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Fort Collins car accident attorneyNot only does a vehicle get its passengers from one location to another, but it also acts as a form of protection against other vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, in some cases, a vehicle’s components may put its passengers at risk. Tires are a key factor in vehicle performance, and when tires fail, catastrophic accidents can occur. Understanding how tire blowouts are caused and who may be responsible for the blowout can help injury victims start to recover from these accidents.

What Causes Tire Blowouts?

Many tire blowouts are a result of hazardous road conditions. When potholes are present on roadways, tire blowouts are much more likely to occur. Other hazards that may create cuts or small punctures in the tire exist on all roadways, and it is the driver’s responsibility to monitor their tire’s tread for damage. It is also critical for a driver to monitor their tire pressure. It is not uncommon for tire blowouts to occur due to the tires being overinflated or underinflated.

In some cases, tires are sold after they have spent a considerable amount of time on shelves, making them much older than buyers assume. Additionally, high speeds and aggressive braking can lead to tires weakening at a quicker rate. Driving at high speeds can also lead to tread separating from the tire, often leading to severe accidents.

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Fort Collins car accident lawyerAny type of motor vehicle accident can threaten the safety of those directly involved as well as those nearby. Rollovers, often associated with larger vehicles like pickups and SUVs, are some of the most life-threatening accidents that occur both on and off roadways. After a rollover, it may be very difficult to establish who is responsible for a victim’s injuries and understand how the crash happened. Personal injury attorneys who have experience handling rollover accidents can be a great asset for victims in these cases.

The Dangers of Rollover Accidents

Accounting for 6,358 fatalities throughout the U.S. in 2019, rollover accidents are one of the most dangerous vehicle crashes. When a vehicle tips onto its roof or side during an accident, it is considered a rollover. In the majority of instances involving this type of accident, the vehicle makes an impact with something else prior to the roll. This may include another vehicle or a fixed object. When rollovers take a vehicle off of the roadway and passengers are thrown from the vehicle, fatalities are much more likely to occur.

There are numerous commonalities across individual rollover crashes. The majority of rollover accidents that end fatally involve only one vehicle. Fatal rollover crashes are often associated with high blood alcohol concentrations. Additionally, it is more likely for SUVs and pickup trucks to be involved in fatal single-vehicle rollovers than small cars.

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Larimer County car accident attorneyCar crash injury victims may be affected by the accident for the remainder of their lives. Vehicle collisions can stem from a range of causes; however, human error is frequently involved. Head-on collisions are a type of vehicle accident that is often caused by a driver’s negligence. While head-on collisions are fairly uncommon, the results of such an accident are often devastating.

Conifer, CO Head-On Collision Leads to Multiple Fatalities

During the late afternoon of Thursday, August 26, a Colorado man allegedly caused a head-on collision on Highway 285 near Conifer, leading to the deaths of three people, including the driver himself, and serious injuries to others. Other victims included a 55-year-old woman and her 2-year-old granddaughter, who suffered fatal injuries in the collision.

Colorado State Patrol has reported that the man attempted to make an illegal pass before crashing head-on into another vehicle. Eyewitnesses have reported that prior to the crash, they had reported the driver for reckless driving and speeding. At this time, Colorado State Patrol is investigating the possibility of alcohol and excessive speeding being factors in this fatal collision.

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Fort Collins car accident attorneyThe average driver does not expect to get in a car accident. However, when a driver chooses to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, they are making their chances of causing an accident substantially greater. If you or a loved one has been injured due to another person’s impaired driving, a personal injury attorney can assist you in recovering damages and holding the at-fault parties accountable.

The Dangers of Drunk Driving

The adverse impact alcohol has on an individual’s ability to drive makes drunk driving incredibly dangerous. Alcohol-related car accidents resulted in 192 Colorado fatalities in 2018 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The consumption of alcohol negatively affects a person’s ability to make rational decisions and react quickly, as well as their overall coordination. Drivers who get behind the wheel when intoxicated are also much more likely to speed or even drive on the wrong side of the road.

