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Larimer County personal injury attorney car accident

If you have been injured in a car accident, your chances of obtaining compensation usually rest on the ability to demonstrate that another person was responsible for the crash due to his or her negligent behavior. Recent data published by the Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT) points to the prevalence of driver negligence in automobile collisions, indicating that from 2005 to 2018, more than half of all car accidents throughout the state involved an apparent “human contributing factor.” Many of the common factors noted can form the basis of your personal injury case.

Human Contributing Factors in Car Accidents

The Colorado DOT’s report further breaks down some of the specific behaviors involved in crashes that had a clear human contributing factor. Some of the most common were:

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Larimer County personal injury attorney car accident

According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver distraction was a factor in 8 percent of fatal car accidents and 15 percent of injury accidents in 2018, affecting more than 400,000 people in total. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle collision, there is a significant chance that some form of distracted driving was involved. The good news is that you can often use this as evidence of another driver’s negligence as you seek compensation through a personal injury claim.

Examples of Distracted Driving

The primary example of distracted driving that may come to mind, and the only one that is specifically restricted under Colorado law, is the use of a cell phone while behind the wheel. Sending a text message or otherwise reading or typing a message on a phone is especially dangerous, as it can remove a driver’s eyes and attention from the road for several seconds at a time.

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Larimer County personal injury attorney car accident

The number of Coloradans who are killed in car accidents involving alcohol is increasing in recent years, accounting for more than 25 percent of all crash fatalities in the state. With the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado, it too is becoming a measurable factor in traffic accidents, injuries, and deaths. If you have been injured by a driver who was impaired by alcohol, marijuana, or any other controlled substance, an experienced attorney can help you seek compensation for your damages.

The Dangers of Driving Under the Influence

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies several ways in which alcohol can impair a driver’s abilities. These include reduced attention, concentration, perception, information processing ability, coordination, and motor and visual abilities, and the effects increase along with a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

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Larimer County workers compensation attorney car accident

Any time you are traveling on the road, you run the risk of being involved in a car accident, and if your job requires you to drive on a regular basis, you may be at greater risk. If you are injured in a car accident while on the job, you may fear that your only options for compensation are a claim through your car or health insurance provider, or a personal injury lawsuit against another driver. Fortunately, this is usually not the case, as you can likely obtain recovery through your employer’s workers’ compensation policy.

Employees at Risk of Vehicle Collision Injuries 

Many employees must regularly drive as part of their job responsibilities. Commercial truck and bus drivers may spend the most amount of time on the road, but delivery drivers, postal workers, and first responders including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs all drive frequently as well. The same may be true for employees of any business that provides a traveling service, as well as employees who simply run occasional work-related errands. Any employee who is injured in a car accident during the course of his or her workday may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, whether the accident was the fault of another driver or the employee him or herself.

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Larimer County personal injury attorney car accident

Over Labor Day weekend, Fort Collins experienced its earliest snow accumulation in over 130 years, reminding Coloradans once again of the state’s extreme weather fluctuations and the possibility for hazardous road conditions at almost any time of the year. It is never too early to start preparing for the necessary safety precautions when driving on snowy and icy roads so that you can avoid being injured in a car accident or causing a crash that injures someone else.

Precautions for Driving in Snow in Colorado

As a driver, there are many ways that you can take responsibility for preventing accidents in snowy weather, including:

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Larimer County personal injury attorney car accident

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), there were more than 500 fatal vehicle crashes in Colorado in 2018. Not all car accidents lead to fatalities, but they can cause serious to permanent injuries. If you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver, seeking compensation through a personal injury claim is often a clear decision. However, if you believe you were partially at fault for the accident, your options may seem more complicated, and you may wonder if it is even possible to receive any financial relief for your injuries. The good news is that because of Colorado’s negligence laws, you can still be eligible for some compensation as long as your negligence is determined to be less than that of the other involved parties.

What Constitutes Negligence in a Colorado Car Accident?

