DUI Accident Victim Attorneys in Grand Junction
A little alcohol can lead to catastrophic or fatal injuries on the road. If a drunk driver injured you or a loved one, it can be challenging to know where to turn for help. Criminal penalties may punish the driver, but they don’t put your life back together. You need a personal injury lawyer to protect you and help you pursue compensation for your losses.
At Peters & Nolan, LLC, we have over 20 years of trial experience on the Western Slope, and we can guide you through the process from start to finish. We pursue the maximum compensation for accident victims, and we will guide you through this challenging and painful time, providing personal support.
We offer our legal services on a contingency-fee basis. If we take your case, you pay nothing until we achieve a satisfactory settlement or a jury verdict for you. For a free consultation, call our firm at (970) 243-4357 today.
We were all taught to never drink and drive during driver’s ed in our teens. Doing so is not just illegal, but dangerous. So, let’s refresh ourselves on how exactly alcohol impairs the human system that makes it almost impossible to drive safely.
Reduced vision: Vision is the most important sense you have when driving. If you cannot see, you cannot follow traffic laws, or even stay on the road. Unfortunately, alcohol reduces a driver’s ability to see distance, judge speed properly, and notice movement from other vehicles. It can also cause blurred vision, double vision, and dimmish a person’s ability to focus. With reduced vision, drunk drivers will be unable to see dangerous obstacles in the road and will likely cause a serious collision.
Impaired judgment: Drivers need good judgment when on the road. Judgment allows you to determine when you need to slow down, speed up, pull over, turn, and stop. If the part of your brain that controls your ability to make judgments is impaired, you won’t be able to make sound decisions. Drunk drivers have an impaired sense of judgment, and so will make decisions that are incredibly dangerous, such as getting behind the wheel to begin with.
Shortened reaction time: Reaction time is key while driving. You never know when you’ll suddenly come across another car in your way, when an animal will run across the road, or when the road may curve drastically. Nature and mankind are unpredictable, so you must always be prepared to take evasive action. If a driver’s reaction time is hindered by alcohol, then he won’t be able to stop or swerve when met with an object or obstacle in the road, guaranteeing a serious accident.
Less ability to distinguish color: This is one of the lesser-known impacts of alcohol, but the substance can actually make it more difficult for you to distinguish between different colors. When coupled with the other impairments, such as lowered judgment, and traffic lights and signs, which often rely on color to convey their meaning, they could blend together and become difficult to tell apart. A drunk driver may see a red light and not be able to tell it apart from a green, thus running through an intersection without even batting an eye.
Driving Under the Influence, more commonly known as DUI, includes operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other narcotics, whether they are legal or illegal. In fact, even prescriptions drugs can result in a DUI charge, if they impair a driver’s ability to be safe. Another term for this is “impaired driving,” because your ability to drive safely and to protect others from harm is compromised.
DUIs seem to be an epidemic in Colorado, with almost 60 people arrested daily. With the legalization of recreational marijuana over the last few years, the risk of coming into contact with an impaired driver has definitely increased. Marijuana can be just as dangerous as alcohol if used too soon before driving. This drug can cause drivers to lose focus, have lowered reaction times, and have a negative impact on a driver’s vision.
While multiple drugs, including marijuana, can lead to a DUI charge, the legal limits around drugs taken before driving can be confusing, and often, charges are left up to an officer’s discretion. The same cannot be said about alcohol. Drivers are considered to be driving under the influence when they have more than .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This limit has been based on decades of research on when drivers become impaired by alcohol. If a driver is caught with a BAC of .08 or higher, then he or she is in breach of the law, and will be arrested.
The state of Colorado, like many other states in America, maintains a dram shop law. This means that any individual or institution (like a bar or restaurant) that provides alcohol to someone who is underage or already intoxicated can be held liable for the actions of that individual afterward. If someone stumbles into a bar or liquor store, clearly inebriated, and the employees of that business choose to sell that person more alcohol, they are partially liable for the consequences of that action. Many business that serve or sell alcohol will cut customers off once they become clearly drunk, as they may be liable if that customer then decides to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
If you have been victimized by a drunk driver, it may be in your best interest to investigate who served that driver alcohol to begin with. If it was multiple locations, which was the last to serve the driver? While the business may try to convince you that they have no responsibility in what happened, the law begs to differ. However, holding a business liable under dram shop laws will require that you have evidence that the driver was clearly inebriated and should not have been served any more alcohol, but with help from the right attorney, that may not be too difficult a task.
A car accident is a stressful and terrifying situation to find yourself in, especially if it was caused by a drunk driver, as their impaired judgment and reaction time often mean they did not slow down before slamming into you. If a drunk driver hit you, take these steps, if you can:
- Stay calm and call 911. Getting medical care for you, anyone else in the vehicle, or anyone else on the scene is the number-one priority.
- Unless you are being taken to the hospital by ambulance, stay at the scene of the accident until the police have arrived. If you can assist the police in ascertaining what occurred, it can provide crucial supporting evidence for your claim. However, make sure that you provide only facts, and never take the blame – liability can be confusing, and you almost certainly didn’t see everything that happened – even if you believe that you made a driving error.
- Drunk drivers sometimes attempt to flee the scene. Do not chase. If at all possible, take photos of the vehicle and write down information (license plate, etc.). This will help the police to locate the offender.
After any crash, you really need to focus on taking care of yourself. This means that you should always continue your treatments, keep track of your expenses, and definitely talk to a Grand Junction injury lawyer. The best way to recover physically is to recover finically, and the best way to do that is to file a claim against the liable parties.
Your injuries may lead to severe hardship and worse quality of life, expensive medical bills, an inability to work, and an extended recovery. That will come at a great financial cost. It is never fair for a victim of a drunk driver to be the one saddled with the bills. That is why filing a claim is in your best interest. When you file a personal injury claim against the drunk driver, you may be eligible for compensation for:
- Immediate medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Convalescent care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death, if your loved one was killed by a drunk driver
However, receiving compensation isn’t as easy as filing a claim. The at-fault driver and insurance provider will do everything they can to pin the blame on you or someone else. The insurance company will use every trick in the book to get you to take as low a settlement as possible, even if you deserve so much more. But, with the right attorney by your side, you can get the compensation that you deserve.
At Peters & Nolan, LLC, we take a limited number of injury cases, which allows us to devote the necessary time and attention to each case. We’ll perform a full evaluation to determine how much money to pursue in an insurance claim or lawsuit. Then, we relentlessly pursue that compensation. We will assist you throughout every phase of your claim, remaining in close communication with you from start to finish. In some cases, it is necessary to take a case to a jury to achieve justice, and we excel at this process.
We help clients throughout Grand Junction and the Western Slope - Delta, Montrose, Eagle, Meeker, Rangely, Glenwood, Rifle, Gunnison, Craig, and Nucla. For a free case consultation, call (970) 243-4357 now.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.