This behavior puts everyone on the road, including the drunk driver, other drivers, and all passengers, at risk of some sort of collision. Certain injuries arise more often than others in the event of a drunk driving accident. Some of the more commonly sustained injuries include fractured and broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, lacerations, and internal organ damage.

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Fort Collins workers comp lawyerEvery day, first responders put their lives in danger to help those in need. Because their jobs require them to be near hazardous circumstances, it is possible for first responders to sustain injuries, both physical and mental. If you have suffered physical injuries or developed a harmful psychological condition like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to events witnessed while working, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

PTSD And Other Injuries Suffered By First Responders

First responders including firefighters, police officers, and other professionals who provide emergency medical services regularly face dangerous situations while on the job. First responders commonly sustain injuries due to hazards they experience while working including repetitive stress injuries and injuries resulting from exposure to harmful substances, slip and fall accidents, and workplace violence. Other threats frequently faced by first responders include:

  • Vehicle crash injuries

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Fort Collins fatal truck accident lawyerColliding with a large truck like a semi or 18-wheeler often results in devastating outcomes. Being some of the heaviest vehicles on the road, tractor-trailers can cause very dangerous accidents. Because of this immense threat, truck drivers have a higher level of responsibility behind the wheel. However, Colorado continues to see fatal truck accidents every year, many of which are the result of truck driver negligence. Colorado law provides families the right to pursue a wrongful death claim if their loved one was lost due to the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company.

Semi-Truck and Pickup Collide in Weld County

One recent crash serves as an example of just how dangerous truck accidents can be. On the morning of Wednesday, July 21, a pickup truck and semi-truck collided. The Colorado State Patrol reported to the scene of the crash, where two women were pronounced dead. The fatalities were the two passengers of the pickup truck who were both wearing seatbelts. It was also reported that the semi-truck driver was conscious and walking after the accident, though it is possible minor injuries were sustained.

Colorado Truck Accidents Leading to Fatalities

Accidents involving commercial truck driver negligence are frequently caused by the truck driver running out of the travel lane, losing control of the truck, or rear-ending another vehicle. These events are more apt to occur if the driver is fatigued, distracted, or speeding. Other factors that regularly contribute to truck accidents include prescription drug use, alcohol use, and truck maintenance problems.

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Fort Collins personal injury attorneyWhen you think of the effects of a serious accident, such as a car crash, physical injuries like broken bones, lacerations, bruises, and head or back trauma may be the first things that come to mind. However, severe accidents can also affect the lives of injury victims in other, less tangible ways. As such, victims are often eligible to recover non-economic damages in addition to compensation for their medical expenses when they pursue a personal injury claim. Appropriate dollar values for non-economic damages can be difficult to determine, and they can also be limited by statutory caps under Colorado law.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages compensate for things like the victim’s pain and suffering, stress and anxiety, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. Determining a monetary award for these types of injuries can be very challenging for all parties involved. While the injuries may certainly be very serious, there are many factors that jurors will likely consider when trying to determine adequate compensation for the victim, some of which include:

  • The severity of the injury and the extent to which it interferes with the victim’s life

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Fort Collins pedestrian injury lawyerWhen people think of car accidents, they likely think of car-on-car collisions. However, accidents involving pedestrians can also cause severe damages and possible fatalities. According to AAA Colorado, since 2009, the number of pedestrians killed on a yearly basis in Colorado has nearly doubled.

Urban areas have seen the highest increase in pedestrian fatalities, which occur most often on sidewalks, the side of the road, and crosswalks. Some of the most common causes for pedestrian accidents include a driver’s failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, or to maintain control of their vehicle. Drunk driving is also a common contributing factor. Colorado has made an effort to combat these tragic accidents, strengthening its state laws and penalties.

Colorado’s Efforts to Minimize Pedestrian Accidents

Colorado has implemented various traffic laws that pertain to expectations for both drivers and pedestrians. It is possible for both the driver and the pedestrian to fail to follow these rules. Right-of-way laws in Colorado dictate when motor vehicles must halt and yield to pedestrians. Specifically, Colorado law reserves the right-of-way for pedestrians at all crosswalks and intersections, requiring all drivers to stop completely and allow the pedestrian to safely cross. This rule is maintained in circumstances when traffic signals are not present or are not working properly.

