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.
2016 was full of all kinds of strange stories, but perhaps none stranger than the most absurd lawsuits of 2016.
Behind all of these ridiculous lawsuits, there is usually a ridiculous lawyer that agreed to take the case. Just remember though―not all attorneys base their practices on taking frivolous cases. Personal Injury cases are serious and should not be taken lightly! So have fun with these absurd cases!
Government Overzealously Sues Business Owner:
Howard Root, CEO of Vascular Solutions, was sued by the government for selling the Varilase Short Kit, a FDA approved device to treat varicose veins. It took $25 million dollars for Mr. Root to fight the U.S. Department of Justice’s criminal charges that he had illegally marketed the Varilase Short Kit. Root denies that he was selling the kit illegally and he had all of the needed FDA permissions to have it on the market. It took more than 100 lawyers in 14 different law firms to get an acquittal from a Texas jury.
The SAT Five Minute Debacle:
A typo on a section of the SAT left students with a possible extra five minutes to finish. While some SAT proctors allowed students the extra five minutes allotted in the instructions, some did not, which caused confusion some students and parents. To maintain fairness, the College Board decided not to score that section of the test since those skills were tested in other sections. The score students received on the SAT remained valid since the section was not scored. A mother and son are suing the Education Testing Service and the College board, claiming they never would have sat for the test if they had known scoring would not be consistent. There has not yet been a ruling.
A Balloon Full of Hot Air:
Randall Krause sued the University of Nebraska for releasing balloons after the Cornhuskers made the first touchdown of the game, a tradition for more than 50 years. Mr. Krause was suing the school over the fact that balloons are harmful to the environment and animals, the school was already using biodegradable latex and cotton strings to be environmentally friendly. A federal judge dismissed the case in July 2016.
A Case of the $40 Craig’s List Printer:
In 2009 Doug Costello sold a black-and-white printer for $40 plus shipping to Gersh Zavodnik. Mr. Zavodnik sued Mr. Costello the first time claiming the printer was malfunctioning and missing parts. When that suit was tossed, he filed again and “requested damages for breach of contract, fraud, conversion, deceptive advertising and emotional destress.” After six years of legal proceedings, a judge entered a $30,000 judgement in Mr. Zavodnik’s favor for breach of contract, which was reversed in march. The appeals court is deciding if the case should be dismissed.
It’s for the Animals:
When a monkey takes a selfie it’s all downhill from there. David Slater’s camera was taken by a 6-year-old crested macaque named Naruto, who took a selfie. Mr. Slater claimed copyright of the photo and had it published in Wildlife Personalities. PETA enters the picture, filing a lawsuit in San Francisco, claiming that Naruto holds the copyright of the picture and should be paid all of the royalties. A judge threw out the suit on the bases that only humans can hold copyright. PETA is back at it claiming that it is a “high crime” that these rights aren’t extended to animals. Should the judge agree, PETA will take over the financial responsibility of Naruto’s money.
It’s About What’s Left in the Tube:
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has put a stop to a class action lawsuit against Fresh Inc. over lip balm left in the bottom of the tube. The plaintiffs’ lawyers claim that the company is deceiving customers into thinking there is still useable product in the tube when the twist up mechanism prevents it from being utilized. The suit claimed that Fresh was in violation of California’s Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, specifically they were trying to follow the growing trend of “slack fill” litigation. The empty space in packaging is known as slack fill, such as extra room in a bag of chips that is filled with air to keep the chips from being crushed. This case was thrown out because the lip balm left in the bottom of the tube is slack fill and the product label accurately stated how much product a consumer could use.
There’s Not Enough Coffee in My Coffee:
Starbucks is facing two possible lawsuits over their coffee. In one suit, plaintiffs are claiming that Starbucks is underfilling their lattes by a quarter inch to save money while short changing the customer. The other lawsuit claims that iced drinks are mostly ice. The suit claims that drink sizes on its cold menu are the size of the cup rather than the amount of liquid you get in the drink. So, in a venti sized drink, which is advertised at 24 ounces, only 14 ounces is liquid and the rest is filled with ice. The ice lawsuit has since been dismissed, while no ruling has been made on the underfilled lattes.
While these lawsuits are funny and ridiculous, getting injured through no fault of your own, is no laughing matter. If you’ve been injured in a car accident call the personal injury attorneys at the Bendinelli Law Firm. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Love is in the air and many of us will be heading to our favorite restaurant to celebrate Valentine’s Day with our special someone. These romantic dinners may involve wine, beer, or cocktails, as we gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes. What many of us do not realize is how easy it is to go from just enough, to one too many, and then get behind the wheel thinking we’re are okay to drive. Getting a DUI on Valentine’s Day is definitely not how you want to end this special celebration!
A common myth is if we consume only one drink per hour we’re still sober enough to drive. Though it may be possible (as we all metabolize alcohol differently), research suggests that this just isn’t true. Dr. Kenneth R. Warren explains:
“The average rate of alcohol metabolism is 100 milligrams of alcohol per kilogram of bodyweight per hour. For a typical 160-pound man, this would translate into 7 grams of alcohol in an hour. The so-called standard serving, a 12-ounce bottle of beer, is 14 grams of alcohol, so it would take two hours to fully metabolize it. For most people, if you drink one drink an hour, you’re going to become more and more impaired each hour.”
While one drink a hour may be the norm for many people, your body is likely not processing the alcohol as fast as you think, which could lead to disaster if you do not take the time to sober up.
