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fort collins car accident lawyerHave you or a loved one been hurt in a situation where another car or truck collided with your vehicle? If so, would you really call the situation an “accident?” It is highly unlikely that the driver hit your car on purpose, so it might be an accident in that sense, but when a wreck occurs, intent and fault are two vastly different ideas. In fact, many people believe that using the word “accident” actually benefits insurance companies and lawyers who defend at-fault drivers. With this in mind, there are national efforts in motion to reduce the use of the word “accident” and to raise awareness regarding how the term can be misleading.

Making Assumptions Subconsciously

In recent years, several advocacy groups have come together to create a national campaign that discourages the word “accident” in car crash cases. Starting in 2015, Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets launched an online educational program and pledge drive intended to eliminate assumptions caused by using “accident.” According to Amy Cohen, who founded Families for Safe Streets after her son was hit by a car and killed in 2013, her son and others like him did not die in accidents. “An ‘accident,’” she maintains, “implies that nothing could have been done to prevent their deaths.”

Proponents of the terminology shift believe that calling a crash an accident gives the subconscious impression that nobody bears specific responsibility for the situation. In reality, most crashes are caused by someone’s actions, inaction, or negligence, which means that someone can and generally should be held responsible.

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fort collins car crash lawyerThere is no question that a car wreck is a frightening experience. Unfortunately, this fear—along with the shock of the crash, adrenaline, and maybe a misplaced sense of blame—can cause problems for you as you consider the possibility of filing a personal injury claim for damages. While such feelings are normal after an accident, it is important to know how to set them aside and focus on keeping your composure. With this in mind, here are five things you should never do in the wake of a car crash:

Car Crash Mistake #1. Underestimating the Damage

This applies to both your body and your vehicle. Initially, the crash might seem to be a minor fender bender, but assuming the damage is minor might belie serious hidden problems. With your vehicle, for example, the frame might be bent, despite the external damage seeming trivial. Likewise, you might feel physically okay, but adrenaline could be masking more severe injuries that present themselves later. Have a mechanic check out your car, and be sure to seek medical attention as soon as you can after the crash to be sure you know how extensive the damage and your injuries really are.

Car Crash Mistake #2: Failing to Document the Accident Scene

Many accident victims believe that filing a police report or giving a statement to the police at the scene is sufficient for protecting their rights. This is not always true. While a police report is an important part of your case, you should do your best to document as much about the crash and the scene as you can on your own. Take pictures of the involved vehicles, any damage, and their positions. Collect names and contact information from potential witnesses, as well as all involved drivers. If you are too injured to do so yourself, ask someone else on the scene to help you.

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CO accident lawyerIt is very well-known that distracted driving is dangerous. A driver who allows virtual goings-on to take his attention from the road around him is putting everyone in his vicinity at risk. Driving while manually using a cell phone is not only risky, but it is also illegal in Colorado in many instances. While drivers may use their phones for the limited purpose of voice calling or in an emergency situation, it is generally not legal to drive with a cell phone in hand. If a driver who causes an accident can be shown to have been breaking a traffic safety law, they may be automatically considered negligent in causing your injuries. The legal concept of negligence per se effectively provides a shortcut to proving negligence in this situation. Breaking a law that is in place to keep people safe certainly appears to reflect a disregard for the safety of others. If you were injured by a driver who appears to have been texting or manually operating their cell phone, we may be able to help you recover compensation.

Is it Legal to Drive While Using a Cell Phone in Colorado?

Colorado drivers are permitted to use cell phones only in very limited circumstances. First, it is legal to use a cell phone for voice calls. Voice calling without the use of hands, while possibly a bit distracting, does not require a driver to take their eyes off the road. What is not legal is to manually enter data, such as by typing, and transmitting, such as by actually sending a text. However, drivers who are minors are not permitted to use a cell phone even for the purpose of voice calling.

