With the rapid population growth along the Front Range, car accidents have become a growing issue in the Denver and Boulder areas. This is particularly true during winter months when recent transplants have to adjust to the harsh driving conditions created by snowy and icy roads.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by the negligent actions of another driver, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages. The Tenge Law Firm will fight aggressively to protect your rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Often, car accidents result in catastrophic injuries that can impact your life for years to come. In addition, your family may face tremendous financial hardships due to expensive medical treatments, especially if you must take a significant amount of time off from work while you recover. It’s crucial that you have an experienced car accident attorney on your side who can ensure your recovery adequately addresses the true extent of your damages.
You can learn about your rights and options by speaking with Todd Tenge in person. Please call (303) 566-4068 today to schedule a free car accident consultation. Our offices conveniently serve clients in Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins.
Recovering Damages in a Car Accident Case
After a car accident, you can file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver in order to recover compensation for the following damages:
- Current and future medical expenses related to the car accident
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
Colorado law adheres to the doctrine of partial comparative negligence. This means that you may collect damages proportionate to the other driver’s percentage of fault for the accident, up to 50% of your own fault. For example, if the other driver was determined to be 70% at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to recover 70% of the total accident-related losses you’ve suffered. However, once you’re found to be at least 50% at fault for the accident, you’re no longer eligible to recover compensation for your damages.
What to Do after a Car Accident
The actions you take following a car accident can have a significant impact on your ability to recover compensation for any damages you suffer. It's important to know exactly what to do, and what not to do, to ensure that you don't potentially jeopardize your car accident claim.
Before you leave the scene of the accident, make sure you do the following:
- Check to see if everyone in your vehicle is ok. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately and request medical assistance.
Record the following information from the other driver:
- Name, address, phone number
- Insurance information
- Driver's license number and license plate number
- If there are any witnesses to the car accident, record their names and contact information as well. They may become valuable witnesses if your car accident case goes to trial.
- Take photos of the accident scene as well as any damage to both vehicles to use as evidence. A cell phone camera will work fine.
- Call the police and have an officer sent to the scene to fill out a car accident report. These reports can become crucial evidence proving the other driver was at fault.
Once you leave the accident scene, there is still more work to be done. It's important that you take the following actions as soon as possible after your car accident:
- Call your insurance company to report the accident. This is mandatory, and failure to inform your insurance company may impact your ability to collect the benefits to which you are owed. Always answer honestly, but never admit fault or sign any statements without consulting a car accident lawyer.
- Seek medical attention, even if you don't seem to be hurt. Sometimes it takes several days or even weeks for car accident injuries to develop symptoms. It's crucial that you document these injuries as soon as possible and receive treatment in a timely manner.
- Speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. If there was only property damage and no one was injured, then this may not be necessary. However, if you've been injured, you'll need the assistance of an experienced attorney who knows how to stand up to insurance companies.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Car Accidents
While all drivers in Colorado are required by law to carry auto insurance, there are many individuals in the Denver and Boulder area who fail to comply with this law. In addition, many other drivers only carry the minimum required coverage, and this will often not be sufficient to cover all of your damages if you're seriously injured in a car accident. Fortunately, there are certain precautions you can take to protect yourself in the event that you're injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
All auto insurance companies offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of their policies. While this coverage is optional, it's crucial that you purchase it. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is relatively inexpensive, and it provides you with an additional layer of financial protection if the at-fault driver doesn't have adequate insurance coverage to pay for your damages.
Your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will provide you with compensation, up to the maximum limits of your coverage, for the following damages:
- Medical expenses and rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Damage to your vehicle
- Loss of future earning capacity
Mr. Tenge strongly recommends purchasing the maximum allowable uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage offered by your provider to ensure that you are adequately protected in the event of a car accident.
In addition, Mr. Tenge can help you maximize the value of your compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This can be an important way to recover the damages to which you're entitled in the event that insurance benefits prove to be inadequate.
Drunk Driving Car Accidents
There are several important differences between drunk driving car accident cases and other car accident claims. The most important difference involves the type of evidence available in these cases. Police documentation at the accident scene and results from field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests can provide strong evidence enabling you to demonstrate that the other driver was at fault. It's important to work with an attorney who knows how to leverage this information to your benefit.
