Contact an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the severity of an accident involving DUI charges. They may be able to assist in securing damages to pay for medical bills and time missed from work, or more serious life-changing events caused by the accident.
Vehicular assault or reckless driving.
A person may be charged with vehicular assault or reckless driving if they cause an accident because of DUI. Section 18-3-205 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) sets forth the felony crime of vehicular assault. You commit vehicular assault when you drive recklessly or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and your driving is the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to another person.
When a person is arrested for DUI in Denver, the arresting officer may initiate two separate proceedings:
- Criminal action through a “Uniform Summons and Complaint” into County Court. The County Court process determines whether a person should be subject to fines, costs, jail time and rehabilitative requirements.
- Administrative action through the “Express Consent Affidavit and Notice of Revocation” on behalf of the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV process determines whether you lose driving privileges.
Each process is independent of the other, and, by law, has no bearing on the outcome of the other. Even if one case is dismissed, the other will proceed.
If the DUI resulted in an accident causing injury or damage to another party, another action can be entertained in civil court if that person files a suit to collect damages. In order to be convicted of DUI causing injury in Colorado, the prosecutor must show two elements:
- The person operating the motor vehicle was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs; and
- Their conduct is the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to another.
In Colorado, the prosecutor does not have to show that the driver was operating the vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner above and beyond the effects of alcohol. This is a strict liability crime. Simply being impaired by alcohol or drugs which is a proximate cause of the injury is sufficient to establish the crime of DUI causing injury.
Comparative negligence to determine damages.
Colorado uses a comparative negligence model when the injured driver’s own negligence contributed to an accident. Colorado law allows a victim to recover some of the damages that he or she sustained even if he or she was partially at fault. If the accident was caused by a DUI offense of another driver, a criminal case may ensue then a civil case can follow for damages caused by the accident.
The two types of damages that victims can sue for include:
1) compensatory damages – those damages causing economic (loss of wages, medical bills, and property damage) and non-economic loss to victim (pain and suffering) with a cap of $468.010; and
2) punitive damages- meant to punish the persons being sued (Defendants).
Statute of limitations.
In Colorado, filing a legal claim for an accident resulting in personal injury or wrongful death should be undertaken within the three-year car accident statute of limitations.
Seek professional counsel to navigate the legal process for a personal injury or wrongful death claim resulting from DUI charges. If you are a victim of an accident caused by drinking and driving in Denver Colorado, contact the Law Offices of Anderson Barkley to assist with your civil case for damages.
Anderson Barkley, Attorneys at Law
Address: 3900 E. Mexico Ave., Suite 300
Denver, CO 80210
Main: (720) 506-1764
Fax: (303) 927-0809