Denver Car Accident Lawyer Helping Victims Obtain Justice and Compensation
Car accidents happen every single day on Denver area roads and highways. Unfortunately, in many of these accidents, drivers and passengers suffer severe injuries, and in worst-case scenarios, deaths occur. If you or someone you love has been hurt in an automobile crash, Denver car accident lawyer Jordan Levine will explain your legal rights and fight to get you maximum compensation for your injuries.
Car Accidents Can Be Devastating & Life Changing: We’re Here to Help
Unfortunately, automobile accidents far too often lead to serious injuries or death, and the costs of car accidents can be astronomical when factoring in medical costs and lost wages. When a crash is caused by the negligent behavior of another driver, it is important to contact a qualified Denver auto accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Auto accidents happen for many reasons. Some are caused by bad weather or poor road design, while others are caused by vehicle defects that cause malfunction. Many car crashes occur as a direct result of driver behavior. Jordan Levine of Levine Law has extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured in car crashes on Denver area roads. He understands what automobile accident victims are dealing with and fights to help his clients get maximum compensation for their injuries.
We know that car crash victims and their families may not know where to turn when an accident happens – we are here to help you every step of the way. If you or a family member have been injured in an auto accident, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Denver car accident lawyer.
Our Denver Car Accident Lawyer Outlines Negligence in Car Crashes
Throughout the state of Colorado, drivers are expected to behave in a reasonably safe manner. This means avoiding aggressive driving, staying within the speed limit, paying attention to what other drivers are doing and obeying all safety rules.
A Denver-area driver who fails to drive in a reasonably safe manner puts others at risk. Breaking the rules of the road or driving in an unsafe or careless way is considered a breach of legal duty and is called “negligence.” When a person is legally negligent, he or she can be held responsible for the costs of all injuries that occur due to that negligence. In other words, if a person’s carelessness causes a car wreck, the careless driver must pay damages to the injured victim(s).
In Colorado auto accident cases, the injured person must prove that the other driver was negligent and that the negligence caused a crash. The injured person’s lawyer must also show how severe the injuries are in order to recover compensation. An injured victim receives compensation for his or her auto accident injuries either by settling in an out-of-court agreement with the responsible driver’s insurer or by filing a personal injury lawsuit with the courts.
After a serious or fatal car accident, there is a good chance that you will receive a settlement offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is not a “win.” In fact, we can almost guarantee that the insurance company’s offer is far less than you deserve. You need to avoid settling too soon, and this starts with gaining a basic understanding of your legal rights.
At Levine Law, we offer free initial consultations to car accident victims in Colorado. We want to help you avoid critical mistakes, and your lawyer will make sure you know what your case is worth so that you do not accept an unfair settlement.
Your Statute of Limitations to File an Auto Accident Claim in Colorado
It is important to understand that car accident cases in Denver and across the state of Colorado are subject to a three-year statute of limitations. You will only have three years from the date of the crash to file your car accident claim (with a few limited exceptions). If you fail to act within the three-year deadline, you could be permanently barred from pursuing legal action.
Additionally, if the car crash resulted in death, under Colorado law, you will generally only have two years to file a wrongful death action. Because the statutes of limitation can be confusing and so much is at stake, it is important to seek advice from a competent attorney as soon as possible after your accident. A Denver car accident attorney experienced in handling fatal auto accident cases can make sure that you will not be stopped from pursuing a lawsuit against the responsible parties.
What if You Were Partially at Fault in the Car Accident?
If someone else was 100 percent at fault in the accident, then he or she (or his or her insurance company) is liable for 100 percent of your accident-related losses. But, what happens if you were partially at fault in the collision?
In Colorado, an accident victim’s percentage of fault plays an important role in determining the compensation available. When it comes to a partial fault in an auto accident, Colorado follows a rule known as “modified comparative fault.” This rule states:
- If you are 49 percent or less at fault in an accident, then your award of compensation will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault; and,
- If you are 50 percent or more at fault in an accident, then you are not entitled to any financial compensation.
Let’s say, for example, that an investigation finds you were 10 percent at fault in an accident and your total losses amount to $200,000. Under Colorado’s modified comparative fault rule, you would be entitled to recover $180,000. However, if the investigation reveals that you were 50 percent at fault, then your damages would be $0.
Establishing fault is a critical step in the legal process. In order to prevent the insurance companies from unfairly reducing or denying your award of compensation, it is important that you hire an experienced Denver automobile accident lawyers who can present the evidence you need to prove your claim for damages.
What Constitutes “Just Compensation” for Car Accident Injuries?
Auto accident damages fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Within each of these categories, accident victims can seek just compensation for their current and future losses. Depending on the victim’s injuries and when their accident claim settles (or goes to trial), current losses resulting from an accident can pale in comparison to the losses that the accident victim will continue to sustain in the future.
Economic damages are losses that are financial in nature. In a typical case, these damages will consist of:
- Medical Expenses – All medical expenses you incur in relation to your auto accident injuries.
