Personal Injury Law and Drunk Driving
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. That is why DUIs are frequently called strict liability cases - meaning they are not trying to figure out what the driver was thinking 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. 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 drank and willfully and wantonly operated a vehicle, injuring you. Unfortunately, it happens frequently. Sometimes with horrific outcomes.
We also understand that all people are allowed a defense against criminal charges. And, with the legislatively drafted sentence ranges for drunk driving, defendants should be well advised of the merits, risk, and consequences of a conviction before entering a plea. They should be afforded to have someone help navigate them through the court system.
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, less on the result. Sure, there is to some extent with felony vehicular assault type charges. But, if I were on the General Assembly, I’d make the consequence of the result greater.
One just need hear from people whose lives and loved ones were permanently altered by drunk drivers. The loss, agony, frustration, and change in life’s enjoyment is painful. One can only feel for them. Their sadness; their anger; their wish for justice.
At the end of the day, we want a safe world. Safety. A world where people can be free from unnecessary dangers. Juries understand the need for safety and justice. Their purpose is to sort out any potential conflict.
We like to think that our perspective allows for a better understanding of the issues as we zealously serve our clients.