Police arrested one of the drivers involved in an accident that left one woman dead and two men injured on US Highway 287 on September 2. The authorities believe that 38-year-old Jonathan Ballard was under the influence when he crashed head-on into a Toyota Highlander being driven by 54-year-old Sumei Han between Longmont and Berthoud on 287.
Ballard was driving a Nissan Pathfinder southbound on 287 near Larimer County Road 2E when he crossed across the center line and collided head-on with the Highlander at around 4 p.m. Han was pronounced dead on the scene, and her passenger, 52-year-old Johny Han, was brought to the Medical Center of the Rockies with serious injuries.
Ballard was also transported to MCR with serious injuries. As of Monday, he was listed in critical condition.
US 287 was shut down in both directions for several hours following the crash.
Attorney contributor Dan Lipman helps the victims of drunk drivers get the support they need. We've asked him to share some insight into third-party liability for drunk driving accidents in Colorado.
The victims of traffic accidents often have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for causing the accident. However, this is not the only form of financial compensation available to the victims of drunk driving accidents. In these cases, residents of Colorado and many other states may also have the option to file a "dram shop" lawsuit - these lawsuits allow alcohol vendors (like bars, liquor stores, etc.) to be held liable for providing alcohol to the drunk driver if that individual was visibly intoxicated or under age 21.
For example, imagine a bar customer is stumbling and slurring his words, but a bartender continues to serve him alcohol. The customer goes on to drive drunk that night and causes an accident that injures or kills others. In this case, the victims (and the families of fatal accident victims) may have the right to file a dram shop lawsuit against the bar.
Establishing liability in a dram shop case is a complicated process. If you or someone you love has recently been hit by a drunk driver and you'd like to find out more about your legal options, we advise discussing your case with an experienced DUI victim lawyer.