- Lost Income – Wages, salary, tips, benefits and any other forms of compensation you are unable to earn due to your injuries.
- Loss of Earning Capacity – Future loss of income due to inability to work or being forced to take a lower-paying job.
- Other Out–of-Pocket Costs – Gas; ridesharing costs; payments to landscapers, cleaners, nannies and other service providers; costs to modify your home or vehicle; and, all other costs you incur as a result of being injured.
Non-economic damages are losses that are not financial in nature, but for which financial compensation is still available under Colorado law. Possible non-economic damages in an auto accident claim include:
- Emotional Trauma – Fear, anxiety or other psychological trauma you experience as a result of being involved in a serious auto accident.
- Pain and Suffering – Physical pain and suffering you experience as a result of your injuries.
- Scarring and Disfigurement – Permanent scarring and disfigurement due to burns, severe fractures, loss of limbs and other accident-related injuries.
- Loss of Society, Services, Support, Companionship and Consortium
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Many of these types of non-financial losses will have financial aspects as well. For example, you may need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist for treatment of emotional trauma or anxiety, you may need to buy pain medications, and you may be unable to work as a result of significant scarring. When this is the case, you are entitled to just compensation for your out-of-pocket financial losses as well as the non-financial impacts of your injuries.
Understanding Contingency Fees for Car Accident Attorneys
When you hire a lawyer to handle your claim, your attorney will represent you on a contingency-fee-basis. This means that you will not have to pay anything out of pocket, and you will not be responsible for reimbursing any costs or paying any legal fees unless you receive a settlement or court award. If you receive just compensation, the expenses incurred pursuing your claim will be deducted from your award, and your attorney’s legal fees will be calculated as a percentage of your financial recovery.
Unfortunately, many people incorrectly believe that this type of contingency-fee arrangement means that their attorney will end up receiving the bulk of their award. In reality, even when factoring in legal fees and costs, the amount you recover with the help of an attorney is likely to far exceed any amount you might have been able to secure on your own. At Levine Law, whenever we receive a settlement offer on behalf of a client, we help our clients understand exactly how much they will take home so that they can make an informed decision about how and when to resolve their claim.
Navigating the Do’s and Don’ts of Auto Accidents in Colorado
After a car accident, you may seek the advice of a Denver auto accident lawyer in order to learn more about your legal options and protect your rights. While an experienced attorney will do everything possible to protect you, a few key mistakes on your part early in the process can limit your ability to obtain the full compensation you deserve.
What should I NOT do after a car accident?
If you are in a car accident, avoid making these mistakes. Protect yourself and those you love by knowing what NOT to do after a crash:
- Do NOT ignore the time limits set by your policy. Many auto insurance policies require you to complete certain steps in the claims process within a certain time limit. Know when these time limits are and stick to them.
- Do NOT give any statements to your insurer until you are sure you understand your coverage. Take time to review your auto insurance policy before giving a statement about the accident – either spoken or written – to your insurer. If you have questions about any part of your policy, talk to an attorney.
- Do NOT sign any release or waiver before talking to an attorney. A release or waiver may require you to give up valuable legal rights. You should always speak to your own attorney before signing any release or waiver, and both you and your attorney should read the document carefully.
- Do NOT automatically accept your insurer’s appraisal of your losses. Insurance companies must protect their own bottom line, so their appraisal of your losses in the crash will likely be lower than the value of your actual losses. Get your own appraisal before talking to the insurer about their number.
What should I DO after a car crash?
If you have been involved in an auto accident, be sure to complete the following steps:
- Get immediate medical attention if needed, including emergency care.
- Talk to witnesses, take photographs, or make a sketch of the accident scene if you can.
- Contact your insurance agent promptly after an accident. Be forthright when sharing information, but do not admit that the accident was your fault – even if you think it was. Stick to the facts until you talk to your lawyer.
- Cooperate with any police officers who respond to the accident scene. Get the contact information for officers who respond, so you can contact them later if needed.
- Check your insurance policy to refresh your memory on the types and amounts of coverage you have. Contact an attorney if you have questions or need help obtaining compensation.
What if I’ve already made one of these mistakes after my accident?
Don’t give up. Even if you’ve accidentally done one or more of the “do not do” tasks, you still have the right to seek compensation. A Denver auto accident lawyer can help you protect your legal rights and limit or eliminate any damage that would harm your chances of recovery.
Do I Need to Report the Accident to My Auto Insurance Company?
Yes, even if you are sure another driver was at fault, you still need to report the accident to your insurer (it is most likely required under the terms of your policy). However, you do not have to give a statement, and you should be careful to avoid saying anything the insurance companies might be able to use against you. The best thing to do is to simply report the bare facts of the accident and then say that you need to speak with your attorney before saying anything further.
The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Offered Me a Settlement. Should I Accept?
