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Common Causes of Colorado Car Accidents

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Car accidents in Colorado can happen anywhere, at any time and usually when you least expect them. Over the years, reports show that most people are involved in car accidents when they are less than five miles from home. Understanding the common causes of car accidents in Colorado Springs and Denver will help you to determine who is liable for your injuries.

The Colorado car accident lawyers at TrueCounsel Injury Law have experience handling all types of car accident claims. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your accident and options.

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Rear-End Car Accidents in Colorado

A rear-end collision between two or more cars in Colorado Springs or Denver can lead to significant injuries, even when the speed of the approaching car is fairly low. A rear-end crash is one of the more common types of collisions that a Colorado driver can be involved in.

Rear-end collisions can be caused by several behaviors: cell phone usage, texting while driving, changing the radio or temperature, following too closely, failing to account for weather conditions, etc. Most are caused simply by a lack of focus and attention by the negligent driver. With the continued rise of cell phone use and in-car features, this number will only continue to rise.

While modern-day bumpers are designed so that they absorb some of the impact, most of the force is transferred to the occupants of the vehicle. A number of these modern bumpers are designed to protect the car more so than the occupants, and poorly designed bumpers will, therefore, transfer more of the impact to the occupants.

You should not try to work with the negligent driver’s insurance company on your own. The insurance company will make low ball offers…if they make any offer at all. There is almost nothing you can do to avoid this cause of the accident, even if you are watching your mirrors all the time.

If the speed of the impact is low, the insurance company is almost guaranteed to state that there is no way you could be injured from such a low-speed collision. While the injuries may be severe if the speed of the negligent driver was high, lower speed collisions often result in soft tissue injuries, which are difficult to see on an MRI and x-ray scan. Closed head injuries are also quite common in low-speed impacts.

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Negligent Driving in Colorado Car Wrecks

negligent driving accidentNegligence is a legal term that essentially means that a person’s conduct fell short of what society expects in that specific situation. Driving a car at 5-10 mph above the speed limit on a clear sunny day will probably not rise to the level of negligence; but if it is raining heavily, chances are they are negligent. Colorado Springs negligent driving car accidents account for the vast majority of Colorado Springs car accidents.

The Legal Standard

To establish a prima facie case of negligence, the plaintiff must prove the elements of negligence. The mere happening of an accident does not raise any presumption of negligence. The elements of a cause of action in negligence are the existence of a duty on the part of the defendant; a breach of that duty; a causal connection between the defendant’s breach and the plaintiff’s injury; and injury of the plaintiff.

Duty

A person must first owe others a duty to act safely before negligence will attach. A car driver owes a duty to others to operate their vehicle in a safe manner, such as making sure there is no oncoming traffic before making a left-hand turn at an intersection. Duty is rarely an issue in a car accident case.

Breach of Their Duty

Once it is established that a person owed a duty, they must then breach that duty of care. Rear ending a sport bike at a traffic light is an obvious and common example of breaching that duty of care. Breaching the duty of care is often the most difficult step to overcome in a lawsuit. The Defendant will try to argue, and often lie, in an attempt to absolve themselves of liability.

Causation

When a driver has breached their duty of care, the next step is to prove that the failure to live up that standard is what caused you to suffer injuries. Normally, this is not too difficult of a task. It does become more difficult if you have previously injured a body part that was again re-injured in the auto accident. If the defendant begins to fight on this issue, an expert witness (highly experienced medical doctor) will be hired to show that the treatment you have sought is solely related to the injuries you sustained in the car accident.

Damages

After showing that a duty was owed, the defendant breached that duty, and the defendant’s actions caused your injuries, the final step is to show the extent of your injuries. Usually, this is as simple as giving the defendant a copy of your medical records so that they can do their due diligence and verify your injuries.

There are endless ways for a driver to cause a negligent car accident. Below is a quick list that you can familiarize yourself with so that you can have a mental plan of action of what to do if you find yourself in one of these situations.

  • Texting while driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to keep a proper lookout
  • Tailgating
  • Running a red light
  • Reckless driving
  • Making a left turn at an intersection
  • Failure to account for weather conditions
  • Fatigued driving
  • Inexperienced driving

Distracted Driving Is Negligent Driving

No doubt one of the leading causes of negligent driving accidents is distracted driving. With modern technology and features in cars, it is easier than ever to take your eyes off the road for a moment to fiddle with the seat warmer or GPS. Smartphones are constantly alerting us to new text messages and what our favorite celebrities ate for dinner.

In that split moment, a driver can blow through a red light, cross the center lane into oncoming traffic, and or fail to yield to a driver who has the right of way. Often, there is absolutely nothing that a driver can do to avoid these types of accidents, regardless of the skill level of the driver.

Types of Distracted Negligent Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration divides up distracted driving into three categories: Visual Distractions, Cognitive Distractions, and Manual Distractions.

Visual Distractions are where a driver takes his eyes off of the road, such as looking at the radio to see what song is playing.

Cognitive Distractions are the mental distractions that can affect drivers, like talking with our friend in the passenger seat, daydreaming, and thinking about what you are going to have for dinner that night.

Manual Distractions are the physical acts that take our attention off the road, as in reaching for the thermostat, drinking a Starbucks coffee, or using a cell phone.

Very often a negligent driver will combine two or all three categories. Texting while driving is a perfect example since it requires us to think about what we want to send, look at the screen, and hold the phone with one hand that should be on the steering wheel.

