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Is Texting and Driving Illegal in Colorado?

Per The Denver Post, earlier this year, the laws making texting and driving illegal in Colorado were changed. According to the report in the Post, the law changes will increase the fine for texting while driving from $50 to $300 and also increase the points that a violation will add to a driver’s record from one to four.

Does This Law Change Actually Makes It Easier to Text and Drive in Colorado?

However, while those increases seem to make it look like the state is cracking down harder on drivers who text while behind the wheel, the exact opposite is actually true. Under the new law, instead of texting and driving being illegal, it is simply illegal to text while driving carelessly. This means that you can, unfortunately, text and drive as long as it does not appear that you are driving carelessly while doing so. Is this a good idea? With the number of distracted driving accidents seemingly on the rise, allowing drivers more leeway to text while operating a motor vehicle would seem like a step in the wrong direction.

The experienced Denver personal injury attorneys at Lampert & Walsh, LLC have been successfully fighting for the rights of injury victims and their families in Colorado for decades. Call us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your situation.

Understanding the Basics of Skiing & Snowboarding Accident Lawsuits

Colorado is one of the most popular states for skiing and snowboarding. The Rockies is an ideal location for these winter recreational activities. However, accidents are unfortunately common, leading to serious injury or even death. If you or a loved one has been involved in a skiing or snowboarding accident, it is important to understand the potential legal ramifications.

Ski and snowboard accidents can causes a wide range of injuries, from broken bones to head and spinal injuries. The most common causes of these injuries include:

  • Collisions with other skiers or snowboarders
  • Collisions with trees, fences, signs, etc.
  • Chair lift accidents
  • Inadequate directions from an instructor
  • Equipment failure

If you feel your accident was caused by someone else’s actions, then you may be able to file a lawsuit. Reasons to file a claim include:

  • General negligence. In order to prove negligence, you must show that another party is at fault for your accident. Examples of negligence include another skier or snowboarder acting carelessly, the property you were on was poorly maintained, or your instructor allowed you to ski or snowboard on terrain that was above your skill level.
  • Defective products. If your protective gear or a chair lift is defective, it could lead to an accident. Whether the product defect occurred in design, manufacture or distribution, you may be able to receive compensation from the culpable company.

Skiing and snowboarding are seen as inherently dangerous activities. During a lawsuit, the defendant may use the “assumption of risk” defense, meaning that you should not receive compensation because you were aware of the potential for harm when you chose to participate in these sports. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have extensive experience with these types of cases and can fight against this defense tactic.

These accident cases can be complex, involving many different parties, laws and regulations. Because of this, it is important that you are represented by an attorney who understands the intricacies of the law. At Lampert & Walsh, LLC, we have a reputation for success in getting our clients compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at 720-893-9903 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation at our Denver office. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t pay legal fees until we obtain a settlement for you.

When is a Bartender Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is an issue in Colorado and throughout the country. In 2013, there were 142 deaths in the Colorado related to drunk driving. Of all the driving fatalities that year, 29.5 percent involved DUI. There were 22 alcohol-impaired driving deaths of people under the age of 21, which amounts to 30.1 percent of all traffic fatalities of people in that age group. Driving while intoxicated is a major problem among all age groups, but particularly in those who are underage.

Under Colorado dram shop liability law, bartenders and others who serve alcohol have a certain amount of responsibility to protect their customers. If that duty is violated and an intoxicated customer gets behind the wheel of a car, causing an accident, the bartender may be held liable in a civil lawsuit.

According to Colo. Rev. Stat. §12-47-801, a bartender can be held liable if:

  • They knowingly serve alcohol to someone under 21.
  • They knowingly serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated.

This also applies to parents who provide alcohol to minors. If the intoxicated minor gets drunk at a party, then drives and gets in an accident, the adults who supplied the alcohol may be held liable.

