Colorado Speeding Accident Lawsuits & Compensation
Learn how to prove liability and recover maximum compensation after an accident caused by speeding
Speed limits are designed to keep people safe on public roads. When everyone follows the speed limit, the traffic flow becomes more predictable. Drivers are also able to stop quickly or safely maneuver around an obstacle to avoid an accident.
Unfortunately, not everyone follows the speed limit, and speeding is a common cause of accidents and injuries.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding killed 11,258 people in 2020 alone and was a contributing factor in 29% of vehicle accidents that involved fatalities.
When one or more vehicles are speeding, the possibility of someone experiencing severe injuries significantly increases. Knowing what to do if you are involved in an accident with a speeding vehicle helps you begin making the best possible decisions for getting help with your recovery.
What types of injuries occur after accidents that involve speeding?
Speeding increases the impact that occurs during a vehicle collision. In these types of car accidents, it’s common to see people hit their heads and develop traumatic brain injuries. The force of the impact may also cause a person’s head to rapidly move back and forth to the extent that they develop whiplash.
Other common injuries caused by speeding include:
What are the penalties for drivers who speed in Colorado?
Colorado has stiff penalties for drivers who make the choice to speed, and understanding what awaits drivers who choose to break the law should deter the average person from making this dangerous choice.
Currently, choosing to drive between 1 and 24 mph over the speed limit is considered a Class A traffic infraction in Colorado. While this charge won’t earn you jail time, the fines and fees increase according to the speed you were going.
For instance, going 5 miles over the speed limit could land you a $70 fine. Once you go 10 mph over the reasonable or posted speed limit, you’ll be paying $135.
Drivers who decide to go 25 mph over the speed limit can be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. At this point, you could face 10 to 90 days of jail time along with a minimum $150 fine. If you happen to do this in a construction zone, then, at minimum, the fine doubles to $300, and you could face up to 1 year in jail.
Additional consequences of speeding
When someone speeds, the possible consequences include more than just a traffic ticket or jail time.
Speeding increases the distance it takes to stop once a driver recognizes a road hazard, and extremely high speeds can reduce the effectiveness of protective equipment, such as airbags and seatbelts. All of this increases the severity of car accidents, which raises the risk of someone experiencing severe injuries and death.
How do you prove negligence in personal injury cases?
Colorado personal injury law allows for the victim of a car accident to pursue financial compensation for their injuries. To do so, you’ll need to show that the other party was negligent by proving these 4 elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty (all drivers in Colorado have a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid harming others on the road).
- The defendant breached their duty, which could include speeding.
- An accident occurred due to the defendant’s breach.
- You suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s breach.
How does Colorado’s comparative fault rule impact damages in personal injury cases?
The comparative fault rule takes into account the degree to which the plaintiff’s actions might have played a role in the accident.
For instance, someone who was distracted by their cell phone when they were hit by a speeding driver might be deemed by the court to be 20% at fault for the accident since they might have been able to get out of the way if they were paying attention.
In this situation, their awarded damages would be reduced by 20% (their percentage of fault). So if they would have received a $100,000 settlement award, their final settlement would be reduced to $80,000 due to Colorado’s comparative fault rule.
In situations where the plaintiff’s degree of fault matches or exceeds the defendant’s, the plaintiff would not be eligible for any compensation.
What damages are available through personal injury lawsuits?
There are several types of damages that you might seek as a personal injury victim in Colorado:
- Economic damages include monetary losses such as those that occur from medical expenses, lost income or property damage.
- Non-economic damages are intended to compensate the victim for nonmonetary losses, including pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of companionship.
- Punitive damages, which are only available if the defendant acted with malice, or engaged in willful and wanton conduct, are meant to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Are there any damage caps on personal injury cases in Colorado?
Colorado doesn’t typically place limits on the economic damages that can be awarded in personal injury cases, but non-economic damages in car accident cases are typically capped at $250,000 plus inflation.
Wrongful death cases have different provisions, and the cause of action impacts the cap. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine which damage caps may apply in your case.
Steps to take after a car accident in Colorado
The steps you take after a car accident in Colorado can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Naturally, you’ll need to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience severe or life-threatening injuries. Then, proceed with the following steps once you are able to do so safely.
- Call the police and obtain an accident report.
- Gather information from the accident, such as the other party’s insurance information.
- Document the accident scene using photos and written testimony from any eyewitnesses. Be sure to also get their contact information.
- Seek medical attention even if you don’t think you have injuries. This is important to show that any injuries you sustained were caused by the accident.
- Contact your insurance company to inform them of the accident.
- Contact a lawyer. Never accept an offer from an insurance company without talking to a lawyer first. Insurance companies are quick to offer lowball settlements that are far less than you deserve. An attorney can help determine a fair settlement amount based on your injuries.
How long do you have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Colorado?
The standard statute of limitations is 3 years for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident in Colorado. While there are some cases where you could still file a lawsuit after this time period expires, it’s best to file as soon as possible to avoid missing out on your chance to recover compensation.
Contact a Colorado car accident attorney
Between Colorado’s comparative fault rule, damage caps and the statute of limitations, there are many factors that can impact the outcome of your case. An experienced car accident attorney knows how to help you gather and organize evidence and work with your doctors to provide relevant information about the damages involved with your injury.
If you’ve been injured in an accident because of someone else’s negligence, contact our Denver personal injury attorneys at The Babcock Law Firm. Our attorneys are committed to helping injured Coloradans get the compensation they need after an accident while they recover from their injuries. Let us handle the negotiations with the insurance company so you can focus on healing.
Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.