It’s frustrating when you’ve suffered a personal injury that’s not your fault. You really want to focus on your recovery and not worry about who’s going to pay for your medical bills, how will you pay your bills and take care of your family when you can’t work.. Unfortunately, for most of those injured in an accident, your life is soon filled with calls from your insurance company, paperwork from law enforcement and doctor appointments. That’s when a personal injury lawyer can be of great benefit to you.
When you’ve been in a car or motorcycle accident in Colorado, you may feel your injuries immediately or you may feel just fine. But all accidents are traumatic to the victim in some way. They can cause emotional, mental, and physical symptoms. However, in many cases, you could experience delayed symptoms which may not show up until several days after an accident has occurred.
It’s tough to keep a cool head after an auto accident. Even if you and your passengers come out seemingly unhurt, you may still feel bewildered, frightened, or angry. Maintaining presence of mind after an accident is important, however, since what you say and do after a wreck can greatly affect your settlement after the car accident.
One of the best way to reduce your risk of being in a vehicular accident is to practice defensive driving techniques at all times. It doesn’t matter if you are learning to drive for the first time or if you’ve been driving for decades; it is always a good idea to review your techniques every so often and improve when you have deficits. Understanding the meaning of defensive driving and these three individual techniques will help keep you and your loved ones safe while on the roadways.
Examples of Defensive Driving
Knowing how to drive defensively in even challenging situations allows you the opportunity to react to a possible accident due to bad weather, drunk drivers, and even poor drivers. By keeping your eyes moving and looking ahead, you’ll be better able to spot potential hazards. But identifying hazards is just the beginning; once you identify a potential hazard, you need to decide what you need to do and act on it.
Stick to the Speed Limit
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains that speeding is one of the most common contributing factors in traffic accidents. In order to be a defensive driver, the key is to drive at the speed limit. Speeding up to pass or slowing down is fine, but use cautionwhen you do so carefully.
If you become distracted, this means you cannot pay attention and keep your eyes on the road where they belong. This goes way beyond staying away from having your phone in your hand. Interacting with passengers, fiddling with a device, applying makeup, and even eating can divert your attention in ways that can be deadly. Even Jim Morrison, lead singer for the Doors, once said, “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.”
Simply put―don’t drive when you are tired. You might not feel that tired and that you don’t need to worry about a yawn or two but, even if you are just a tad drowsy, it increases the risk of an accident. The average driver reaction time falls dramatically when drivers are sleepy, even just from a long day at work. Responses can range from zoning out to dozing off for just a few seconds. When you are traveling at highway speeds, even one second of not paying attention can be disastrous. If you’re tired, pull over and rest for a bit before you continue.
In Case of an Accident
If you ever get into an accident, the event doesn’t end when you come to a stop. First, you need to think about safety—for both you and anyone else on the road. If possible safely move all involved to a safe area close to the accident scene.,. Colorado law requires that you report all accidents immediately. If there are no injuries or property damage, no drugs or alcohol was involved and it was not a hit and run accident, you may report the accident on-line later. Turn on your hazard lights and remain in the car until help arrives.
Car accidents can come with hefty propertery damage costs and extensive medical bills. You may try to handle this stressful and complicated process by dealing directly with the insurance companies and medical providers yourself. However, the insurance industry’s own study shows that you may receive a larger settlement when working with an attorney. So, it is in your best interest to call a car accident lawyer at the Bendinelli Law Firm for help. We can deal with insurance companies, police, doctors, and courts to reduce your stress and achieve the best possible result for you and your loved ones.
The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has raised some questions over driving while impaired on cannabis. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) launched an initiative called Drive High, Get a DUI in order to educate the public about the laws and consequences of driving high. CDOT wants this outreach to communicate three main ideas: it is against the law to drive high, getting high and driving is dangerous, and you should always plan to drive sober or ride with someone who is.
If you are in an accident with a high driver, contact the Bendinelli Law Firm, your auto accident attorney in Denver. Because, whether or not the high driver that hit you is educated on the legal consequences of driving high, ignorantia juris non excusat (ignorance of the law excuses not).
