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Denver Personal Injury Law Blog

National Safety Council: show distracted driving increased in 2015

Distracted driving is, as most readers are well aware, a serious issue wherever you go, no matter what state you are in. With the proliferation of cell phone use and many drivers being unwilling to put their phones down while driving, the risk remain high.

According to a recent report by the National Safety Council, the number of traffic fatalities in the first four months of 2015 significantly increased from the same period last year, with highway fatalities increasing every month for six consecutive months this year. According to the council, a major reason for the increase is that the economy has improved, which has lead to more driving. In terms of specific causes of the increase in highway fatalities, distracted driving is said to be the biggest contributor.

Ride-sharing drivers: are you covered in the event of a car accident?

Most of our readers have, by now, heard the term ride-sharing and become familiar with the concept. As the popularity of ride-sharing increases in the United States, there is a growing concern that consumers of ride-sharing services may not fully understand how their insurance policy will cover them in the event of an accident. This is an important issue, because insurance companies may or may not cover a policyholder who is hurt in a ride-sharing accident.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, most people who get in an accident while using their vehicle for ride-sharing services are not covered by their own policy. In the average auto insurance policy, coverage stops as soon as the car owner enters a ride-sharing app to look for a customer, and coverage starts back up when the transaction is completed. 

Civil liability for deliberate car crashes, P.2

In our previous post, we began looking at the issue of civil liability as it might apply to car accidents in which the party that caused the accidents acted intentionally. As we noted, car accidents are more often than not a matter of negligence, but what about cases where it is more than negligence?

Such cases are admittedly rarer than cases involving negligence, but they do occur. Intentional car accidents have been known to occur, for example, in connection with auto insurance fraud schemes. Certainly, cases of road rage can sometimes lead to intentional crashes. Whatever the specific circumstances might be, intentional car crashes raise unique issues. 

Civil liability for deliberate car crashes, P.1

Hit-and-run accidents can and do occur, and when they do, it is important for victims to work with local police to help investigate the incident and, if possible, pursue criminal charges against hit-and-run drivers, but also to put themselves in a position to hold the individual liability for their own injuries and losses.

Many hit and run cases, of course, happen by accident. In many cases, the hit-and-run driver flees from the scene simply out of shock and fear for what they’ve done or because they aren’t insured sufficiently or at all. In some cases, hit-and-run accidents are more intentional. That may have been the case with an accident that took place last month in Colorado Springs. The accident occurred when a Jeep Grand Cherokee struck a bicyclist. 

Holding employers accountable for employees’ stoned driving

Here in Colorado, one of the big issues since the legalization of marijuana has been to address the potential ramifications of marijuana use by drivers. This issue includes the problem of drugged driving as well as personal injury liability when a drugged driver causes an accident. The risk of marijuana-induced accidents has always been around, of course, but the concern is that the change in legal status could make the problem more prominent.

For employers, the issue is an important one, since they can open themselves up to liability if they hire employees who use marijuana on the job, not to mention increased insurance rates and potentially decreased productivity from workers, at least according to some. Exactly how this issue plays out in the future remains to be seen.

On bicyclists and following the rules of the road

Most drivers have, at some point, dealt with or witnessed a bicyclist failing to obey traffic signs and signals, taking a dangerous turn, taking up an entire lane, or doing some other unsafe or illegal maneuver on the road. This can obviously be frustrating for motorists, who are justifiably concerned, not only by the prospect of getting in an accident and being held liable, but also because of the assumed presumed bravado of rule-breaking cyclists. The tension between bicyclists and motorists in many places is well known.

What is interesting is that, in some cases, bicyclists who break the law are doing so in an effort to ensure their own safety, at least according to one researcher at the University of Colorado in Denver. The problem is that, in many places, road systems are built for cars and do not accommodate cyclists as well as they could, or at all. If this is true, one important solution to the issue of cycling safety is for communities to increase infrastructure that better supports cycling. This is something Denver is doing. 

Awareness campaign a reminder of the motorcycling risks, P.2

In our last post, we mentioned that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and began speaking about two particularly important messages about which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is attempting to educate the public with respect to motorcycle safety. The first of these, as we mentioned, is the importance of road-sharing, while the other is the importance of sober riding.

Drinking and riding is especially important for motorcyclists to avoid, first of all because they are most at risk in an accident with another vehicle. This is particularly the case with larger vehicles. In addition to the sheer threat of injury, there is also the possibility of not being able to recover full damages if another driver causes an accident. What do we mean by this?

Awareness campaign a reminder of the motorcycling risks

May, as some Denver readers may know, is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, there are two main messages that are being promoted as part of the awareness campaign.

The first of these is that all motorists need to work at sharing the road and mutually respecting each other's rights. This is an important issue, because it too often happens that drivers of larger vehicles treat motorcyclists as if they don't have as much of a place on the road as they do. This attitude can lead to unsafe driving practices that unnecessarily put motorcyclists at risk. 

Will I be covered by insurance if I am injured in a ridesharing accident?

Car insurance is critical for anybody who gets behind the wheel, not only to comply with the requirements of state law, but especially to ensure one is covered for injuries and damages in the event of a motor vehicle accident. With the increase in the use of ridesharing services through companies like Lyft and Uber, it is important for both drivers and riders to make sure they understand the dynamics of insurance coverage that apply when a crash occurs.  

Those who drive for a ridesharing company are covered by the company’s own insurance policy, though this coverage only applies while the driver has passengers in his or her vehicle, not while a driver is waiting to pick up a passenger. This means that many drivers participating in ridesharing may have a coverage gap. What is that?

Work with us to build strong case for compensation after fatal motor vehicle accident

Motor vehicle accidents can have a variety of consequences ranging from a little whiplash to death. When fatal car accidents occur, it is a stark reminder of the risks motorist take when they get behind the wheel and the importance of exercising reasonable care in the operation of a motor vehicle.

Last weekend, three people died in three separate motor vehicle crashes in the Denver metro area. Two of the accidents involved drunken drivers, and two of the victims were motorcyclists while one was a pedestrian. The drunken drivers are likely going to be facing charges, as they should, but that does not address the losses experienced by the victims of the accidents, including the victims’ families. 

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