Negligence occurs when a person or entity fails to uphold their duty of care to another, and if this negligence results in injuries, the person impacted can seek compensation for his or her damages. In the case of a car accident, negligence can include violations of traffic laws or regulations and any other unsafe driving behavior that endangers other users of the road. Common examples include speeding, following too closely, failing to signal or obey traffic signs, drunk or impaired driving, and distracted driving due to texting, eating, or anything else that removes a driver’s attention away from the road.

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Larimer County personal injury attorney car accident

Everyone hopes to avoid being injured in a car accident, but in the unfortunate event that it does happen, one would hope that the other driver’s insurance would at least cover medical bills for any injuries he or she causes. However, recent statistics show that 13 percent of Colorado drivers are uninsured, and many more have policies with the state’s minimum required bodily injury coverage of $25,000 per person injured and $50,000 total, which may be insufficient in cases of severe injuries that result in long-lasting consequences. That is why it is important to seek professional legal advice after being involved in any type of vehicle collision. 

Steps to Take After a Crash

If you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may feel stress, fear, and uncertainty as to how to proceed, but fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself even in this difficult situation. Follow these four tips for ensuring that you receive adequate compensation:

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Fort Collins accident lawyerEven though lockdowns and quarantines as a response to the coronavirus pandemic have kept many Coloradoans off the roads, the number of driving citations issued by law enforcement for speeding has not reflected this change. In fact, traffic tickets issued by police for exceeding the speed limit have actually increased with the implementation of statewide isolation orders.

While fewer people are currently on the road, incidents of reckless driving have paradoxically increased, according to the Denver-based news agency, FOX31. Not only do they report a rise in the number of speeding citations issued since 2019, but the number of car accidents has also spiked. The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) reported 6,550 car accidents in the first four months of 2019. Just one year later, this number skyrocketed to approximately 9,600 crashes in the same amount of time — a 70 percent increase in one year.

How You Can Protect Yourself

As restrictions begin to ease and lockdown orders come to an end, the roads will gradually begin to fill again. Since many drivers have not been on the roads for the past few months, there will be even more opportunities to get caught in an automobile accident. Cultivating strong, defensive driving habits now may keep you and your family safe even as the rate of accidents grows.

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Larimer County hit-and-run accident attorney

Following a motor vehicle collision, the drivers involved are required to remain at the scene, render any necessary aid to those who have been injured, and exchange contact information with each other. Unfortunately, some drivers choose to flee the scene of a collision, and these hit-and-run car accidents can leave victims suffering from severe or fatal injuries. The Denver Post reports that, as of Thursday, May 28, 2020, the city of Denver has recorded 1,899 hit-and-run accidents since the beginning of the year, averaging approximately 390 incidents monthly. Drivers who have been involved in these types of accidents will want to understand the steps they can take to pursue compensation if the other person leaves the scene.

Four Steps to Take After a Hit-And-Run

An automobile accident is enough to leave anyone dazed, and doubly so if the other party has left the scene. Here are four things you should do in the event you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident:

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Larimer County auto accident attorney

Although other drivers’ actions are unpredictable, there are two things all motorists can do to help avoid auto accidents, including driving safely and properly maintaining their vehicles. Typically, people are often reminded to obey traffic laws, pay attention at all times, and to stay sober when driving. However, faulty or worn-out auto parts can also cause collisions with minor to serious injuries. Since Colorado is an “at fault” state, a driver who does not properly maintain his or her vehicle can be deemed at fault for negligent maintenance and upkeep. If you have been in an accident that involves broken or faulty vehicle components, you should work with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine your legal options, especially since these types of cases can be more complicated than your average fender-bender.

Essential Vehicle Maintenance

Although many people wait for warnings to appear on the dashboard or for other obvious symptoms before bringing their cars into a repair shop, some preemptive maintenance goes a long way. At least once a year, every motorist should make sure to have a skilled mechanic check the following:

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Larimer County auto accident attorney

If you have been in a car accident there are a variety of steps you should take to protect yourself in the immediate aftermath. You must first seek emergency medical attention if necessary, then report the accident and exchange insurance information with the other driver. You may be wondering what to do next if your vehicle is significantly damaged. The window of time after an accident can be stressful, but taking the right steps during this time can ensure that you are properly compensated for property damage, as well as any injuries you suffered in the collision. By receiving legal assistance from a personal injury attorney, you can be sure that you will be properly compensated for all of your damages.

