Almost half of the fatal car accidents in large cities like Denver are caused by drunk drivers. As staggering as this fact is, it has been a fact for a long time, despite media campaigns against drunk driving, stiff penalties for DUIs, and extending liability to parents and providers of alcohol. The next biggest contributing factor in fatal car accidents is distracted driving: talking or texting on cell phones, reading, putting on make-up while driving, etc. This is despite the fact that distracted driving laws are in effect Colorado for all drivers, and cell phone use is banned entirely for drivers under 18. The third biggest contributing factor in fatal car accidents is aggressive driving/road rage. Improper lane changes, tailgating, stopping short, flashing lights, improper passing, rude gesturing, etc., are all examples of aggressive driving and actions demonstrating behavior which can lead drivers to take their eyes and minds off proper driving. For more information on causes of fatal car accidents, consult with a Denver wrongful death lawyer.
Given that almost half of all fatal car accidents involve drunk driving, it is important to know how to assert liability in a DUI auto accident and what type of damages can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit based on such an accident. For liability in most car accidents, proof of negligence on the part of the driver who caused the accident is enough. For liability in DUI cases, a driver has to have a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher to be legally intoxicated. If it can be shown that the driver got on the road after consuming alcohol at a bar, restaurant, or other facility serving liquor, liability may extend to that facility through dram shop laws.
Recovery of damages in DUI wrongful death cases includes compensation for property damages, medical expenses, loss of companionship, loss of future income and possibly punitive damages. Consult your Denver wrongful death lawyers for more information.
Asserting liability for the second biggest factor in car accident fatalities–distracted driving–involves using the distraction as the evidence. NHTSA studies have concluded that the cognitive distraction of even talking on a cell phone, let alone texting or checking emails on one, can render a driver as or more impaired as being legally intoxicated. When asserting liability for distracted driving car accident fatalities, the cell phone records are often the best evidence. Recovery of damages would be the same as described above.
The third biggest factor in car accident fatalities, aggressive driving, is being addressed in a number of ways. One of them is an initiative by the Colorado State Patrol, or CSP, called ADAPT: Aggressive Drivers Are Public Threats. ADAPT is an extensive media campaign utilizing PSAs, mailings, high school assemblies, and many other public out-reaches. To assert liability in an accident involving an aggressive driver, often the place to start is with a citation for reckless or careless driving. If the driver changed lanes improperly, followed the car ahead too closely, passed a car improperly, or any other traffic violation, then the driver can be cited for careless or reckless driving. The citation then becomes part of the evidence against the driver in a wrongful death lawsuit seeking recovery for damages from a fatal car accident due to that reckless or careless driving.
To learn more about how to recover financially when a loved one is lost in a fatal car accident, contact your Denver wrongful death lawyers at Levine Law for a free consultation.