Driving While High Is Illegal
While marijuana itself is legal in the state of Colorado, driving while high is against the law and is a prosecutable offense. Colorado law states that drivers with a THC concentration of 5ng/ml (that is, active THC in the blood) can be prosecuted for DUI. Marijuana consumption of any kind inhibits your motor functions and impairs your driving. Of course, a blood test on the side of the road is nearly impossible, but a police officer’s arrest on this charge can be made primarily on observed impairment of the driver.
Even if you use marijuana medicinally, you cannot use the substance and drive. Just like cough syrup or Vicodin, you cannot operate a vehicle while impaired under the influence of drugs. A DUI can cost you more than $13,500 and jail time.
High Driving Is Not Safe
Like all substances, cannabis has empirically detectable physiological effects on your body. It affects the way you operate and drive. Marijuana impacts concentration, reaction time, hand-eye coordination, and depth perception.
Some people believe that driving high actually increases their perception, but this is utterly false. Marijuana, like alcohol, is a depressant that physically blocks neural synapses from effectively communicating, rendering your reflexes to sluggish proportions.
Plan Your Sober Ride
If you plan on consuming cannabis make sure that you plan your ride ahead of time. You can use a ride sharing service, public transportation, or even call a cab.
What to Do If You Are in an Accident with a High Driver
It is important that you know the steps to take after you are involved in an accident—with a high, drunk, or sober driver.
- Call the Police – Call 911 immediately so you can file a police report of the accident. A police report can help your insurance company determine who was at fault and process your claim faster.
- Call Your Car Accident Lawyer – If there is bodily injury or damage to property, call your personal injury lawyer. A qualified attorney can help recover monetary damages to compensate you for things like medical bills, lost wages, car and other property damage, and other losses.
As the weather warms, more and more motorcycles are populating the roads. Veteran motorcyclists don’t skip a beat, quickly hitting the open road with grace and skill. But not all motorcyclists are seasoned veterans. Some of these riders may have little experience driving on roads, traffic-populated or otherwise.
Riding a new motorcycle can be a little intimidating for the inexperienced. Unlike automobile drivers, motorcyclists have no exterior shield around them to protect against most collisions. This means that motorcyclists must be constantly aware of their surroundings.
Motorcyclists must always keep a keen eye out for vehicles making lane changes or abruptly braking. They must be careful not to drift into the blind spots of big trucks on the freeway. They must be fully aware of cars that might be approaching from behind them. These are just some of the elements of the open road that must be constantly monitored by motorcyclists. But even the most experienced motorcyclists are not immune to accidents. To really know the ropes and avoid a costly collision, here are a few safety tips from an experienced motorcyclist and accident lawyer that all motorcyclists must know before they hit the summer roads.
Motorcycle Riding Tips and Tricks
Equip yourself with safety gear. If an accident causes you to fall from your bike, your body will meet coarse pavement with significant velocity. If you’re wearing casual clothes like a T-shirt, jeans, and sandals, you’re going to suffer severe (and perhaps unrecoverable) injuries. You need the right gear to help keep you as safe as possible in the event of an accident. Listed below is the gear that you should wear to reduce your chance of serious injury:
- Motorcycle helmet (make sure the helmet has the DOT certification sticker on it!)
- Leather or other reinforced jacket
- Full pants
- Over-the-ankle footwear
It might get warm underneath all that protective gear, so be sure that the material is breathable to keep you both safe and comfortable.
Check for and avoid bad weather. You should check the weather every time you go anywhere on your motorcycle. Rain, for example, creates slippery conditions on the road which greatly increases your risk of being involved in a serious accident. It also obstructs and reduces your vision—and when you are a new rider, you need a clear and unimpeded sight of the road.
Always ride defensively. Every move you make must be certain and exact: never assume. Not every driver is on the look out for a motorcycle in their mirrors and many of them won’t see you. Make sure that you use your astute skills of observation at every intersection and keep your fingers on your brakes just in case.
What to Do If You Get Into an Accident
Not even the best riders are safe from the risks associated with motorcycle driving. If you are ever to get into an accident, here are a few tips on what you should do.
- Call 911 and collect information. Assuming you are not in dire need of medical attention, call 911 to report the accident. Write down or photograph the make, model, and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved in the accident. Take snapshots of the accident to provide visual evidence for your insurance claim.
