PERSONAL INJURY LAW AND DRUNK DRIVING
April 15, 2020
People come to the office and say, “I was injured in a motor vehicle accident.” Then, immediately ask, “Are my rights and options different since I was injured by a drunk driver?”
Short Answer: Yes. Colorado law allows you to ask for punitive damages against at-fault drunk drivers. This means you can ask a jury for increased damages. You have to prove the actor must have realized his conduct as dangerous, done heedlessly and recklessly, without regard to consequences, or of the rights and safety of others, particularly the plaintiff. Drinking (even if not thinking straight) does not change the perception of risk under the law. That is why DUIs are frequently called strick liability cases - meaning they aren't trying to figure out your intent at the time of getting into a car.
This firm handles both motor vehicle accident personal injury cases, as well as, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs “DUI” cases. The office has and always will take the position that driving under the influence of alcohol is a bad choice. We all know better. Juries know better. Drunk driving poses dangers to both the intoxicated driver and to other people on the road.
We are particularly familiar with our clients whose lives have been traumatically affected by drunk drivers. And, the consequences of drunk driving automobile accidents can be life altering. In civil injury cases, we seek punitive damages against those who injure our clients. So, if you are injured by a drunk driver, you should seek counsel who will seek to punish the reckless conduct civilly. After all, they wilfully and wantonly drank, entered a vehicle, drove, and injured you.
We also understand that all people are allowed a defense against criminal charges. And, with the tight laws against drunk driving, defendants should be well advised of the merits, risk, and consequences of a conviction before entering a plea. We work hard to protect our clients.
David M. Sargent believes there is a world of difference between those who drink and drive and those who injure others while drinking and driving. Maybe not in intent, but in consequence. Colorado law does not fully appreciate this difference. The law focuses on the act, not the result. If I were in the General Assembly, I would highlight this difference. – the “proportional injury risk” difference.
At the end of the day, we want a safe world. Safety. A world where people can be free from unnecessary dangers. And, juries understand. Juries see justice and sort out any potential conflict.
We like to think that our perspective allows for a better understanding of the issues. We zealously work for our clients.