He is a great, smart personal injury attorney that cares so much about his clients! Kate C.
Look no further than Mr. Roberts! He made one of the hardest experiences a rather smooth one for me. Vicki C.
He first made sure I was treated for my injuries, then took care of my case. Raymond B.
My experience with Steve Roberts was positive from the first moment I consulted with him. Mysti C.

Case Results – Denver Car Accident Obtains Drunk Driving Settlement

Denver Car Accident Attorney Steve Roberts Obtains Drunk Driving Settlement

My client was driving his mother to work when a drunk driver changed everything for him. The other driver caused a crash that left my client with a permanent brain injury and required spinal fusion surgery.

Fortunately, I was able to help him and his family through the process, and ultimately secure adequate compensation for this injury. But it was a hard-fought case, especially because we asked the court for exemplary damages, which Colorado awards in cases of especially egregious behavior (legally, “willful and wanton conduct”).

A Life-Altering Crash

It was just after 8 a.m. when my client pulled up to an intersection with a four-way stop in suburban Denver. As he was proceeding legally through the intersection, the defendant was speeding down the cross street, going 50 mph in a residential area where the speed limit was 30 mph. The police report filed later said the defendant was fleeing an accident that he had caused about 20 minutes earlier.

As the defendant approached the intersection, he found that a driver was already stopped for the stop sign in his lane. Rather than also come to a stop, as he was legally required to do, the defendant swerved into the turning lane, failed to stop, and sped into the intersection. His vehicle struck the side of my client’s vehicle, causing my client’s vehicle to spin out and hit a third vehicle stopped on the opposite side of the intersection.

In the end, doctors determined that my client suffered a traumatic brain injury, in which an external blow to the head changes how the brain functions, at least temporarily. There was also an injury to his spine, which doctors ultimately addressed with spinal fusion surgery that connected his vertebrae.

Without Regard for Consequences

My client was seriously injured by the crash, and his car was damaged so much that firefighters had to cut the roof off to get him and his mother out. The police report says the defendant attempted to run away on foot, but a man at the scene and firefighters responding to the accident pinned him down.

Paramedics took all three of them to the hospital. In police custody and the ambulance, the defendant repeatedly made statements strongly suggesting that he was drunk, including that:

  • He had been drinking schnapps
  • He had been drinking for the last eight days straight
  • He “can’t have another DUI”
  • He wanted to know how he could get out of this DUI

Police officers accompanied the defendant to the hospital to prevent him from trying to escape. There, a blood draw showed that the defendant had a blood-alcohol content of 0.263, three times the legal limit of 0.08.

Legal Responsibility

As I started to dig into the case, I noticed right away that the defendant had not been driving his own car. Rather, the car belonged to his mother, who he’d been living with in recent weeks. The defendant’s mother knew her son had a problem with alcohol, because he was drinking all the time, and because he had been charged with driving under the influence before.

During lawsuits, there’s an event called a deposition, in which both sides answer the other side’s questions under oath, but before the trial takes place. In the deposition for this case, the defendant’s mother testified that she permitted her son to drive her car that morning, 30 to 60 minutes before the crash involving my client.

She testified that she believed he was sober, but circumstances cast doubt on that: His blood-alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit, and he said he had been drinking for eight days straight while living with her. Furthermore, the mother testified in her deposition that while she believed it was unsafe to give a car to an intoxicated person, she also believed some people could be completely sober with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit.

Under those circumstances, I believed I could argue that the mother was partly responsible for the crash because she knew she should not have entrusted her son with the car. This argument would allow me to draw on the mother’s insurance policies, which should cover injuries caused by the policyholder’s own bad decisions.

Exemplary Damages

In fact, I thought the court might find the mother’s actions so negligent (careless) that my client would be eligible for exemplary damages. These are monetary payments made for “willful and wanton conduct”—behavior that the person knew was dangerous but engaged in anyway, without regard for consequences.

To make that argument, however, I had to convince the court to allow me to amend the case. Convincing it was not easy, because the insurance companies for the defendant and his mother fought me hard, knowing they could end up paying more. (Remember, an insurance company makes more money when it doesn’t pay claims, so it has every incentive to stonewall or lowball claims.)

In fact, I had to fight the insurance companies in many steps of this case. I also hired experts to testify to the court as witnesses: One to testify as to the defendant’s high blood-alcohol content, and one to testify about the economic consequences of my client’s injuries. These things may seem obvious, but when the other side is contesting everything, it’s vital to be as thorough as possible.

How a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

I’m very pleased to say that this family was ultimately able to settle the case for an amount of money that’s significant under the circumstances. That money will help my client get the treatment he needs, compensate him for any earning potential he’s lost, and more.

When my client and his family hired me to handle this case, my goal was to get them as much compensation as I could for the injuries. Serious personal injuries like the ones my client suffered don’t just hurt; they create lifelong disabilities that put at least some restrictions on the victim’s ability to work, be a good parent, and pursue the things that make them happy.

My goal as a Denver car accident attorney is to make people like this as whole as possible after life-changing crashes. If you’re in a similar situation, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss your legal options.



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