If you want to file a claim against a bartender or another person who served alcohol, you must do it within one year of the accident. Only people who were injured in the accident, or the family of someone who was killed, can bring a lawsuit. The person who was driving drunk cannot file a claim. A claim cannot exceed $150,000. An experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can explain the details of filing a claim against a person or establishment who serves alcohol in Colorado, also called a dram shop liability claim.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, turn to Lampert & Walsh, LLC today. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of Colorado law and are prepared to help you. Call 720-893-9903 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Denver office. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t pay legal fees until we obtain a settlement for you.

Denver Motorcycle Riders are Subject to Common Injuries

Because motorcycle riders don’t have the same protection as drivers and passengers of other vehicles, they frequently suffer a wide array of serious injuries. Even with the best helmet and riding gear, bikers are still commonly injured. Drivers of cars and trucks often fail to notice bikers until it is too late.

Because bikers are frequently involved in similar types of crashes, they tend to suffer the same types of injuries when they wreck. Some of the most common injuries to motorcyclists include:

  • Head injuries. Any impact involving the head can be extremely dangerous and should always be taken seriously. Injuries to the brain caused by an impact are known as traumatic brain injuries (TBI). They can range from a mild concussion to coma and even death. Other types of brain trauma include coup contracoup injuries caused by a head bouncing on pavement or another surface and shearing injuries caused by sudden deceleration or turning of the head.
  • Road rash. When a biker is thrown from their bike, they often slide across the pavement. This causes intense friction and the rocks in the pavement tear away the rider’s skin. Think of rug-burn, but with asphalt instead of carpeting. Proper gear can often minimize road rash.
  • Muscle damage. Muscles are often sprained or torn when a rider attempts to break their fall.
  • Broken bones and fractures. The impact in a motorcycle wreck is often powerful enough to break bones in the legs, arms, ribs and shoulders.
  • Biker’s arm. When bikers fall and try to brace themselves, they may suffer nerve damage in their upper arm. This nerve damage can cause paralysis or limited movement of the hands. This type of injury is commonly known as “biker’s arm” or “rider’s arm.”
  • Spinal cord injury. Serious damage to the spinal cord can cause paralysis or other issues after an impact. This is especially likely when a biker is pinned in between two vehicles or objects.

Bikers are especially likely to be injured in the springtime and summer. Drivers should take extra care to look and listen for motorcycles before turning or switching lanes.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a motorcycle, it is important to contact a Denver motorcycle accident injury lawyer at Lampert & Walsh, LLC online or at 720-893-9903 as soon as possible. Injured bikers only have two years from the date of the accident to bring a lawsuit for damages in Colorado.

Protecting Yourself Before an Accident

As personal injury attorneys, we deal with a lot of individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents. When most people start “shopping” for motor vehicle coverage, they often are trying to save 15% in 15 minutes or trying to find the cheapest deal. Saving money is a good thing, but not when it comes to your own protection.

When reviewing your own insurance coverage make sure you have two things: med-pay coverage and a high UM/UIM policy. The Colorado Legislature recently passed a law that requires all insurance companies to provide a minimum of $5,000.00 in medical payments (or med-pay) unless it is specifically waived by the insured. This provides anyone injured in your vehicle a free benefit for medical expenses up to $5,000.00 and the law doesn’t require the driver to subrogate or “pay back” anyone for this benefit. It is important that you do not waive this coverage.

Good UM/UIM coverage is also invaluable to any insured on the road. UM/UIM coverage stands for Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you are struck by someone without insurance or carrying the lowest Colorado state limits of $25,000.00, the only remedy an injured party has is going against his own UM/UIM policy. Obviously the greater the injury, the more important it is to have a high policy in order to protect yourself and your family. For a couple extra dollars per month, you can protect everyone in your vehicle. My advice would be to look into increasing your UM/UIM to the highest possible amount available to you from your insurance company.

Hopefully, you will never need a personal injury attorney. However, if you have any questions regarding an injury or proper insurance coverage, Lampert & Walsh, LLC is here to help answer any questions you may have. We are located in Southeast Denver and we are looking out for Colorado drivers.