Becoming sober isn’t as easy as it sounds either. As we begin to wrap up our Valentine’s dinner we may order a cup of coffee, thinking that it will help us sober up for the drive home. But, again this just doesn’t seem to be the case. In an interview with the BBC, Dr. Thomas Gould explains:
“The myth about coffee’s sobering powers is particularly important to debunk because the co-use of caffeine and alcohol could actually lead to poor decisions with disastrous outcomes. People who feel tired and intoxicated after consuming alcohol may be more likely to acknowledge that they are drunk. Conversely, people who have consumed both alcohol and caffeine may feel awake and competent enough to handle potentially-harmful situations, such as driving while intoxicated or placing themselves in dangerous social situations.”
Though coffee, or other caffeinated drinks, can make an impaired person feel more alert after consuming a few drinks, it isn’t helping your body metabolize the alcohol any faster.
If you are still unsure whether you can drive your sweetheart home, download CDOT’s R-U-Buzzed app. Just put in your body weight, sex, and how much you have had to drink and it will give you an estimated blood alcohol concentration and when you will become sober.
Don’t give the love of your life the gift of a DUI this Valentine’s Day. Go out and celebrate with your love, but remember to celebrate responsibly. If you are too drunk to drive then use RTD, call a taxi, or using a ride sharing service such as Uber or Lyft.
Let’s admit it—we all do it! We make New Year’s Resolutions that we don’t or can’t keep. In fact, only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them. At the Bendinelli Law Firm, let us help you with some easy resolution ideas to help keep you safe on Colorado roadways in 2017.
In 2016, there were 495 deaths or injuries attributed to drunk driving in Colorado. You can keep yourself and others on the road safe by always designating a sober driver when going out drinking, or use ride share services like Lyft or Uber. Public transportation is also a good option if it is available in your area. Better yet, this year make it part of your resolutions to be the designated driver. Your friends will thank you for it!
Do not use your cell phone while driving
There are so many ways that we can be distracted while driving, but using your cellphone has the highest rate of distraction. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 injured nationally due to distracted driving. This year resolve to only use your cell phone when you are safely off the road. At the very least, resolve to use a hands-free device.
Buckling up every time you get in the car will help protect you should you get into a crash. Seat belts have been showing to reduce serious crash related injuries by nearly half and saved 12,802 lives nationally in 2014. If you don’t already wear your seatbelt, this can be one of the easiest New Year’s Resolutions you ever make!
Respect Bicyclists on the road
With 70% of bicycle fatalities happening in urban areas and the number of people in Colorado that bike to work and for recreation, it only makes sense that this be part of your New Year’s resolution. As part of Colorado law, bicyclists are considered drivers on the road and have a right to safety, just as the drivers of motor vehicles.
Keep your tires in good condition
In Colorado we can experience any number of road conditions throughout the year (even snow in the mountains in July!). Keeping your tires in good condition means you will be able to stop faster and will have more traction when nasty weather comes through Denver. Making sure that your tires have at least 1/8 inch of tread or having chains that will help you through heavy snow storms on your next trip to the mountains.
Watch for pedestrians
In 2014, 4,884 people were killed in pedestrian/motor vehicle crashes and 65,000 reported pedestrian injuries nationally. Pedestrian accidents are something we can avoid by driving more slowly through school zones and making sure there is no one using the crosswalk before we make a turn. Pedestrians can help protect themselves by wearing reflective clothing at night and carrying a flash light.
If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, call the Bendinelli Law Firm to speak with an experienced personal injury layer for a free and confidential consultation. Don’t wait – call us now at 1-800-ATTORNEY.
As winter storms roll into the Denver Metro Area, we’ll be dealing with treacherous icy and snow packed sidewalks, walkways and parking lots. All of this snow and ice makes it more likely that we may hit a patch of ice. Before we know it, our feet can slip out from under us, we slip and fall and we may suffer an injury. If this happens, it’s important that you consult with a personal injury lawyer to see if there is a basis for a claim to cover your medical costs and lost wages during your recovery time. But while we may be aware of the dangers of snow and ice, how do we know if there is a basis for a personal injury claim?
In Colorado slip and fall accidents also called premises liability accidents, the property owner has a reasonable responsibility to keep walkways clear and free of obstacles, including snow and ice. Many slip and fall accidents can be settled before filing a lawsuit. But if your case should progress to a jury trial, Colorado law uses a system known as modified comparative negligence. This means that in a slip and fall accident the victim can recover compensation from the property owner if it’s determined that the property owner was more than 49% responsible for the accident.
We as consumers need to take responsibility for our safety and be aware of our surroundings. With modified comparative negligence, the victim can also be held responsible for their own fall. So, if you, the victim, did not take precautions and were found to be 35% at fault, then your court settlement will be reduced by 35%. If the victim was found to be 50% at fault for their fall then you will collect nothing from the lawsuit. An example would be if you parked your car in a parking lot that is partially covered in snow or ice. Instead of walking around the patch of ice, you decided to walk over it and then you slipped on that ice. In this instance, it could be argued that you could have avoided slipping on the ice if you have just walked around it.
But, as another example; if the entire parking lot has been covered in snow for several days with no attempt to clear it. You have no choice but to park on that ice and snow, so it may be easier to prove the property owner was at fault.
In these kinds of personal injury cases it all comes down to whether or not the property owner was able to make sure that walkways were as safe as reasonably possible. If they knew of the hazard, and if they had enough time to clear the hazard away. It’s always a good idea to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to answer your slip and fall questions.
If you or anyone you know has been the victim of a slip and fall on ice or snow, or any other premises liability accident, contact the Bendinelli Law Firm for a free consultation on your case.