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Category Archives: Drunk or Impaired Driving

Colorado Traffic Fatalities and Legalization of Marijuana Connection?

By | Automobile Accident, Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving

A series of articles in the Denver Post have investigated the link between the increase of traffic fatalities in Colorado and the legalization of marijuana.

In a recent study released by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) as reported by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA), shows a significant upward trend in fatalities on Colorado roadways since 2014. Some would argue that this increase coincides with the legalization of marijuana in the state of Colorado in 2014. Others including Colorado transportation and public safety officials claim that there is not enough data to positively prove that the increase in traffic deaths attributed to marijuana use is caused by the legalization of pot.

The Denver Post analyzed data at the federal and state levels as well as coroner reports and discovered some interesting trends for Colorado drivers who tested positive for marijuana.

Their findings include:

  • Since 2013, the number Colorado drivers who were under the influence of marijuana and involved in fatality, more than doubled
  • Since 2013, the level of potency found in Colorado drivers under the influence of marijuana has increased. In 2016 there were about 12 drivers whose TCH levels were five times the legal limit, and one tested at 22 times the legal limit
  • In 2016, all the drivers who were under the influence of marijuana and survived the car crash, had TCH levels that appeared that they used the drug within a few hours of being tested
  • The number of drivers involved in fatalities who tested positive for marijuana only (no alcohol or other drugs) has increased from 52 percent in 2014 to 69 percent in 2016.

Much of the controversy over marijuana impairment lies in the testing methods and understanding the impact marijuana use has on each individual.  Supporters of legalization assert that there still isn’t enough history and research of marijuana impairment as there is with alcohol impairment.

Drugged Driving Statistics

Whether or not you believe that there’s a connection between the legalization of marijuana and the increase in traffic fatalities caused by buzzed drivers isn’t really that important if you or a loved one has been the victim in a motor vehicle crash caused by an impaired driver. The Bendinelli Law Firm can help you with any car crash that wasn’t your fault, including distracted drivers, texting drivers, impaired drivers, or drunk drivers.

Call 1-800-ATTORNEY today for your Free and Confidential Consultation

Tired Driving More Dangerous

Is Tired Driving More Dangerous Than Drunk Driving?

By | Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving

Almost everyone understands the dangers associated with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, texting and driving, distracted driving, and talking on our smartphones while driving. Yet there has been very little information available about driving while tired. Drowsy or tired driving can be just as serious as these other poor driving decisions and could result in causing a serious accident and being sued by a Denver accident lawyer on behalf of an injured party.

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Let’s Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With No DUIs

By | Automobile Accident, Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving, Hit-and-Run Crashes


st pats
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>

The Pain of Wrongful Death Cases

By | Automobile Accident, Distracted Driving, Drunk or Impaired Driving, Hit-and-Run Crashes, Uncategorized, Wrongful Death
sorrow

The Pain of Wrongful Death

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.

No DUIs on Valentine’s Day!

By | Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving, Motor Vehicle Safety

romanceLove 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.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a DUI or DWI crash speak with one of our expect lawyers. Contact the Bendinelli Law Firm today for a free consultation.

It’s Not Too Late for Your New Year’s Resolutions!

By | Automobile Accident, Distracted Driving, Drunk or Impaired Driving, Motor Vehicle Safety, Pedestrian Accidents, Uncategorized

Let’s admit itwe all do it! WNew Years Resolutionse 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.

 

Never drink and drive

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.

Buckle up

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.

Curb Your Anger on the Road and Prevent Road Rage

By | Automobile Accident, Distracted Driving, Drunk or Impaired Driving, Hit-and-Run Crashes, Uncategorized

Road Rage DriverAs we take to the roads for our daily commute to work or school, it is likely that we’ve seen people driving in anger, honking their horn, or any number of aggressive actions that can quickly escalate into road rage.

According to DMV.org, road rage is, “…aggressive or violent behavior stemming from a driver’s uncontrolled anger at the actions of another motorist.” Simple actions such as not using your blinker, speeding, honking, or tailgating can quickly escalate into a more violent and severe road rage car accident.

