Category Archives: Personal injury

Distracted Driving – Animals in the Car

Dog in Car

About two-thirds of dog owners admit they have engaged in a distracting behavior while driving with their dogs, according to a recent survey from the American Automobile Association (AAA). Many of these canine passengers — about 84 percent — are free to roam the car as they please.

The biggest surprise associated with unrestrained pets in the car is that few motorists seem to understand how distracting a pet roaming inside the car can be. Continue reading

Driving While High

MarijuanaColorado law makes it illegal to drive under the influence of any drug — even marijuana. Drugs that slow reaction time and impair clear thinking can lead to devastating effects if you get behind the wheel. You can receive a DUI if you drive while high, even if you just took over-the-counter cough medicine, used marijuana, or are on certain prescription medications.

In 2013, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reported 103 roadway fatalities statewide due to drugged drivers. Almost 13 percent of these drivers had only marijuana in their system when tested.

It is also important to note that these statistics are from the year before marijuana became legal in Colorado; a state report released in spring of 2016 shows a three percent increase in marijuana DUIs and a 44 percent increase in traffic fatalities involving THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana).

What are the risks of driving while high?

THC can affect your body in many ways, and almost all of them can impact your ability to drive a car. Some of these effects include:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Trouble with short-term memory
  • Loss of concentration
  • Difficulty perceiving distance
  • Problems with hand-eye coordination
  • Decreased alertness

Some strains of cannabis also have different effects than others. For example, indica strains are often prescribed for insomnia, nausea, and chronic pain because they tend to be extremely sedating. They also have a higher level of THC, and may impair users more than other strains.

How do Colorado laws handle DUIs involving marijuana?

While you may not get arrested for possessing marijuana for personal use in Colorado anymore, you may still face serious legal consequences for using the drug and getting behind the wheel.

Driving while high can end in a license suspension, jail time, and fines. Causing a crash can result in elevated charges, including vehicular assault or homicide.

You are probably aware of the legal BAC limit for drunk driving, 0.08 percent. But do you know the legal limit of marijuana? Under Colorado law, you cannot have more than five nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood and drive without facing legal consequences.

In addition, Colorado has open container laws outlining the use of marijuana on public roadways in the state. Per this law, drivers cannot have an open container — meaning any container with the seal broken — in the passenger compartment of a vehicle in Colorado.

Drivers can also face penalties for breaking the state’s open container statute if there is any evidence of marijuana use in the cabin of the car. This includes dirty pipes, vapes, and empty containers.

To ensure all motorists are aware of these laws, the CDOT is working closely with a number of other agencies to implement an anti-drugged driving campaign statewide. The education efforts of this campaign center on the dangers of driving while high on marijuana, while using illegal drugs, or while taking certain prescription medications.

Who is liable after a Colorado drugged driving crash?

In the vast majority of cases, the driver who choose to get behind the wheel while impaired is liable for the damages sustained in a drugged driving crash. Driving under the influence, whether using alcohol or drugs, is a serious offense under Colorado law. Those who choose to drive while high and cause accidents often face major legal and civil consequences. This is especially true if the accident leads to severe, disabling injuries or death.

If you suffered injuries because of a drugged driver, you are eligible to file a claim against him/her and collect compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, and more. In many cases, courts award punitive damages designed to punish the driver in addition to the victim’s actual losses.

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Do I need to talk to a lawyer if I suffered injuries caused by an impaired driver?

If a drugged driver caused a crash and you suffered serious injuries, you should schedule a free case evaluation with a skilled Denver car accident attorney. This consultation serves many purposes, including:

  • Determining the strength of your case
  • Ensuring your rights remain protected
  • Determining the estimated value of your case

If you decide to enlist the assistance of a lawyer, she will go to work collecting evidence to bolster your claim. This evidence varies widely from case to case, but often includes:

  • Police reports about the accident
  • The chemical test results of the liable party
  • Expert witnesses to examine these tests
  • Your medical records
  • Accident reconstructions
  • Eyewitness testimony

Contact the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya, LLC to Learn More

If you suffered injuries as a result of an accident involving a drugged driver, contact us today. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya, LLC can help you get the compensation you need while holding the impaired driver responsible for his or her actions.