Running Red Light Car Accidents

According to the NHTSA, over 165,000 deaths are caused per year by drivers who run red lights. Over two million red light accidents are caused every year! In almost every Colorado Springs red-light car accident, the occupants of both vehicles are injured. The injuries sustained to the occupants because a driver runs a red light are often catastrophic, sadly resulting in death at times.

While most are caused by drivers who are too impatient to stop and wait for the light change, there are numerous reasons that people run red lights, including texting and failing to pay attention; inexperienced drivers; speeding up in hopes of making the light; road raged drivers; tired and drunken drivers; as well as simply failing to pay attention to what’s ahead.

There is virtually nothing you can do as a driver to anticipate and avoid red light accidents.

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Colorado Drunk Driving Car Collisions

According to MADD, 10,322 people were killed and approximately 345,000 were injured in drunk driving accidents in 2016. That comes out to someone being killed every 53 minutes and someone injured every 91 seconds in a drunk driving accident. Each crash, each death, each injury impacts not only the person involved in the crash but also family, friends, classmates, coworkers, and more. Safety organizations such as MADD have been warning the public of the catastrophic losses that occur from such an easily avoidable accident, but their warnings are largely ignored.

Most people who drive drunk do so without the slightest care of the potentially unimaginable consequences to others. They usually think that the worst will never happen to them and that they are capable of handling a vehicle even though they are intoxicated.

As a drunk driving car accident attorney, Jeremy D. Earle will handle your case with skill, understanding, and commitment. You can rely on the TrueCounsel team to aggressively pursue a claim against the negligent driver and ensure that justice is achieved, whether for personal injury or a wrongful death settlement. If you have been involved in a Colorado drunk driving accident, you need the best personal injury attorney in the state of Colorado.

The unfortunate facts about drunk driving:

  • Almost half of all 10th graders drink alcohol. [1]
  • Each day, people drive drunk almost 300,000 times, but fewer than 4,000 are arrested. [2]
  •  In 2012, 10.3 million people reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs in the past year.[3]
  • Almost half of all drivers who were killed in crashes and tested positive for drugs also had alcohol in their system. [4]
  • About one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders. [5]
  • Males were more likely than females (15.1 vs. 7.9 percent) to drive drunk. [6]
  • The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21 to 25-year-olds (23.4 percent). [7]
  • In fatal crashes in 2011, the highest percentage of drunk drivers was for drivers ages 21 to 24 (32 percent), followed by ages 25 to 34 (30 percent) and 35 to 44 (24 percent). [8]
  • In 2012, 239 child passengers (under age 15) were killed in drunk driving crashes – representing 20 percent of all child traffic fatalities. Of those, more than half (52 percent) were passengers in a vehicle with the drunk driver. [9]
  • In 2011, 15 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week were drunk, compared to 31 percent on weekends. [10]

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Left Hand Turn Car Accidents in Colorado

Intersections pose one of the greatest dangers to drivers and passengers. Drivers making left-hand turns are one of the leading causes of car accidents in Colorado Springs and Denver. The injuries that a driver can face at intersections are catastrophic, often resulting in death. Whenever the danger of a potential action increases, the amount of precaution that must be taken also increases. Yet, most drivers approach an intersection like any other with a soda in one hand and their cell phone in the other.

Cars and trucks often decide at the last second to try to beat oncoming traffic through the intersection. As is usually the case, the driver will not have bothered to look in the direction of oncoming traffic to see if a driver is approaching the intersection. There is little a driver can do to avoid an accident and suffer a significant injury.

Negligent Driving at Colorado Springs and Denver Intersections

The law states that a driver may only enter the intersection when there is no oncoming traffic. The driver must take extreme caution to ensure that the turn can be made without putting other drivers in danger. Before a driver makes a left-hand turn at an intersection, they must signal their intention to do so, stop, or slow adequately to assess that the turn can be made without putting others in danger, and proceed through the intersection only when there is no oncoming traffic. With such a massive number of intersections in modern-day cities, Colorado car accidents happen almost every day.

Drivers must pay full attention to their surroundings before they enter the intersection. If they fail to do so, then the court and a jury will consider their actions to rise to the level of negligence. This also includes pedestrians who may be walking through a crosswalk.

A driver can find themselves in a dangerous situation if they have to stop in the middle of the intersection, and in the direction of oncoming traffic, to allow a pedestrian to finish exiting through the crosswalk. With the rise of incompetent and impatient drivers in modern society, you can witness drivers making dangerous left-hand turns at just about every intersection.

If the driver has a green light before the accident, there is little that the at-fault driver can do to absolve themselves of liability. The courts know that left-hand turns are one of the most dangerous maneuvers that a driver can make. For that reason, if it is shown that the driver was making a left-hand turn without a protected green light, it will be the driver’s burden to prove that they were not at fault.

After involvement in a Colorado left-hand turn car accident, and if you are physically able to without placing yourself in danger, take photos or a video of the traffic lights to prove that they are working properly. Photos of the accident scene can be the best evidence to submit to the jury. Also, have the responding law enforcement officer document in the traffic accident report that the lights are working properly. Make sure you give the officer an accurate recount of how the accident happened, including that you had a green light.

How TrueCounsel Injury Law Can Help

We are here to listen. We thrive on compassionate representation. Depending on your case and the severity of your injuries and damages, auto accidents can involve complex litigation. While you can handle the case yourself, it will almost certainly result in lower compensation for your injuries, and insurance companies do not act in your best interest.

We exist to serve people. We have your best interests at heart. Give us a call to learn how we are there for you every step of the way.

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