Though it may seem biased to say, you should avoid accepting a settlement without speaking to a Denver car accident lawyer. Insurance companies typically offer much less than the actual value of your case to make the case go away before you have the opportunity to fully treat your injuries. You may not have had enough for other symptoms or injuries to appear. Only under very limited circumstances should you settle your clam without receiving clearance from a doctor — or having spoken to an experienced law firm.
What Causes Fatal Car Accidents?
Drunk Driving Wrecks
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 third biggest contributing factor in fatal car accidents is aggressive driving/road rage.
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.
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 second most common cause of fatal auto wrecks is distracted driving. NHTSA studies have concluded that the distraction of talking on a cell phone — let alone texting or checking emails — 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 is aggressive or reckless driving. Improper lane changes, tailgating, stopping short, flashing lights, improper passing, rude gesturing, etc., are all examples of aggressive driving and actions which can lead drivers to take their eyes and minds off proper driving. Colorado laws and organizations are handling this behavior 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.
Do I Really Need to Speak with an Attorney About My Auto Accident?
You would expect a law firm to tell you that you need to speak to an attorney after an automobile accident in Colorado. In truth, many fender benders and minor accidents may NOT require the help of an attorney. Small settlements are fine to accept. That said, here are some situations where it may be in your best interest to consult with a Colorado law firm:
You Need to Seek Appropriate Medical Treatment
After an auto accident, it is will not always be immediately apparent whether you have suffered a traumatic injury. For various reasons, it is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible, and an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to refer you to a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating accident-related injuries.
You Need to Preserve Critical Evidence
If you are entitled to a financial recovery, you will need evidence to prove your claim for compensation. This means conducting an investigation, and investigating an auto accident requires the involvement of experienced legal and forensic professionals.
You Need to Protect Yourself Against the Insurance Companies
If you trust the insurance companies to pay what you owe, you will be doing yourself an extraordinary disservice. The insurance companies will always put their interests first; and, if they can get away with paying you nothing, they will.
You Need to Find Out What Your Case is Worth
Before you can make an informed decision about accepting a settlement, you need to know what your case is worth. This requires calculating your current and future financial and non-financial losses, and you will need to work with an experienced Denver accident attorney to make sure you to not unknowingly settle for too little too soon.
You Need to Explore All Options for Recovering Just Compensation
What if the driver who hit you was uninsured? What if his or her insurance isn’t enough to cover all of your accident-related losses? While the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage will be enough in some cases, in others, it will be necessary to explore the other sources of compensation you may have available.
You Need to Be Prepared to Go to Trial
If a fair settlement offer isn’t on the table, you will need to be prepared to go to trial. Your trial attorney will need to be up to speed on your case; and, in addition to providing the best opportunity to secure a fair settlement, hiring an experienced attorney up front will also let the insurance companies know that you are willing to take your case to court.
You Need to Make Decisions with Your Long-Term Best Interests in Mind
When you need help paying your medical bills or are unable to work due to an injury, it is easy to focus on your immediate situation. The insurance companies know this, and they often use it to try to coerce accident victims into accepting unjust settlements. You need to make decisions with your long-term best interests in mind, and a car accident lawyer who understands your situation will be able to help you see the bigger picture.
The Most Dangerous Intersections in Denver for Motorists
Congestion, construction, poor visibility, and lack of signage are some common reasons that accidents are more likely at intersections, but one could argue driving in Denver is dangerous regardless of the intersections with a particularly high car accident rate. According to data from the Colorado Department of Transportation logging car accidents in 2019, Denver leads the state in total crashes by nearly 10,000 more accidents a year followed by Arapahoe and Adams counties.
The top three intersections in Denver with the most accidents include:
- S Santa Fe Dr & W Alameda Ave – this is located near the I-25 overpass just east of the South Platte River.
- E Colfax Ave & N Downing St – this is located hear the CIty Park West and Capital Hill neighboorhoods
- W Colfax Ave & Speer Blvd – this is located near the Colorado Convention Center
If you’ve been in an accident at these intersections, or anywhere throughout the city, Levine Law can help you.
What Are My Rights After an Intersection Accident?
Colorado law empowers a person injured in an accident to seek compensation for the impact of a crash. No amount of money will allow you to go back in time and stop a collision from happening, but compensation can help ease the financial burden that can come with being involved in an accident.
The money damages typically available in Colorado car accident cases when working with a Denver car accident attorney includes compensation for current and future medical bills, as well as property damages, missed wages during recuperation and any reduction in earning capacity resulting from the injuries. These damages are designed to put the injured person back in the position that he or she was in before the accident.
In the tragic event that a person is killed in a car accident, his or her loved ones can seek similar compensation for wrongful death. The compensation in these cases covers medical and funeral expenses, as well as lost wages and the loss of a loved one’s companionship and support.
Contact Levine Law After an Auto Accident in Colorado
For legal advice and assistance in your case, call Levine Law at 303-333-8000 to speak with an experienced Denver auto accident lawyer today, or contact us online now. Consultations are free and our firm handles car accident cases and other injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not be responsible for any fees unless we win your case. Our other locations include Loveland and Fort Collins.