Call us at 303-758-4777 to schedule your free consultation.

CDOT Releases Results of Drunk Driving Survey

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently conducted a survey that found a surprising number of young adult drivers in the state lacked knowledge about the state’s drunk driving laws.

In addition to the survey, CDOT also conducted an experiment to determine how young adults view drunk driving. The experiment, called “A Few Brews – Social Experiment,” found that most people gave little thought to a driver getting behind the wheel even after several drinks. Continue reading

Liability With Self-Driving Cars

Manufacturers are jumping on the self-driving car bandwagon left and right, and tech giant Google has been testing its version for several years. Both Tesla and Volvo announced their plans to develop fully autonomous cars last year, and Teslas are already available equipped with the first-generation Autopilot. Even Chevrolet invested in self-driving technology.

It seems that semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles are the wave of the future for automakers, but no one is certain how accident liability will work when there is no human driver behind the wheel. Continue reading

Pokemon Go Lawsuits

Pokemon Go

Pokémon GO gets users out into their neighborhood, exploring both the augmented reality and the real world around them. Each player is on the hunt for as many of the Pokémon characters as possible, and the creatures can pop up almost anywhere.

From a Rhydon hanging out on 16th Street to an Onyx visiting the camels at the zoo, Denver is no stranger to these creatures. The difference with these two, though, is that they are in public places. The trouble begins when they instead spawn on private property.

This has become problematic nationwide, with users trespassing onto private property to catch rare or elusive Pokémon. Property owners in New Jersey and Michigan both filed class-action lawsuits against the game developer due to this. In addition, users who attempt to play while driving and a variety of other incidents have raised a number of legal concerns about the game. Continue reading

Why You Should Wear a Motorcycle Helmet Even if it is Not Required

Motorcycle in Denver, COColorado is one of several states that only require motorcycle riders under the age of 18 to wear a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet. For older riders, it may be tempting to take this as a sign that helmets are not necessary for experienced riders. The truth is: motorcycle helmets provide several benefits for riders of all ages and all skill levels.

Colorado Motorcycle Fatality Statistics

A nationwide survey of motorcycle helmet use from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that helmet use could have saved 25 lives in 2015 alone.

Of those deaths in 2015, only 39 motorcyclists killed were wearing a helmet, while the other 67 motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet. The NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders and 41 percent for passengers.

The Colorado Department of Transportation also notes helmet use is an integral part of motorcycle crash survival. It found that 66 percent of the riders killed in Colorado accidents in 2010 were wearing helmets incorrectly or not wearing them at all.

How do helmets protect me from fatal injuries?

Head injuries are one of the most devastating injuries a rider can experience. These injuries can easily be fatal if the impact crushes the skull or the impact of the brain against the skull is severe. If an injury is not fatal, it often leaves the rider with irreversible brain damage and permanent disability. Continue reading

Why are more people dying in car accidents?

side impactThe latest news is not looking good for motorists on America’s roads. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that fatalities and injuries on roads nationwide are on the rise. The totals for the first six months of 2016 easily topped the totals for the first half of both 2015 and 2014.

This news comes on the heels of reports from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) that road fatalities in the state increased almost 12 percent in 2015 over the previous year. Continue reading

Colorado Traffic Fatalities Highest in Nearly a Decade

car accidentsDespite a number of efforts to reduce fatal crashes and other car accidents on Colorado’s interstates and highways, statistics show there was a spike in fatal wrecks in the state during 2015. In response to the staggering statistics — the most traffic fatalities in the state since 2008 — officials are launching new initiatives and refocusing other efforts in an attempt to make Colorado roads safer.

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National Teen Driver Safety Week: October 16-22, 2016

Teen Driving

Car accidents are the number one killer of teens between the ages of 15 and 19 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2014 alone, more than 123,000 teens suffered injuries and 2,679 teens died in crashes when they or one of their peers was behind the wheel, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Continue reading