In Colorado, road rage and aggressive driving incidences have been on the rise. In the first two months of 2016, the Colorado State Patrol received 7,594 calls reporting aggressive drivers, a 22% increase from 2015 during the same period.

Reportings of unsafe or aggressive drivers in the Denver Metro Area are tracked. The Colorado State Patrol sends out a warning letter after three complaints, hand delivers a letter after five complaints, and the has the option of keeping an eye on the drivers’ future behavior.

It’s important to remember that your behavior while you drive effects more than just you, it also effects your passengers and other’s on the road. In a road rage related car accident in December 2016, a truck driver was seen driving recklessly and aggressively on Interstate 76. While attempting to pass a semi-truck in the shoulder the truck driver lost control and drove through a guardrail and crashed on the street below.

Running late for work or school, or even having a bad day might make you drive differently than your normal habits, but it is not worth it when it could mean harming yourself or others on the roadway. The best way to prevent a car crash caused by road rage and aggressive driving is to drive defensively. Slow down and focus on getting to your destination while following traffic laws and driving safely. Someone cut you off? Maybe their day is going just as poorly as yours is, and it is always better to cut other drivers some slack than creating a situation where you may end up hurt or worse.

If you have been injured in an aggressive driving or road rage car accident, contact the Bendinelli Law Firm for a free consultation on your case.

Happy New Year! Drinking and Driving–It’s Not Worth It!

By | Automobile Accident, Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving, Uncategorized, Winter Driving Safety

Blurred vision due to drunk drivingThe holidays are coming to a close and a new year just around the corner. As we head out to friend’s and family’s homes and company parties, there is the potential for winter weather road conditions, as well as drunk drivers – especially around New Year’s Eve. Though we may not be drinking at holiday parties, many people are, and the data shows it. Nationally, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s 2-3 times more people die in alcohol-related crashes than during other times of the year, 1,200 people will be killed, and there will be 25,000 people will be injured in traffic accidents related to alcohol.

In Colorado more than 26,000 people are arrested for DUI, and over 150 people are killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents each year. The fatalities due to impaired driving represent more than one third of traffic deaths in Colorado. These numbers are really horrifying, so how is Denver Metro law enforcement helping to keep roads safer?

In Colorado law enforcement agencies ran their annual, “The Heat is On” campaign from Nov. 18 – Nov. 28, with 97 agencies participating. The campaign is designed to help stop drivers that may be driving under the influence (DUI).  During this ten-day period officers arrested a total of 518 people who were suspected of DUI. This year there has been 177 fatalities due to impaired driving, a number likely to go up before the end of the year.

DUI Checkpoint-drunk driving

DUI Checkpoint

“The Heat is On,” will continue through December, with law enforcement agencies around Colorado creating sobriety checkpoints and increasing the number of officers on patrol to help spot and stop DUI drivers. To help you and your loved ones get home safely, you can download CDOT’s R-U-Buzzed app, a blood alcohol content calculator for Android and iPhone, nominate a designated driver before you go out to parties, use the RTD system free starting at 7pm, or plan to use a ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft.

If you or your loved ones have been hurt in a motor vehicle crash in Colorado involving a drunk or drugged driver, during the holidays, or any other time of year, contact the Bendinelli Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation.

Denver Personal Injury Attorney, DUI Accident Attorney Denver

Drunk Driving in Denver, Colorado – How Serious is it?

By | Automobile Accident, Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving

Auto accidents in Denver claimed 40 lives in 2013. 16 of the 40 deaths were attributed to drunk-driving collisions.

Clearly, all Denver residents should know best that drinking and driving is highly dangerous. Even so, many lives are lost in Denver year-in-year-out to drunk driving. Many more locals suffer critical injuries, with some being life-long, as some drivers fail to follow driving best practices.

4 Case Studies that Indicate the Reality of the Issue

Case Study 1

In august, 2013, a 38-year-old cyclist was hit head-on early one evening on a Friday on Lookout Mountain Road. According to Fox 31 Denver, the driver was a 20-year-old that reportedly crossed a double yellow line. Apparently, he was driving at a high speed rate.