What Are Colorado’s Total Loss Laws?

“Totaling” or “totaled” are words that often get used as slang for vehicles that are not functional or are undrivable, but drivers may not understand what these terms actually mean. To "total" a car means to declare it a total loss, which dictates how you and your auto insurance provider will move forward. A car does not have to be a complete wreck to be totaled. Instead, the cost of repairs must exceed a certain threshold, which may differ from state to state. In Colorado, that threshold is 100 percent. That is, Colorado legally requires insurers to declare a vehicle a total loss if the estimated repair costs would exceed the market value of that vehicle.  

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Larimer County car accident attorney

Every driver in Colorado is required to carry car insurance in case of an accident. If you or a family member are involved in a vehicle collision, it can be difficult to maintain a clear mind and understand exactly what your policy covers. Most policies function similarly, so the guidelines here will likely apply to you in many ways. However, even when you have a general understanding of your auto insurance policy and relative confidence in determining what the other party’s policy covers in an accident, it is imperative that you obtain sound legal advice from a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights.

Legal Aid When Seeking Damages

Before diving into what your and another driver’s insurance policies cover in a crash, it is important to understand how vital legal guidance can be after you or your loved one are involved in a car accident. In many cases, determining which driver is at fault is not that simple. A police report might not accurately describe what happened, or there may be other mitigating circumstances, like a nearby construction zone. Even if there were just minor injuries and vehicle damage, a skilled attorney can help you establish liability for the collision, and they can negotiate with insurance companies and help make sure that you receive the compensation you need and deserve. That is why it is essential that you contact an attorney first before talking to any insurance company, including your own. 

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Larimer County car accident attorney

While many people believe that pedestrians always have the right of way when crossing the street, the truth is that pedestrians are not infallible. They can make mistakes just like drivers do, and this probably occurs more often than you might think. In fact, many pedestrian accidents and pedestrian deaths in Colorado over the last few years have been clear cases that illustrate the pedestrian was at fault. In other cases, the collision may involve a combination of fault by both the driver (or drivers) and the pedestrian. Below are some circumstances in which a motorist may not be at fault, and a pedestrian may be liable for any damages and injuries.

When the Driver Is Not at Fault

Pedestrians might believe that if they are hit by a car, it will almost always be the driver’s fault. However, a driver may not be at fault if all of the following can be proven in court:

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Larimer County car accident attorney

Studies show that approximately nine people die and 1,000 more are injured every day in the United States from motor vehicle accidents resulting from distracted driving. This is a serious issue, so much so that nearly every state has laws against distracted driving. With that in mind, it is important to know and recognize the types of driving distractions and understand how they can lead to car accidents.

Distracted Driving Categories

Driving distractions can be divided into three categories, with most distractions overlapping in more than one category. The three main types of driving distractions are:

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Larimer County car accident injury attorney

Even for people who have been involved in a car accident before, there can be many unknowns depending on the circumstances of the crash. A fender-bender may not cause too much trouble, but when your car is severely damaged or you need intensive medical treatment, you may not know where to turn for help. If you are hurt in a vehicle collision, a personal injury attorney can assist you in seeking the financial compensation you need and deserve. 

What Are Examples of Negligence on the Road?

Since 2011, fatal car crashes in Colorado have steadily increased. Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents. There are no restrictions on talking on a cell phone for drivers 18 years and older. However, texting or any other kind of data entry is prohibited for all drivers. When motorists break these laws, they put others in danger, just as they would when drunk driving or speeding. If a driver's negligence was the cause of an accident, he or she can be held responsible for the injuries and damages suffered by other drivers or passengers. In these cases, an experienced attorney can help you determine your best options for pursuing compensation. 

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Larimer County auto accident injury attorney

Whether seen on the news, witnessed, or through personal experience, we are all familiar with car accidents. In 2018 alone, 4.5 million people in the United States were injured in car accidents, and 40,000 people lost their lives. Some circumstances increase the likelihood of car accidents, such as poor weather conditions or negligent actions by a driver. No matter what causes a vehicle collision, it is important to understand your rights and your options for seeking compensation if you find yourself a victim of a crash.  