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larimer county workers compensation lawyerTwo workers were killed and another 42 injured in a work accident after a chemical leak at a plant in La Porte, Texas, earlier this week. According to information released by the company, LyondellBasell, approximately 100,000 pounds of a chemical mixture that included acetic acid was released in the leak. Other chemicals released included hydrogen iodide, methyl acetate, and methyl iodide.

Plant officials say 30 of the workers injured were hospitalized, some with critical injuries. One victim suffered burns, while the 29 others suffered respiratory issues.

What Is Acetic Acid?

Acetic acid is an organic, flammable liquid that can cause serious eye damage and severe skin burns to exposed victims. The acid also produces a hazardous vapor and is very corrosive to metals and tissues. Acetic acid is used to make other chemicals. It is also used as a food additive in extremely diluted amounts.

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Fort Collins CO wrongful death lawyerColorado Springs police issued a report of a child who was taken to the hospital after a near-drowning incident on July 15 at the Hotel Elegante. Police have not released any other information, including the child’s age or current condition, but the incident is perhaps notable in light of a drowning that occurred at the same hotel several years ago. In that case, the family of the child who drowned later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hotel, as well as several other parties. These cases raise the question of who may be liable for drowning accidents.

Allegations of Negligence

After the previous drowning incident, which happened in December 2017, the victim’s family alleged that the hotel was liable due to a failure to provide adequate warning of a steep drop-off between the shallow end and the deep end of the pool, as well as a failure to enforce a rule requiring children entering the pool area to have adult supervision. The family also sought damages from the grandmother of the victim’s friend, who the family alleged was responsible for the victim’s supervision at the time.

Colorado Premises Liability Laws

Colorado premises liability laws apply in many drowning incidents. According to these laws, property owners owe a duty of care to lawful visitors to keep the property reasonably free of hazards. When there is a failure of that duty and a person is injured as a result, the victim can pursue a premises liability lawsuit against the owner for the losses they suffer because of their injuries. If the victim dies from their injuries, their family may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner, like the family of the young girl who drowned.

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Colorado workers' comp lawyerWhen a worker is injured in the course of their job or develops a medical condition or illness that is work-related, Colorado law says they are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits through their employer. Depending on the severity of the injuries, workers’ comp can provide a variety of different benefits. Recent changes to the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act will affect how those benefits are administered in the coming months and years.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Colorado

Under the Colorado Workers' Compensation Act, if an employer has three or more employees, they are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. When an employee is injured on the job, they must report the injury to their employer in writing within four days of the injury in order to qualify for those benefits.

An injured worker is entitled to have all their medical expenses paid for, as long as the provider(s) they see have been authorized by the insurance company. If a worker is temporarily disabled because of their injury, they are entitled to two-thirds of their lost weekly wages until they can return to work at full capacity. If a worker is permanently disabled and unable to return to work because of their injury, they may be entitled to weekly benefits for a longer time period or the rest of their life.

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Larimer County wrongful death attorneyA tragic accident in Iowa has made national news and serves as an important reminder of how vulnerable children are to accidental injury and death at amusement parks, playgrounds, and other recreational locations.

The accident occurred over the Fourth of July holiday weekend at the Raging River ride at Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa. The water ride pushes rafts through “faux river rapids” using a conveyor belt. The 11-year-old victim and five other people were on the ride when the raft they were in flipped over. One other child was listed in critical condition and two others suffered minor injuries.

History of Accidents

The ride had just opened for the first time for the summer season the day before the fatal accident following an inspection and approval by the Iowa Division of Labor. The ride has been a popular attraction at the park for almost 40 years; however, this is the second fatal accident in just five years. In 2016, a 68-year-old employee was killed when he fell because the ride suddenly started moving as he was helping riders on and off the rafts. The family of the employee who was killed on the ride later settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the park.

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 fort collins car accident lawyerIn last week’s blog post, we began discussing the recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in its 2021-2022 Most Wanted List (MWL). The annual list focuses on safety issues and what steps should be taken in all areas of national transportation. Our prior post discussed the agency’s recommendations for drunk and drugged driving crashes and protecting vulnerable road users. In this week’s post, we will continue our discussion with the agency’s recommendations for distracted driving accidents, speed-related accidents, and crash-avoidance technology.

