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Denver Legal Issues Blog

Why does car insurance matter?

Most people who drive in Colorado know that carrying some level of automobile insurance is required by law. Unfortunately, however, even while this is the law many people still make the choice to drive without having this protection. It is important to understand how car insurance protects not just anyone you might hit but how it also protects you. Additionally, if you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance, you will want to know what type of rights you have.

As explained by esurance, people who use the cost of insurance as a way to rationalize not carrying it can all too quickly find out that the cost of not carrying insurance can outweigh the insurance price by a great amount. Imagine for a moment that an uninsured driver hits your car. All of a sudden that person must themselves pay for repairs to their vehicle, repairs to your vehicle and medical costs associated with any injuries sustained by persons in either vehicle.

Uber and Lyft drivers are on their own if injured

Ridesharing is just another facet of the newly-minted sharing economy, in which consumers around the globe have turned to social media to get their goods and services for a fraction of the cost. Companies such as Uber and Lyft have taken advantage of new technology and the public's desire to obtain cheap and convenient rides from nearly anywhere. For passengers, the ability to use an app to get a ride home from the airport for significantly less than a cab fare keeps them coming back for more. For drivers, the ability to work as an independent contractor, choose their own hours and earn a generous yet flexible income keeps them behind the wheel.

However, many drivers are finding that there are significant risks to working for companies like Uber and Lyft. And beyond that, there's not much their companies can do to protect them in the event of an injury or accident. According to a report published on Wired, an increasing number of drivers for ridesharing companies are being injured by passengers or are involved in accidents, but these incidents are rarely reported to the general public. It's one of the darker secrets of the widely-used ridesharing system. 

Autumn means more runner injuries on our roads

To put it simply, the autumn season in Colorado is spectacular. There is a brisk chill in the air, and the mountain valleys transform into a rainbow of burgundy, chocolate brown and crimson. Wildlife is beginning to settle in for the cozy winter, and the ski resorts are gearing up for yet another fun-filled season on the powder. For runners, it's often the perfect time to head out to clock those miles.

However, running in the fall can be more dangerous, especially on the winding roads of Denver. Visitors and residents alike need to remember that their passion for running can be risky, and you must remain aware of your surroundings when you are on the shoulder of the road. While there's no sound data on the number of runners who are killed or injured by vehicles on the side of the road, the Center for Disease Control does note that about 4,000 pedestrians are killed each year as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle. 

When teenagers get hurt at work

The teenage years are awkward for a wide variety of reasons. Not only are young people transforming into adults and learning who they are and what they want to become, but they also are trying to make their place in the world. They want independence, but it can be difficult to achieve while living with their parents and finishing their school years. So for many, the best way to start finding their own way is to get that coveted first job.

Parents often love the fact that their adolescent children are willing to get out of the house and starting earning an income, but there is a certain amount of worry that comes along with this new milestone. Teen workers are at risk of workplace injuries just like any other employee, and it's important that both parents and young adults know what to do if they get hurt while working.

Injuries to lawn care workers

Autumn in Colorado inspires many people to take a step back and appreciate the beauty of nature. But for lawn care workers, this colorful season filled with crisp breezes and bountiful harvests usually means that it's time to get to work. Lawns still need to be manicured, and then there's the additional work of trimming landscaping, cleaning up the fallen leaves and removing debris from sidewalks, driveways and roadways. With more work to do, there's often an increased risk of injury.

It's important that Denver lawn care workers recognize the risks that are present in the fall, and that they also know what to do if they are injured on the job.

Colorado residents face growing risk in high drivers

Colorado made headlines when it became the first state in the nation to legalize the recreational use of pot. Regardless of whether or not someone agrees with that decision, there are numerous ways that this decision may impact people, even those who may chose not to use marijuana themselves. One of these is when an accident occurs that involves a high driver.

Data collected by the Colorado Department of Transportation shows that in 2016, 115 drivers tested positive for pot after accidents. Of those, 63 percent had more than the legal limit of five nanograms per milliliter of pot in their systems. It is important to note here that if a driver died in a crash, they were not tested. Also, if a driver is found to have alcohol in their system, they are not subsequently tested for pot. This means the number of drivers with pot in their systems could be even higher than these results.

Rural areas are more dangerous for car accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 15,000 fatal traffic accidents occurred in 2014 on roadways in the United States, comprising about 50 percent of all fatal traffic accidents in the country. This is an alarming figure, considering just 19 percent of American citizens live in rural areas yet half of all fatal accidents occur on rural roads. It highlights the very real danger that unfamiliar drivers face when they must cross through rural areas in Colorado during their travels.

Why are Rural Roads So Risky? 

Remote sensing technology in autonomous cars

In Colorado and across the nation, people's opinions of self-driving cars run the gamut from great excitement to virtual fear of handing over responsibility for driving to a computer. Regardless of whether or not a person feels positively about autonomous vehicles, most people are interested in how safe these vehicles really might be. Understanding some of the technologies to be put to use in them can be important in assessing this.

A company that manufactures automotive parts, including those for inclusion in autonomous vehicles, has recently announced a new strategic partnership that aims to tackle the issue of safety in self-driving cars head on. Delphi Automotive will use LiDAR technology created by Innoviz, a company based in Israel in select products. This LiDAR technology provides a remote sensing ability that will allow a self-driving car to detect items that may be in its path of travel. By detecting potential problems, the vehicle can then adjust its course so as to avoid any collision.

The FMCSA Hours of Service rule for truckers

How many times have you been driving on a surface street, highway or freeway in Colorado only to have a large tractor trailer come up next to you or pass you quickly? This situation often leaves people in regular passenger cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles feeling somewhat dwarfed and vulnerable. This is with good reason. These big rigs are just that - big. Their sheer size can put other people in line for serious risk if an accident with one of these vehicles occurs.

Truckers are known to work very long hours in many cases, leading them to potentially be driving when they are not as alert as one might prefer. This, in turn, may increase the risk of an accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration instituted what it calls its Hours of Service rule. This details exactly the maximum number of hours a trucker may drive and work per day and per work week. It also identifies the time when breaks must be taken. The goal of this rule is to reduce the instances of truckers driving while fatigued to reduce accidents.

Can an employer punish me for filing a claim?

You can't blame employers for discouraging you from filing a workers' compensation claim. It costs them money, and may require finding a replacement for you or creating an accommodation for you.

But as unhappy as they may be, they are forbidden from retaliating against you - not by federal law, not even by Colorado statute, but by common law asserted by our court system.

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