A large portion of collisions that occur on Colorado’s road and interstates are caused when one of the drivers is intoxicated. Driving while intoxicated, on top of being illegal from the criminal justice perspective, also exposes the driver and their employer to civil liability.
Denver driver intoxication truck accident lawyers can help work with someone who has been injured in an accident by a commercial vehicle operated by a drunk driver. By examining the facts of the case, and by applying the law correctly, experienced truck accident attorneys can fight to get the fair compensation that they deserve for their injuries.
Colorado Law as Applied to Drunk Drivers
The vast majority of collisions on the roads are accidents. Even if one of the drivers was intoxicated at the time of the collision, it is unlikely that he intended to hit another person. Because the collision was accidental, plaintiffs pursuing claims against drunk drivers must rely on the legal theory of negligence.
Negligence is when a person owes a duty to protect another person and through an action, or lack thereof, causes that protected person to come to harm. All plaintiffs must meet the standards for a successful negligence claim. These include duty, breach, cause, scope, and damages. A Denver driver intoxication truck accident lawyer can help someone learn more about the requirements to present a strong case in court.
What Must the Plaintiff Prove to Win their Case?
In certain situations, the law places responsibility on people to protect others. This is known as the duty of care. All people driving cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles maintain a duty to care for all other people. A breach of the duty of care occurs when the defendant takes an action or fails to act, in such a way that a protected party comes to harm. Not obeying a rule of the road, such as a speed limit, is one such way.
Cause is part of the case that requires the person’s injuries to have been caused by the accident and not preexisting. The injuries must be foreseeable under the circumstances of the accident and a plaintiff must have actual physical injuries to prevail. Mental anguish can be claimed but must be accompanied by physical harm.
Defining Negligence Per Se
In instances where a defendant’s actions were a violation of law, in drunk driving laws, the second element, Breach of Duty, can be automatically met. This concept, known as Negligence per se, is defined in Lombard v. Colo. Outdoor Educ.Ctr., Inc., 187 P.3d 565, 573 (Colo. 2008). It is considered “a common law doctrine which provides that legislative enactments, such as statutes and ordinances, can prescribe the standard of conduct of a reasonable person, or duty, such that a violation of the statute or ordinance constitutes a breach of duty of care. Negligence per se, therefore, serves to conclusively establish the defendant’s breach of a legally cognizable duty owed to the plaintiff.”
What is the Statute of Limitations?
One other aspect of Colorado law to remember is the statute of limitations. This is a time limit that all plaintiffs and Denver driver intoxication truck accident lawyers have to file a case in court. Plaintiffs have three years to file a claim. If the plaintiff can establish that the defendant was indeed driving drunk, such as through a criminal conviction, their case becomes much easier to win. A plaintiff may have a cause of action against the trucking company for the tort of negligent hiring if the driver had a history of reckless behavior.
Obtaining Necessary Compensation
Being involved in an accident with a truck driver who was driving under the influence is a confusing time. On top of any criminal charges that may be coming for the defendant driver, and the coordination with the District Attorney that may be necessary to prosecute the case, medical bills, and rehabilitation can dominate a victim’s life.
Denver driver intoxication truck accident lawyers are here to help with the civil case and to get your life back on track. They can organize all of the medical bills, police reports, and witness statements into a firm and aggressive demand package. Armed with this, many cases settle before going to trial.