Eliminate Distracted Driving

Each year, there are about 400,000 victims injured in vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers, and distracted drivers kill more than 3,000 victims. Smartphones and tablets are one of the main causes of distracted driving incidents. It is no wonder these numbers are so high, given that there are almost 300 million smartphone users in the United States.

And while many states have passed hands-free driving laws, multiple studies show that using a device hands-free does not reduce the driver’s distraction. Despite the belief that multitasking is possible, we can only focus our cognitive behavior on one task at a time. This means engaging in any task – like talking on the phone – while we are driving diverts part of our attention away from the road.

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fort collins car accident lawyerThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the independent federal agency that is responsible for civil transportation accident investigations. According to its website, the agency’s mission is to “. . . save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity. Each spring, the NTSB releases its Most Wanted List (MWL) that focuses on transportation safety improvements needed to prevent accidents, reduce injuries, and save lives. The list addresses transportation safety improvements in aviation, highway, rail, marine, pipeline, and hazardous materials.

In its 2021-2022 Most Wanted List, the agency cites more than 100 safety recommendations for the 10 items on the list. Five of those items concern improvements needed for highway safety, addressing crashes involving speed, distracted driving, driving under the influence, vulnerable road users, and collision-avoidance technologies.

Protect Vulnerable Road Users Through a Safe System Approach

The MWL categorizes motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists as vulnerable road users (VRUs). According to this year’s MWL, there were more than 12,000 vulnerable road users killed in traffic accidents in 2019. While other types of traffic accident fatalities are decreasing, those involving vulnerable road users have increased by as much as 5 percent over the past decade.

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Larimer county car accident lawyerThe majority of drivers are aware of the dangers of drunk driving and how prevalent it is in causing vehicle accidents, however, the number of drugged driving accidents is quickly catching up. While many people think only illicit drugs are behind drugged driving accidents, statistics reveal that there is also a large problem with prescription drugs. A drugged driver is just as liable in a crash as a drunk driver is and Colorado law allows victims to pursue damages against those drivers.

How Often Are Drivers Operating Under the Influence of Drugs?

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), almost 13 million drivers aged 16 years or older admitted to driving under the influence of illicit drugs. Males are more often under the influence of drugs while driving than females, and one-third of teens think they drive better when they are under the influence of marijuana.

One major study conducted by Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area in 2019 found that since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2013, the number of fatal crashes in which drivers tested positive for marijuana spiked 135 percent, while the overall number of crash fatalities rose by 24 percent.

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colorado boat accident lawyerFort Collins and the surrounding areas have some gorgeous areas for those who enjoy boating. Whether you are looking to go fishing, water skiing, kayaking, or just enjoy a leisurely cruise, boats are welcome at  Horsetooth Reservoir, Boyd Lake State Park, Carter Lake, and Lonetree Reservoir. Unfortunately, boating activities also bring the risk of boating accidents. Last year, the state of Colorado reported 34 recreational water-related deaths. The state is already reporting four deaths so far this year, with two in Larimer County, with the warm weather season just beginning.  

Boating Accident Statistics

According to data collected by the U.S. Coast Guard, there are approximately 4,000 boating accidents that occur nationwide each year, resulting in more than 600 deaths and leaving thousands more injured. Around 80 percent of those fatalities are caused by drowning, and the Coast Guard reports that more than 85 percent of those victims do not have life jackets on at the time of the accident.

Just like car and other vehicle accidents, alcohol is a significant factor in fatal boating accidents, responsible for almost one-fourth of all incidents. Colorado law enforcement report that there have already been numerous arrests for BUI (boating under the influence) already this season. Other frequent causes of boating accidents include:

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fort collins car accident lawyerMemorial Day is traditionally known as the official summer kickoff. It is also in the middle of the annual Click It or Ticket campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It has been well documented for decades that seat belts save lives in the event of a vehicle accident. While at one time, wearing a seat belt was up to the individual, today, every state has some form of seat belt law in place.

