Denver has a current population of nearly 700,000, making it the 19th most populous city in the United States and the largest by far in Colorado. It is also the fastest growing major city in the US due to a 2.8% increase in population in 2015. There’s a reason the city is nicknamed the “Mile-High City.” Denver’s altitude is, on average, one mile above sea level, making it the highest major city in the country. There are nearly 30 distinct neighborhoods within the city limits and dozens of surrounding suburbs, contributing to the eclectic feel of the city.
Courts in Denver
Denver is located in Denver County, which makes up the 2nd Judicial District of Colorado. The City and County Building at 1437 Bannock Street holds the Denver District Court for civil and domestic cases, the County Court for civil cases, the Probate Court and the Traffic Court. The Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse at 520 W Colfax Ave is the site of the Denver Criminal Court for the district and county and the Denver Juvenile Court.
Small Claims Court
Personal injury cases in Denver can be filed in one of three courts. Small civil claims, under $7,500, may be filed in Small Claims Court which is part of the Denver County Court. There are no jury trials in this court, and your case will be made in front of a judge or magistrate. No more than two claims may be filed in a single month, and no more than 18 claims may be filed in a calendar year. In addition, claims in this court must be brought in the county where the defendant lives. Therefore, if the defendant lives outside of the city of Denver or state of Colorado, it may be better to file in a different court.
Denver County Court
Civil claims up to $15,00 can be filed in the Denver County Court. Filing a claim in the County Court as opposed to the Small Claims Court gives you more options for where you can file, including where the defendant lives, where the plaintiff lives, or where the event in question occurred. In addition, unlike Small Claims Court, County Court allows for limited discovery upon request. This means that in County Court, parties can question the other side and request documents to build a case, which is not permitted in Small Claims Court.
Denver District Court
Civil claims above $15,000 will be filed in the Denver District Court, although any claim that can be filed in the other two courts is also eligible to be filed in the Denver District Court. This is the highest level for civil claims and consequently the most complicated, as it is not designed for quick litigation like the other two courts. The District Court is governed by the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. These rules allow for more in-depth discovery, longer investigation periods, and the inclusion of multiple claims.
Free Child Care
Denver also provides a special child care service for people who have court business but are unable to find someone to watch their children. The court system discourages bringing children to court dates in order to “maintain a quiet environment for litigants to conduct business.” The free service is called Denver Warm Welcome Court Childcare Center, and it is located at 270 14th Street. Its hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 am-Noon and 1:00 pm-5:00 pm, and it provides services in English and in Spanish.
Each individual city has their own issues with safety. In Denver, a large metropolis with a rapidly growing population, some of the most common safety issues leading to personal injury lawsuits are automobile accidents, bicycle accidents, and slip and fall accidents.
Automobile Accidents in Denver
Since Denver is one of the largest cities in the US, it is not surprising to learn that dozens of people die every year in car accidents in Denver. In 2014, 42 people were killed in car accidents in Denver out of the 488 fatal accidents that occurred in the entire state. In 2015, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) gave a total of $3.5 million to organizations like local police departments, government bodies, and nonprofit entities for programming aimed to reduce traffic fatalities in the state.
With almost 10,000 people moving to Denver every month, two problems are growing: road rage and winter weather accidents. Traffic in Denver continues to get worse as the population outgrows the infrastructure faster than the city can respond. Commutes are getting longer and longer every day as more cars are on the road, and citizens must travel farther to their workplace from expanding suburbs. Projections for the future of traffic in Denver predict that it will only get worse.
Since the average commuter in Denver spends 49 hours per year sitting in traffic, it is no surprise that road rage is not an uncommon phenomenon. In addition, winter weather can be particularly brutal in Denver, a city that sees an average annual snowfall of 56 inches. Those who are not familiar with the dangers and techniques of driving in icy or snowy conditions may be more susceptible to winter accidents. Yet another concern associated with driving in Colorado is the frequency of those driving under the influence. Some studies show that the rate of marijuana-related car accidents has risen over the past five years, due to legalization and the decreased social stigma surrounding the substance.
As anyone who lives in Denver knows, cycling is an important mode of transportation for many citizens. People use bikes for their daily commutes or they cycle for exercise and fun, taking advantage of the 80 miles of multi-use trails, 96 miles of bike lanes, and 400 miles of signed bike routes within the city. In fact, Denver has consistently ranked on lists of the top bike-friendly cities in America. Denver also has a biking sharing system called Denver B-Cycle so that even those who do not own bicycles can ride. Residents or tourists can rent one of the 700 red bikes from one of 80 different locations around town with a credit card and drop it off at any other site.
Unfortunately, with so many riders in the city, accidents involving bicycles are correspondingly high. In 2010 and 2011 there were 202 and 239 accidents respectively in the city. By the beginning of July in 2012, there had already been 228 accidents, pointing to a disturbing trend in bike accidents as the city expands and traffic congestion worsens. Supporting this trend, in 2010 there were 8 bicyclist fatalities as compared to the 13 bicyclist fatalities that occurred in 2012.
Icy Conditions Lead to Slip and Fall Accidents
As we have already mentioned, snowfall in Denver is tremendous, and, with snowfall, comes ice. If snow is not promptly removed from a sidewalk or parking lot, over time the snow can be compacted into ice. Public businesses and institutions are held to a higher standard of care for maintaining a safe property than individual property owners. This means that businesses should clear their sidewalks of snow and ice and prevent ice from forming in parking lots through the use of salt, sand, a snow shovel, and plowing. Some factors which may help to assess a business’s liability in a slip and fall case include the time between the snowfall and the accident and the continued presence of precipitation at the time of the accident.
In order to avoid slipping and falling in wintry or icy weather, Denver Health suggests wearing proper footwear, planning ahead to avoid especially dangerous conditions, asking for help walking or asking businesses to clear their sidewalks, and clearing your porch and sidewalk immediately after a snowfall to prevent the formation of ice.
Personal Injury Attorney for Denver Victims
There is no question why Denver is the fastest growing metropolis in the country. The cool and sunny climate combined with a steadily growing economy and access to ample outdoor recreation makes Denver a great place to live. Unfortunately, accidents can occur anywhere, and it is important to stay vigilant in order to protect yourself and those you love. Careful driving, alert bicycling, and clear sidewalks can help but it is impossible to protect yourself from injury caused by the negligence of a company, a business, or an individual.
If you have been hurt in an accident and are considering litigation in Denver, enlist the help of an attorney who is intimately familiar with the local laws, courts, and precedents. Jeremy Rosenthal has been based in Denver, working on Colorado personal injury cases, for over a decade. He will fight with every resource at his disposal to represent you fairly and successfully. Do not hesitate to contact him today for a free case evaluation at (303) 825-2223 or online.