Personal Injury Claims in Boulder, Colorado
Although there are a wide range of accidents that citizens of any town can experience, Boulder residents have particular risks to look out for due to the city’s rapid growth, penchant for cycling, proximity to the university, and location near vast swaths of wilderness. Any of these factors can contribute to a personal injury or property damage which might have been prevented if the people and businesses involved took proper precautions and exercised a reasonable standard of care. There are obvious reasons why so many people are moving to Boulder, and as the city grows, the residents must be careful to maintain the city’s inclusivity, safety, and fun!
Boulder Court System
If you choose to file a personal injury suit in Boulder, Colorado, you will be required to use one of three courts. If your claim is less that $7,500 then you are eligible to file in Small Claims Court, which provides the option for a streamlined process without a court date. For claims under $15,000, you may also choose to file in County Court. For personal injury claims higher that $15,000, you must file in the District Court. All three of these courts are housed in the Boulder County Justice Center, located at 1777 6th St.
Because of Boulder’s rapid economic growth, more people are moving to the city every day, putting more cars on the road every day and driving property prices up. Since some people cannot afford to live within the city limits, they migrate out of city limits and commute into downtown for work or school. This can lead to heavy congestion coming into and leaving the city and increase the chance of automobile accident.
In addition, due to the high population of young people within the city, the risk of distracted or impaired driving may be increased. Students may not understand the severe risks of texting and driving or they may overestimate their alcohol tolerance and drive over the legal limit. Marijuana usage may also impair drivers of any age.
Boulder is known as a particularly bike-friendly city, with thousands of citizens biking to work and school every day. In fact, Boulder has over 300 miles of dedicated bike paths. The sheer number of bicyclists on campus and in the city at large can actually make riding safer because drivers are used to accommodating them. However, because cycling is such a popular form of both transportation and recreation in Boulder, a few common accidents may occur. The city of Boulder warns motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians to be aware when they are out in town to help avoid these common accidents. Here are a few laws and safety tips to keep in mind.
- All cyclists must enter crosswalks at 8 mph or slower, and all multi-use paths have a speed limit of 15 mph unless posted
- Cyclists are not allowed to wear earphones while riding and must use a front and rear light while riding after dusk or before dawn.
- Collisions between motorists and cyclists occur most frequently at intersections and crosswalks when motorists fail to notice the rider, such as when a car turns right without checking in their mirror for upcoming cyclists.
- Collisions between cyclists and pedestrians are almost always caused by cyclists. Riders may fail to audibly warn pedestrians of their presence before passing on multi-use trails or sidewalks, or they may be riding too fast to control their movement or respond to pedestrians.
- Motorists must yield to cyclists and pedestrians, while cyclists must yield to pedestrians.
- Of special concern is the potential hazard that children on bikes pose, both to themselves and to other cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. Children often do not have a clear understanding of road rules and may, therefore, run red lights, turn without checking for traffic, or swerve into the middle of the road without warning.
If you are in an accident of any kind you must stop, give any aid that you can to those injured, and notify the police immediately. If you almost experience an accident but manage to avoid it, Boulder provides a service called the Close Call Comment Line which you can call at (303) 441-3333 to record your experience. This organization maps trouble spots in the city for future city planning.
Concerns at University of Colorado
With almost 33,000 enrolled students, the University of Colorado in Boulder contributes significantly to Boulder’s population of around 100,000. The university provides a local hub for art, music, and scientific research, as well as sports, and there is a good deal of interaction and integration between the city and the school. While most of the students are invested in contributing to the city and becoming a part of the larger community of Boulder, some individuals may feel that they can get away with anything because they are not permanent residents. This includes committing a crime against fellow students or disrespecting city ordinances.
Two common fears on university campuses today are assault and hazing which often take place outside of the classroom at parties or private events. Colorado has state laws against hazing, and the CU Boulder Student Code of Conduct additionally prohibits the practice. It defines hazing as follows:
“Any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the health, safety, or welfare of an individual for the purpose of initiation, participation, admission into or affiliation with any organization or group at the university. Hazing includes, but is not limited to, any abuse of a mental or physical nature, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drugs, or substances, or any forced physical activity that could adversely affect the health or safety of an individual. Hazing also includes any activity that would subject the individual to embarrassment or humiliation, the willingness of the participant in such activity notwithstanding.”
If you are a student on campus, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from assault:
- Never let friends go out walking alone at night, especially if the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Use the buddy system or call a taxi service to get home.
- Locate your keys before you reach your door or car so you are not searching for them for a protracted period of time.
- Try to identify places where you could find safety at night in your neighborhood, such as stores or other businesses which are open late, police and fire stations
- CU also provides a nighttime ride service for students that will take you anywhere in Boulder for free. It is called CU NightRide and can be reached at (303) 492-7233.
Hazards in the Rockies
Boulder, Colorado is growing in size in large part due to the outdoor recreation opportunities. Sports enthusiasts flock to the town not only to relocate permanently, but also as visitors to experience the world-class rock climbing, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and other adventures the region has to offer.
However, these activities present a chance for injury. The Front Range of Colorado is the gateway to the Rockies, which boasts many ski resorts as well as various lodging accommodations that provide various guided and self-guided outdoor recreation opportunities. However, these facilities must ensure that the conditions on their premises are as safe as possible to minimize injury to guests.
Colorado’s Ski Safety Act holds that skiers generally assume the risks of personal injury and damage to property that are inherent to the sport itself. The scope of these hazards is understood to encompass things such as inclement weather, rocks, tree outgrowths, stumps and an individual’s decision to ski beyond his or her own capabilities.
Despite these protections, it is often possible for injured skiers to pursue compensation claims based on theories of negligence on the part of ski area operators and others involved in building or maintaining lifts, equipment and ski runs. The law in Colorado requires ski area personnel to property mark trails, ensure that snow grooming machinery is in safe working order, provide necessary warnings and operate lifts in such a way as to protect the safety of riders.
Additionally, resorts or hotels (as well as municipalities) that maintain swimming pools are required by state law to take certain steps to ensure safety. Colorado has imposed a series of regulations with which the owners and operators of public and semi-public pools must comply in an effort to maintain the safety of those who use such facilities. For instance, pools of this type must be surrounded by barriers of a particular size in order to prevent accidents.
Legal Representation for Victims in Boulder, Colorado
If you have been injured in a preventable accident due to the negligence of others, legal representation by attorneys who are familiar with local laws and practices can greatly increase your chance of just compensation. For a free case evaluation, call the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal today at (303) 825-2223 or contact us online to get started.