Another important difference to keep in mind is that you may potentially be able to recover punitive damages in a drunk driving accident case. This is typically not available to you in other types of car accident claims. Whenever appropriate, Mr. Tenge will seek punitive damages in order to help you maximize the value of your compensation after being injured by a drunk driver.
Distracted Driving Car Accidents
Distracted driving is becoming one of the most serious problems affecting your safety when traveling by car. Each year, the number of distracted driving car accidents rises significantly. According to a report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- 10% of teenage drivers killed in car accidents were distracted at the time of the crash
- The use of portable electronic devices while driving results in a three times greater risk of being involved in a car accident
- Texting while driving causes you to take your eyes off the road for approximately 5 seconds, which is long enough to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph
- Texting while driving has been shown to impair your driving ability as much as driving under the influence of alcohol
Cell phone use while driving is by far the most common driver distraction. This behavior is extremely dangerous. According to the NHTSA, cell phone usage has the following harmful impacts on driving behavior:
- Reaction time to brake lights in front of you decreases by 18%
- It takes 17% longer to resume your original speed after braking
- There's a 400% increase in the amount of time your eyes are diverted from the road while texting
However, cell phones aren't the only distraction creating unsafe driving conditions. It's important to avoid engaging in the following potentially distracting actions while driving:
- Adjusting a portable electronic device such as an iPod
- Eating and drinking
- Applying makeup or brushing your hair
- Using a GPS device
- Turning around to talk to passengers
- Looking at interesting sights along the side of the road
If you can demonstrate that the other driver was engaging in one of these common distractions at the time of the car accident, it may make it much easier to prove fault. This can significantly bolster your case.
Proving Fault in a Car Accident Case
If you've been injured in a car accident, your ability to prove the other driver was at fault will have a significant impact on the damages you can cover. There are several ways in which you can find support for your argument that the other driver was at fault:
- Police reports -- When a police officer fills out an accident report at the scene of the accident, the report typically contains an indication of who the officer felt was at fault. In addition, any traffic citations issued will typically be listed in the report. This information can strengthen your case.
- State traffic laws -- If the other driver violated certain traffic laws, it may help you prove fault. Common examples include exceeding the speed limit, running a stop sign or red light, failing to use a turn signal when necessary, or failing to yield the right of way.
In addition, there are two types of car accidents where 99% of the time, the at-fault driver will be clear-cut. These include:
- Rear-end collisions -- In rear-end collisions, the driver who hits you from behind is almost always at fault since basic traffic rules require all drivers to maintain a long enough following distance to stop safely at all times.
Left turn car accidents -- A car making a left turn is almost always found at fault in a car accident with an oncoming vehicle. Exceptions to this rule include:
- If the vehicle driving straight was speeding
- If the vehicle driving straight ran a red light or stop sign
Mr. Tenge will review all of the evidence in order to help you conclusively prove that the other driver was at fault. In some instances, he may work with accident reconstruction experts to provide additional support to your claim.
Why Choose the Tenge Law Firm
Car accident cases can be highly complex. It is often challenging to prove fault, and you may require the assistance of expert witnesses in order to do so. In addition, it’s common for car accident injuries to take days or weeks to become apparent. This is especially true with brain injuries, which can have a delayed onset and take a long time before the severity of the injury becomes apparent. This can make it challenging to estimate the total extent of your damages and to demonstrate that your injuries were in fact caused by the car accident.
Mr. Tenge has nearly 20 years of experience fighting for the rights of car accident victims in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. He knows the unique challenges associated with these cases, and he knows how to battle the insurance companies that often try to offer you a settlement that is less than the maximum value of your claim.
At the Tenge Law Firm, we work with accident reconstruction experts who can help prove the other driver was at fault. We also work with a team of medical specialists who can demonstrate to a jury the true extent of your injuries, including any long term medical care that will be required to help you recover. This will give you the edge you need when seeking to maximize the value of your compensation.
Please contact the Tenge Law Firm using the form at the top of the page or call (303) 566-4068 today to schedule your free car accident consultation. Mr. Tenge serves clients in Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins, Colorado.