There are a few notable exceptions to Colorado’s cell phone rules, mainly pertaining to emergency situations. Drivers may use their cell phones if they need to reach out to public safety officials, and if an emergency arises. Emergencies are dangerous situations. The definition of an emergency includes situations where the driver:

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The Prevalence of Road Rage Explained

Posted on in Car Accident

CO accident lawyerRoad rage incidents are greatly on the rise and have been for over a year. These emotion-driven incidents can result in deadly accidents or even intentional assaults. Drivers with road rage may be unable to make logical decisions after considering the probable consequences of the course of action they are contemplating. Road rage drivers who cause an accident with injuries may appear calm very quickly after the car accident, or they may continue behaving aggressively until forced into compliance by the police. While many drivers who harm someone out of anger quickly regret their actions, their victims are left with injuries that could affect their way of life for years to come. If you have been injured in a road rage incident, you may be entitled to recover significant compensation from the driver who caused your injuries. An attorney may be able to guide you through the process of filing a claim and collecting the finances you are owed.

Understanding Why Road Rage is Rising

The explanation for the current rise in road rage incidents is multi-faceted. Many relate back to the pandemic when most individuals worked from home for the first time and the roads were generally clear for those still required to commute. Essential personnel who never stopped commuting to work may have become conditioned to the low flow of traffic seen at the height of lockdowns before office buildings began to reopen.

For a person accustomed to making their daily commute in ten minutes due to the absence of normal traffic, the return of heavy rush hour traffic may have been immensely frustrating - now their commute takes 30 minutes. Although their commute may have also taken 30 minutes prior to the pandemic, readjusting can be difficult. However, this is by no means an excuse to take out the frustration of a slowed commute on other people who happen to also be caught in the same condensed traffic, as is a common explanation for road rage incidents.

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Top 4 Causes of T-Bone Collisions

Posted on in Car Accident

CO accident lawyerT-bone collisions can be particularly risky for the occupants of the struck vehicle. A modern vehicle’s “crumple zones” are located at the front and rear of the vehicle, offering some degree of protection against rear-end or head-on collisions. The passenger doors offer little in the way of shielding against the impact of a t-bone collision, making it a very commonly deadly type of accident. These car accidents occur when two drivers cross paths at a perpendicular angle, and the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another. Because one driver must run their vehicle directly into the broad side of another vehicle to create a t-bone collision, these accidents would generally be quite easily avoidable if the at-fault driver is properly looking in the direction in which his vehicle is moving. If you have been injured in a t-bone collision, it is quite likely that the other driver was negligent in causing the accident. An attorney may be able to recover financial compensation on your behalf.

Common Negligent Mistakes Drivers Make in Causing T-Bone Collisions

It is quite hard for a driver who has caused a t-bone collision to argue that they were using an appropriate degree of caution to prevent an accident. Common careless mistakes leading to t-bone collisions include:

  • Running lights or stop signs - T-bone accidents frequently occur at intersections when one driver fails to stop for a red light or a stop sign and collides with a driver who was lawfully proceeding through the intersection.
  • Inattentiveness - Whether caused by distraction, commonly related to cell phone use, or simple absentmindedness, inattentiveness to surrounding traffic is a common factor in t-bone collisions.
  • Failing to yield right-of-way - Even when a traffic light is green, drivers are still required to observe another driver’s right-of-way in certain situations. When drivers fail to yield right-of-way, whether to a vehicle that was already in the intersection, or one coming in from the main road, there is a substantial risk of a t-bone collision.
  • Road rage - Disputes regarding who has right of way may escalate into a road rage event, sometimes causing a phenomenon in which both drivers attempt to proceed at the same time. In these instances, both drivers may share in the fault, but the less-at-fault driver may still be able to recover what portion of compensation the law allows.

It is important to work with an attorney who can conduct an independent investigation to seek out proof of the at-fault driver’s carelessness.

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

123 North College Avenue, Suite 160,
Fort Collins, CO 80524

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