for the accident.

Moreover, you need to be evaluated by a medical professional. Only a doctor will be able to tell whether your injuries are serious. Even if you feel fine, it is important to be thoroughly examined. In an ambulance, any sudden symptoms can be addressed right away. When injuries are life-threatening, every minute counts.

Additionally, some injuries are internal. These types of injuries may not present with obvious symptoms. The adrenaline of your accident could be masking certain injuries as well. According to medical professionals, internal bleeding can be life-threatening. There is no way to tell whether you are actually fine until you have been completely evaluated at the hospital. So, whether you have insurance or not, you should always accept care from the paramedics on the scene of an accident.

6. Seek care from specialists and go to all follow-up appointments.

After you have been evaluated by on-scene paramedics and the doctors at the emergency room, it is important to attend any and all follow-up appointments. There is a good chance that the emergency room doctor will recommend you see a medical specialist of some kind for your injuries. It is important to visit the recommended specialists and follow up with any ER referrals.

While ER doctors can help stabilize your condition, they are not usually the ideal candidates for specialized injuries. This is especially true for injuries like whiplash, spinal, or musculoskeletal problems. You may need to attend physical therapy. You may also wind up needing surgery. Therefore, if you are advised to seek treatment from a specialist, do it.

7. Keep track of your expenses and be prepared to testify.

As you enter the recovery process as the victim of a drunk driving accident, be sure to keep track of all your expenses. This includes damage to your vehicle, injuries, medical bills, specialist appointment costs, and so on. Also, take note of your pain and suffering. Were you unable to work following your accident? Keep track of your lost wages as well.

Documenting your pain and suffering will be important later if you wind up filing a lawsuit against the driver that hit you. Additionally, you may want to file criminal charges. If you file criminal charges, you will need to make an official statement. This statement will impact the court case. As such, it is important to hire a lawyer beforehand. You can keep track of any legal fees as well. However, most personal injury attorneys work under the presumption that they don’t get paid until you do, and thus, will keep track of these expenses for you.

Why is hiring an attorney after a drunk driving accident so important?

There are many reasons that it is important to hire an attorney after becoming a victim in a drunk-driving accident. For one thing, no one should have to face a legal battle alone or unrepresented. This is especially true if the person facing the legal battle is an injured victim. However, a drunk driving personal injury lawyer can do a lot more than just help you with a court case.

Your personal injury attorney will be there to walk you through every stage of the claim filing process. Your attorney will also help you secure the financial compensation you need to fully recover from your losses. Negligence and recklessness are not excuses to cause injury to another person. Even if your injuries are mild, you may still have a strong case on your hands. And a trainee will be able to look at the circumstances of your case and help you chart the best course of action. Here are a few more things that your personal injury attorney can help you with after a drunk driving accident.

Your attorney can help you stand up to insurance companies.

After a drunk driving accident, an insurance company might try to avoid paying their fair share of claims and damages. This cheats the injured person out of the compensation they are entitled to.

Insurance companies sometimes employ tactics that limit the victim’s recovery to the smallest possible amount. Then, they pressure the victim into settling as soon as possible. These quick settlements are rarely fair.

Quick, easy settlements often allow large insurance corporations to get out of paying a victim’s future medical expenses, pain and suffering expenses, punitive damages, and more. Your personal injury attorney will work on your behalf to prevent this from happening and ensure that you get the maximum amount you are entitled to.

The drunk driver must be held accountable for negligence.

If you have been hit by a drunk driver, they will almost always be held at fault for an accident. After the accident, your personal injury attorney will be able to help you gather the documentation needed to prove that the at-fault driver was also drunk. Or, vice versa.

Your attorney will track down any missing police reports, witness statements, and anything else you haven’t been able to gather that helps your case. Then, you can discuss your options and select the best possible course of legal action.

Drunk driving is a serious offense in Colorado and the courts treat cases like this accordingly. Your attorney will make sure that your rights and interests are protected in court and as you file claims.

About DUI Accidents in Colorado

In Colorado, DUI laws make it a crime to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even with a legal blood alcohol content, operating certain vehicles is not permitted in the state. A blood alcohol content of 0.05% or higher will often lead to DUI charges. Keep in mind that any driver pulled over and found to be under the influence is committing a crime already. How much more so if they injure someone because of their reckless or negligent choices?

Even if the person operating a motor vehicle doesn’t appear to be intoxicated, a blood alcohol level of .05 percent or higher after a crash means that they will be facing DUI charges. The drunk driver will also be found at fault for the accident. However, it is important to have an attorney on your side so that none of the fault gets is placed on you at any point. If you are found to be at fault after an accident, the compensation that is owed to you could be reduced.

Colorado DUIs are cumulative charges. That is to say, they can be charged on multiple counts, depending on how many DUIs a driver already has. Colorado’s criminal sentencing and administrative penalties for DUI and DWAI are more severe with each consecutive conviction.

In Colorado, the first DUI someone gets is a traffic misdemeanor. However, even if it is someone’s first DUI, they are still guilty of a crime. If they cause an accident, they (or their insurance provider) still have to pay for a victim’s damages. Moreover, if the at-fault driver has a history of DUI, the penalties are likely to be even more severe.

So, if an insurance company tries to get out of paying your claims and you can prove that the person who hit you was driving under the influence, you have a strong case in your favor. If the person who hit you has multiple DUI convictions, all the more so. Any blood alcohol reading of 0.05% or higher constitutes a DUI in Colorado. Your personal injury attorney can help you get any pertinent DUI information about the at-fault driver from the officers who responded to your accident and conducted a sobriety test.

What are the most common injuries after a DUI accident?

There are a few types of injuries after a DUI accident that are more prevalent than others. For one thing, whiplash is very common after DUI accidents. The severity of whiplash will have to do with the speed each vehicle was going at the time of the collision. Additionally, TBI, spinal injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, and broken bones are common after DUI accidents.

All of these injuries are serious and can constitute lengthy recovery periods. Lacerations, bruises, and internal injuries also occur frequently due to DUI automobile accidents. It is important to seek medical care after your accident to ensure that all of your injuries are addressed correctly as soon as possible.

What compensation are victims of DUI accidents in title to?

If you are the injured victim of a DUI accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation. This is also true if a loved one was killed after a DUI accident. Apart from medical expenses, a victim’s awarded damages may pay for things like loss of wages, loss of the ability to earn income, wrongful death, pain and suffering, and property damage.

It will all depend on the circumstances surrounding each personal injury or wrongful death case. To find out what compensation you could be entitled to, we encourage you to contact our personal injury firm in Parker, CO.

Call Matlin Injury Law Now for a Free DUI Consultation

If you were injured by a negligent drunk driver, don’t wait; contact Matlin Injury Law right away for a risk-free consultation. Our team is here to help you get back on track and will give your case the time and energy it deserves! Remember, we don’t get paid until you do. We believe that DUI accidents should be prosecuted strongly and will relentlessly work on your behalf to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.