In Colorado, all front-seat occupants must wear a seat belt. Passengers 15 years or younger must be secured with an appropriate safety restraint system no matter where they are sitting in the vehicle. Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence they save lives and the fact that it is the law, there are still many people who refuse to buckle up.

Seat Belt Usage

According to national statistics, at least 27 million people admit to not wearing a seat belt. In 2019, almost 18,000 fatal car crash victims were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. It is estimated that over 15,000 lives are saved because of the use of seat belts.

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colorado motorcycle accident lawyerEach year, the month of May is designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Colorado and throughout the country. Traditionally, May has been the month chosen for this safety campaign since May is the beginning of warm weather and riding season in many states. In keeping with this theme, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has also chosen May to launch its new Aftermath campaign to help spread how important it is for motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Wearing a helmet can save a rider’s life in the event of a motorcycle crash.

Deadliest Year

According to statistics from the CDOT, 2020 was the deadliest year on record for motorcyclists. There were 137 riders killed in motorcycle accidents last year, a 33 percent increase over the previous year’s fatalities. The ratio of the number of motorcycles in the state and the number of fatalities demonstrates just how dangerous riding can be. While motorcycles made up only 3 percent of the total number of registered vehicles in Colorado, motorcycle crashes made up 22 percent of all traffic deaths last year.

Motorcycle Helmets

Colorado law does not require any motorcycle operator or passenger who is 18 years or older to wear a helmet, despite the proven fact that helmets protect a rider from catastrophic injury and death. In fact, out of all the protective gear a rider can wear, their helmet is the most important piece of gear in determining whether they survive a crash or die.

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construction accident lawyerThe construction industry has been labeled one of the most dangerous industries to work in by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, according to national statistics, at least two construction workers die from work-related injuries each day. While there are many different types of construction site accidents, one of the most dangerous is trench collapses.

Trench Collapses

Trenches are dug for a number of reasons on construction sites. Trenches are also used in the agricultural industry, as well as for installing utilities and pipelines. Employees who are working around and in trenches are at a high risk of becoming injured or killed in trench collapses, side-wall collapses, and cave-ins. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 25 workers are killed each year in trench accidents. The most frequent cause is cave-ins, which kill three out of every four victims. The other fatalities are caused by electrocutions and struck-by accidents.

Local Worker Killed

Fatal trench accidents can also occur from drowning, which happened in a recent tragic accident on a job site in Larimar County that resulted in the death of a 50-year-old worker.

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fort collins personal injury lawyerIt has been well documented that even a minor brain injury can result in major issues, leaving a victim dealing with confusion, headaches, coordination issues, and even seizures. Multiple studies reveal that years after the injury has healed, a victim could have new medical problems that are triggered by that brain injury. In one new study, researchers in the U.K. have determined that victims who sustain a traumatic brain injury have a significantly increased risk for stroke years after the initial injury.

The Study

The study was done by researchers from the University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Research, using data collected from 18 different studies conducted in four countries. The compiled data revealed that people who had sustained brain injuries had an 86 percent higher risk of suffering a stroke than people without brain injuries. That risk is highest during the first four months following the injury, but a victim still has a significant risk of stroke for up to five years later. Even more alarming, the studies show that the severity of the brain injury made no difference in a victim’s stroke risk. Since more than 70 percent of brain injuries are considered “mild,” the study team suggests that any brain injury should be deemed a “chronic condition” even if the victim has recovered.

Long-Term Effects of Brain Injuries

This study is not the first to reveal that brain injuries have a significant long-term impact on victims’ lives. Prior studies have found brain injuries increase the risk of many neurological conditions, including dementia, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that approximately 2.5 million people suffer brain injuries each year. Vehicle accidents and falls are responsible for almost half of these injuries. When a victim suffers a brain injury, the recovery and rehabilitation process can be a long and painful one. Many victims are left with high medical bills and are usually unable to work while they recover. The brain injury may also leave them with life-long disabilities, and as many of these studies show, at risk for dangerous medical conditions later in life.

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

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Fort Collins, CO 80524

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