How Common Are Drunk Driving Crashes Today?

Due mainly to legislation criminalizing alcohol-impaired driving in every state in the U.S., this behavior decreased dramatically from the early 1980 to mid-1990, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Deaths from drunk-driving crashes dropped by 53% between 1982 and 2011. However, from 2011 to 2022, alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities increased by 36%. In 2021, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 13,384 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving drivers or motorcyclists with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. This represents a 14.2% increase from the previous year. Every day, approximately 37 people die in drunk-driving accidents – one every 39 minutes.

What Makes Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol So Dangerous?

As stated by NHTSA, alcohol reduces brain function and impairs abilities that are essential for safe driving. It affects muscle coordination, thinking, and reasoning. Effects on the central nervous system increase as alcohol levels rise in a driver’s bloodstream. With a BAC of .08%, the legal limit for DUI in most states, including Colorado:

  • Drivers experience a loss of concentration, short-term memory, and speed control.
  • Perception and ability to process information are impaired.
  • Vision, reaction time, balance, speech, and hearing are adversely affected.
  • Reasoning, memory, self-control, judgment, and the ability to detect danger are impaired.

What Are the Consequences of Drunk Driving in Colorado?

It is against Colorado law to operate a vehicle with driving ability impaired by drugs or alcohol. Any person convicted of DUI faces both criminal and administrative penalties, as stated by the Office of Legislative Legal Services. For a first-offense DUI with a BAC of at least .08%, the consequences of conviction may include:

  • Driver’s license revocation for up to nine months
  • Ignition interlock requirement
  • Five days to one year in jail
  • Alcohol treatment program
  • Probation and alcohol monitoring
  • Fines of $600 to $1000
  • Court costs and penalty surcharges of up to $500
  • Community service for 48 to 96 hours

How Can Injured Victims of Drunk Drivers Seek Justice in Colorado?

Only the government can bring criminal charges and prosecute for driving under the influence. However, victims of drunk driving crashes still have recourse under the law. They have the option to bring a lawsuit against the drunk driver in civil court to hold that person accountable by recovering damages for their injuries. A conviction of DUI is not a requirement for filing a civil claim, although it can be helpful to your case. The burden of proof is higher for a criminal trial than for a civil lawsuit.

What Damages Can You Claim for a Crash Caused by a Drunk Driver?

If you have been injured in a collision caused by an alcohol or drug-impaired driver, you are entitled to seek compensation for the losses you have suffered as a result. Your claim may include the following types of damages:

  • Economic damages: This is compensation for monetary losses that can be verified objectively. Examples of economic damages include past and future medical expenses, lost wages or earnings, and loss of future earning capacity.
  • Non-economic damages: This term refers to compensation for subjective, non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive damages: These are damages awarded to punish the defendant and deter similar actions in the future. In Colorado, punitive damages are only awarded under extraordinary circumstances when a defendant injures another person through fraud, malice, or willful and wanton conduct. As drunk driving qualifies as reckless, willful, and wanton behavior, victims are entitled to claim punitive damages.

What Are the Complications of a Personal Injury Claim Against a Drunk Driver?

In most personal injury matters, a victim can file a lawsuit immediately after the injury occurs. However, driving under the influence is a serious crime. When a drunk driving accident occurs, a civil lawsuit may be delayed until the criminal trial is concluded. The driver on trial for DUI may deplete his or her resources defending against the charges, reducing the available funds from which to recover compensation. Nevertheless, if the driver pleads guilty or is found guilty of DUI, this can serve as proof of negligence in the civil case.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney to Hold a Drunk Driver Accountable?

Drunk driving victims have rights. If a drunk driver has seriously injured you, you are entitled to hold that person accountable and seek compensation to help you recover from your injuries and get back to your life. Your best chance of prevailing and winning the maximum compensation available in a lawsuit against a drunk driver is to have an experienced personal injury lawyer handling your claim. A seasoned trial lawyer can negotiate skillfully on your behalf for a fair settlement or present a compelling case in court if necessary to get the compensation you deserve.

Why Choose Us to Represent You in a Claim Against a Drunk Driver?

At Genco Injury Attorneys, we build personal relationships with our clients, which allows us to achieve better results. Our firm has a 98% success rate. We limit the number of cases we accept so we can provide service with a personal touch. We are always available to answer our clients’ questions or address their concerns. Our seasoned trial lawyers have handled thousands of cases and recovered millions of dollars in compensation for those we represent. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a drunk driver, call us today at (720) 802-9120.