- Contact the Bendinelli Law Firm. You need a motorcycle accident lawyer that is proficient in both local and state motorcycle laws. A quality personal injury attorney in Denver can help you monetarily by getting you the compensation you are owed (e.g. medical bills associated with motorcycle injuries, bike damage, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related costs).
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and you’re probably making plans to meet up with friends for drinks and a lot of fun! There are many events that start the day off early with fun runs, parades and green beer. Synonymous with binge drinking, St. Patrick’s Day has become one to forget, or rather, blackout from. Binge drinking can cause a range of problems, but blacking out and not remembering the night is one of the most dangerous.
Blacking out while drunk means that you don’t remember what you did. It’s only when friends bring something up or show you a picture on their phone do you realize you have no memory of the night before. It may be fun to see yourself riding down a parking garage in a shopping cart, but you should be wondering what other kinds of things you did that night that weren’t recorded.
The way alcohol works in our system is it breaks down the communication of our amygdala and prefrontal cortex, the parts of the brain responsible for critical thinking and behavior. To put it simply, you are more likely to take risks or make poor decisions while you are drinking. Being blackout drunk means you won’t have any memory of those risks in the morning.
You may think it is probably better to not remember the stupid things you do while drunk, but what if you decide to get behind the wheel while drunk? You may hit a person or car and keep driving. You get arrested for a DUI and wake to find yourself in jail in the morning. Enjoying a few too many can mean you change your life forever – and probably not for the better.
In 2016, the Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies arrested 396 drivers suspected of being impaired over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Don’t be one of them this 2017.
Follow these suggestions to stay safe and enjoy the holiday weekend:
- Nominate a designated driver
Having a friend or family member drive you from bar to bar instead of taking your own car could save your life or a night in jail.
- Take Uber or Lyft
With ride sharing services readily available there is no reason to take your own car.
- Call a Taxi
If the rate hikes are too high on Uber or Lyft consider calling an old-fashioned taxi to get you to the next bar or home safely.
- Use Public Transportation
With the Denver area expanding the light rail to most metro areas there is no reason you can’t take the train or bus to your favorite drinking spot and come home the same way.
At the Bendinelli Law Firm, PC, we want to remind you not to drink and drive this St. Patrick’s Day. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a drunk driving accident, please contact us for a free consultation on your case.
photo credit: Godo-Godaj <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/13832715@N05/5535132666″>Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day-Tralee Co Kerry</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
It’s like a punch in the gut when an unexpected tragedy strikes, and a loved one dies. Not only are you dealing with unbearable grief, you may be wondering if your loved one died as a result of a wrongful death due to someone’s negligence or neglect.
In Colorado, wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits that attempt to establish the liability of a person or company resulting in the untimely and wrongful death of a loved one. To receive compensation, the family must show that the death was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional behavior of another person or entity. Some examples of wrongful death claims are: car accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, or death caused by defective or recalled parts.
In Colorado, families can sue for both monetary damages. This compensation would cover losses of the estate, and punitive damages. This would help families during their time of need, and in some cases, punish negligent parties that caused the death of a loved one. Monetary damages cover things like lost wages and other assets the deceased would have likely earned. It also can cover a benefit loss (such as health insurance) as a result of the death. Families are also able to seek damages for loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, and assistance lost because of the death. The amount of monetary damages is assessed by a jury or judge and will be determined by the facts of the wrongful death case.
Families may also seek to recover losses to the estate, such as medical, hospital, or emergency care expenses, as well as funeral and burial costs. These bills can quickly add up after the death of a loved one. The Bendinelli Law Firm will ensure that the negligent party will be held responsible and can help families through this difficult time.
In addition to monetary and estate damages, there are punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer to deter them, and others from acting in negligent or reckless ways. Though this cannot bring back a loved one, it can feel like justice has been served for the suffering families.
The laws surrounding wrongful death cases very by state to state. In Colorado, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed only by the surviving spouse in the first year, and then by the surviving children the following year. If the deceased has no surviving spouse or children the parents can then file a wrongful death claim. All wrongful death lawsuits in Colorado must be filed within two years of the death.
It is important to speak with an attorney if you believe a loved one has died because of the negligence of another person or company. If you believe your family has been the victim of wrongful death, contact the Bendinelli Law Firm today to speak to an experienced wrongful death attorney.