Have you seen the news about the suspected drunk driver in Wheat Ridge who crashed into a police car? There is even a body camera video that is utterly chilling. Before I go into the details of this crash, I want to let you know that, as a Wheat Ridge car accident lawyer, nothing gets me angrier than drunk drivers. I have witnessed first-hand the devastation wrought by people who get behind the wheel after drinking, and I truly have zero pity for them.
But I digress. I’ll tell you more about how I handle Wheat Ridge car accidents that involve drunk drivers a bit later in this story. For now, here are the details of this particular accident.
Wheat Ridge Car Accident Caused by DUI Driver
Apparently, there had already been an accident earlier in the night at this exact same location, which was at 38th Avenue and Pierce Street. The police officer who was wearing the body camera was a few dozen yards away cleaning up debris from the previous accident. A tow-truck driver, who was removing a car from the previous accident, was literally in the drunk driver’s path but somehow avoided being struck by mere feet. And a crowd that had gathered due to the previous accident all witnessed this truck, driven by a drunk driver, plow directly into the parked police car.
Thankfully, the policeman wasn’t in that car filling out paperwork.
Then, amazingly, after crashing into the police car, the driver backed up and started to drive away! But he crashed again nearby, where he was arrested.
As it turns out, this Wheat Ridge drunk driver has quite a few arrests under his belt – 38 to be exact, including 5 convictions for drinking and driving. FIVE!
Thankfully, the drunk driver could face a felony DUI charge thanks to a 2015 state law that cracks down on chronic drunk drivers.
Victim of DUI Accident? Get a Car Accident Lawyer Immediately
As I said earlier, I have absolutely no pity for drunk drivers, especially when they cause harm to others. And few things get me angrier than insurance companies who represent drunk drivers trying to get away with anything less than the absolute max that they owe victims.
For example, I have seen insurance companies try to tell victims of DUI accidents that they are “only owed” a certain amount from the drunk driver’s policy. But it only takes an educated reader (aka. A personal injury attorney) to study the policy and determine that the victim is due much, much more.
At those personal injury mills that I’ve written extensively about, where their goal is to churn a high quantity of cases as quickly as possible, they advise their clients to take the (inadequate) offer from the insurance company and settle the case. Not me.
As soon as an insurance company balks or indicates any unwillingness to pay a victim absolutely everything he or she is due, I sue them. We will go to court to get the absolute maximum that our clients are due. I just can’t tolerate the idea that an insurance company – and a drunk driver – would get away with paying a penny less than a DUI victim is due.
A Recent Drunk Driver Case We Handled
We recently represented a man who was stopped in his car on 17th Avenue one night and was hit from behind by a drunk driver. But the story doesn’t end there. This driver was so drunk that she tried to flee the scene by backing up and, in her efforts to escape, she hit our client three more times! Then she hit a parked car and was finally stopped when she hit a road sign.
Now, you might think this is a cut-and-dry case, but DUI cases are rarely so.
Our client was hurt, but the drunk driver’s insurance company offered barely enough of a settlement to cover his medical bills.
You may ask, “If it covers his bills, why isn’t that enough?” And I will tell you that there is more at stake in a DUI case. I don’t get on my high horse very often, but I do when it comes to DUI cases. It’s about justice.
In the state of Colorado, if you are hit by a drunk driver (or anyone who was driving with “reckless disregard for the safety of others”), you can claim triple the normal damages. And you should. Driving under the influence is a criminal offense, deserving of punishment – whether it be a felony or misdemeanor.
So, in the case of our client, we sued the DUI driver, and, finally, her insurance company turned around and gave our client the max that he could receive. I would argue that, because of the nature of the accident and the victim’s rights under the law, they should have made that offer first, not after being threatened with litigation.
You won’t hear me say this often, but it’s really about justice. Drunk driving is a criminal offense. If you are ever the victim in a drunk driving accident, don’t allow yourself to be victimized again by the other driver’s insurance company.
Also, you need to understand that there is a big difference between the criminal prosecution that the district attorney will pursue under state laws, and the civil case that drunk driver victims must pursue on their own. Read this story for an explanation.
I am actually floored that no one was hurt in the Wheat Ridge drunk driver accident that I shared above. That driver is so lucky… but I still hope they throw the book at him.
If you are the victim of a car accident in Wheat Ridge, please contact me to discuss your case. I’m tenacious… and I genuinely care about helping you and your loved ones get through this.