Who Can Be Held Liable?

Generally speaking, many auto accidents take place in rural areas. The likelihood of an accident occurring also increases if it is dark outside, if alcohol is involved, or if a young driver is behind the wheel. Sometimes, car accidents are unavoidable and are the fault of neither driver. However, when someone is responsible for causing a car accident in Colorado, he or she can be held liable for the damages caused by his or her negligent actions. A person may be found negligent if he or she failed to take reasonable care in a situation, and another person suffered injuries as a result.

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Larimer County car accident attorney

Although there is no single correct way to react to trauma, being prepared for a car accident can make a tough situation better. Even for safe drivers, it is a smart idea to learn how to respond if you are ever involved in a vehicle collision. Drivers can make their own decisions on the road, but unfortunately, they cannot control the driving habits of others. Knowing the proper steps to take after an auto accident can not only prevent further incidents but can benefit drivers and passengers if they decide to file a personal injury suit. In certain situations, the accident may have been caused by another motorist’s negligent actions. 

Steps to Take After a Crash

Preliminary results from the Colorado Department of Transportation show that fatal accidents have decreased between 2017 and 2019. This was after a steady climb in accidents starting in 2011, reaching a high of 600 fatal crashes in 2017, which was the highest since 2002. Luckily, not all car accidents are fatal, but people can still be seriously injured in car accidents that are caused by drinking and driving (DUI), distracted driving, and reckless driving. 

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Larminer County auto accident attorney

Last year, an estimated 112.5 million Americans traveled during the December holiday season. No matter what holidays people celebrate, many take this time off work or school to travel to visit family or take a vacation. In many cases, these trips involve traveling via automobile, and due to the increased traffic on the roads, car accidents can become more likely during this time of year. Collisions may occur because of inclement weather, but distracted or impaired driving can also be a factor in accidents that result in serious injuries or fatalities.    

Factors that Contribute to Winter Car Crashes

The holiday travel season begins around December 22 and ends on January 1. The National Safety Council (NSC) typically estimates that around 800 people will die on the roads during Christmas and New Year periods. Cars have the highest rate of deaths per mile versus other forms of transportation. This is true throughout the entire year, so why do car accidents spike during the winter holiday season?

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Larimer County pedestrian accident injury attorney

It is no secret that pedestrian accidents often end tragically. Even at slow speeds, a pedestrian can be severely injured or killed after being hit by a car. Last year in Colorado, 90 pedestrians were killed in auto accidents, which was up 40 percent from three years prior in 2015. As of September, official records report 37 deaths so far this year. The final total for 2019 will include this number and likely other pedestrian deaths. Therefore, it is important to be aware of crosswalks and the role they play in pedestrian safety. 

Crosswalk Safety

Last month, a pedestrian died after getting hit by a car at night in Fort Collins. The victim, a 23-year-old man from the area, was hit by a minivan. Although the crash is still under investigation, it is noted that a crosswalk was not being utilized by the pedestrian at the time of the accident. Alcohol and reckless driving were not thought to be contributing factors.

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Larimer County distracted driving car accident lawyer

It may feel like there is not enough time in the day to focus on one task at a time, but operating a motor vehicle should be the only thing on a driver’s mind when he or she is behind the wheel. In Colorado, 43 accidents each day are caused by distracted driving. Although it only accounts for 13 percent of all accidents, distracted driving often causes serious injury or wrongful death. If a distracted driver causes a car accident, other parties involved may be eligible for compensation if they suffer injuries, property damage, or pain or suffering. 

Proving Negligence for Distracted Driving

A personal injury case is reliant on being able to prove that negligence was involved in an accident. Under Colorado law, contributory negligence plays a role in determining compensation. A defendant is only obligated to compensate the plaintiff for his or her proportion of fault. If the court determines the plaintiff's negligence is greater than the defendant’s, the plaintiff may not recover any damages at all. 

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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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Greeley, Colorado 80634 |
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