The young driver faced several criminal charges including a homicide felony. The accident left friends and family of the victim mourning their dead loved one. The driver got 10 years in prison.

Case Study 2

A 50-year-old drunk driver hit a 17-year-old girl and her friend in September, 2014. According to the ABC 7 News in Denver, one of the girls died on the spot. The drunk driver was also texting when the accident occurred. The girl who survived the crash was still unable to walk, one year later.

The drunk driver who hit the girls had recently been sentenced to 28 years in prison as punishment.

Case Study 3

In another collision, a passenger in a Jeep that collided was pinned under the vehicle. According to CBS Denver, the drunk driver ramped into a concrete freeway support. His alcohol blood content read 0.163%. He was charged with DUI and vehicular homicide; offenses that would see him spend a maximum of six years in prison.

Case Study 4

A police officer got back to his vehicle along the I-25 Denver stretch after stopping a potential drunk driver. He was hit by a second drunk driver, while in his car. The driver was charged with vehicular assault.

The auto accident, according to ABC 7 News in Denver, involved four cars. The officer incurred serious injuries and ended up in hospital.

Statistics

In 2013, 142 people died, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as a result of drunken driving collisions in Colorado. 25 of those deaths were experienced in El Paso County. Denver County was ranked second with 16 accident deaths. These two counties account for more than a quarter of all the deaths experienced in Colorado in 2013.

We can not stress enough the importance of drivers not driving while drunk as one of the best driving practices to help curb DUI accidents in Colorado.

Denver Personal Injury Attorney

Many people suffer serious injuries or even death due to drunken driving accidents, a clear issue in the county. If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver, Denver personal injury attorneys at the Bendinelli Law Firm can help you navigate your claim and get the treatment and justice you deserve.

Accident Lawyer in Denver, DUI Denver Colorado, Smoking Marijuana and Driving in Colorado

DUI – Is There Increased Use of Medical Marijuana by Colorado Drivers?

By | Automobile Accident, Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving

Just like other plaintiffs, DUI victims have legal rights to protection and compensation for damages and injuries caused by auto accidents through the services of an accident lawyer in Denver. Moreover, criminal convictions can provide evidence of negligence in such cases.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there’s increased use of marijuana by Colorado drivers. In 2007, drivers who were suspected to be under the influence of drugs tested positive for marijuana. They made up 28% of all the suspected drivers. In 2008, the figure shot up to 43%, 45% in 2009 and 58% in 2010.

According to a local police, Sgt. Mike Bell, “What we’re seeing is an increase of, probably, marijuana use in the car. There’s a definite increase in drivers using medical marijuana as an excuse. However, they have nothing to do with the drug.”

Over 16% of all fatal auto accidents that took place in Colorado between 2007 and 2010 involved drivers under the influence of drugs. Drugged driving can lead to serious consequences on the highways and state streets in terms of fatalities.

These fatalities lead to serious spinal cord and brain injuries or even lifelong impacts on passengers, motorists and pedestrians.

Although the use of medical marijuana is legal, it can cause intoxication for those behind the wheel. Therefore, drivers under the influence of drugs must compensate victims for injuries, damages or even death caused in case of a fatality.

Drivers involved in crashes should look out for incoherent speech, red or glassy eyes or the smell of cannabis in other drivers as signs of drug use. Drivers that notice any of these signs should make notes for use when informing law enforcement officers or making statements.

Evidence of Drug Use by Colorado Drivers

Evidence of drugs and intoxication in the blood of drivers are two different things. Drivers who test positive for drugs upon suspicion of being intoxicated might have difficulties when it comes to blame evaluation. Employers usually test their injured professional drivers involved in crashes for drugs.

Even if a driver uses drugs off-job and wasn’t responsible for causing a fatality, he or she risks being fired and losing wages, if traces of drugs are found in the body system.

Accident Lawyer in Denver

Such drivers and other victims of auto or truck accidents can seek the services of an accident lawyer in Denver for rights protection and filing for compensation. The Bendinelli Law Firm offers complimentary consultations and our friendly staff are available to discuss the details of your case.