Colorado Legal Digest – November 2022 Newsletter

Nov 30, 2022


The month of November brought two $2-million verdicts for clients of the law firm of Franklin D. Azar & Associates — one in Denver, one in Texas. Both were personal injury cases involving formidable battles over evidence and liability, situations that called for attorneys willing to go the distance for their injured clients. In each case, the Azar firm was up to the challenge. Here are the details:

Joseph Sirchio - $2.2 Million Verdict


After a hard-fought trial involving disputes over liability, a Denver jury awarded more than $2 million in damages to a 24-year-old motorcyclist injured in a 2021 crash. The plaintiff was represented by the law firm of Franklin D. Azar & Associates.

The verdict comes fourteen months after the accident, which occurred when the motorcyclist was driving northbound and a southbound truck turned left in front of him. The motorcyclist crashed into the turning truck and shattered his femur. The insurance company for the defendant argued that the motorcyclist was at fault for the crash for speeding and not having a motorcycle license.

Fortunately, the motorcyclist had Frank Azar on his side. Other personal injury attorneys may have been tempted to settle a less-than-perfect case for whatever the other side was willing to offer, but the Azar firm is known for fighting for the compensation its clients deserve. “The insurance companies don’t intimidate Frank Azar,” notes Azar senior attorney Joseph Sirchio, the lead attorney on the case. “Frank is known for taking difficult cases to trial.”

At trial Sirchio brought in witnesses to testify about the motorcyclist’s surgeries and recovery and the circumstances of the crash. “We argued that the motorcyclist had the right-of-way and that the defendant was at fault for turning when he saw an oncoming motorcycle,” Sirchio says. The jury came back with an award of $500,000 for non-economic damages, $1,000,000 for economic damages (including medical bills), and $1,000,000 for impairment. The jury also decided that the motorcyclist was 20 percent at fault for the accident. With interest, the final award comes to approximately $2.2 million.

“Credit has to go to the client for having faith in the judicial process and the guts to go to trial,” Sirchio says.

Dezarae Lacrue - $2Mil Verdict


It was a long road to trial, but a young woman from Colorado who suffered life-changing injuries in a 2016 car crash in Texas had her day in court this month when a Dallas County jury awarded her a verdict of $2 million.
The plaintiff was represented by the law firm of Franklin D. Azar & Associates and C. Kyle Pugh PC in Dallas.
The Azar client was injured in an intersection collision in Irving, Texas, in May of 2016, in which the other driver was cited for failing to yield the right of way. Initially diagnosed with neck strain and other injuries, she soon developed pain in her back, abdomen, and hips that was eventually diagnosed as related to labral tears in her hips. She underwent reconstructive hip surgery but faces the prospect of additional surgeries and medical treatment to come.
Although the other driver acknowledged responsibility for the crash, the case was complicated by several factors. The defendant’s legal team disputed the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries and the degree to which they had impacted her ability to lead an active life. For reasons not connected with the merits of the case, the trial date kept getting reset.
But when the case was finally heard by a jury, Azar senior attorney DezaRae LaCrue and the rest of the plaintiff’s legal team were able to present compelling expert testimony about the nature of her injuries, the way the crash had caused or exacerbated those injuries, and the need for additional treatment. The jury’s award includes roughly $290,000 in past medical costs, $1.2 million to address future medical needs, and other amounts related to pain and suffering, impairment, and loss of earning capacity — approximately $2 million in all.
“This was a challenging case,” LaCrue observes. “Despite being significantly injured, our client was still managing to live a pretty normal life. But the case hinged on whether her injuries were related to the crash, and the jury found that they were.”


Don't Drink and Drive


First, the good news. Thanks to persistent don’t-drink-and-drive campaigns, tougher penalties for those who drive while impaired, and deterrent technology such as ignition interlock devices, the number of drunk-driving deaths in the United States has declined by an estimated 65 percent since the 1980s. That’s hundreds of thousands of lives that have been saved by people acting responsibly.
Unfortunately, drunk drivers remain one of the greatest dangers all of us face on America’s roads. Here are some startling facts and figures, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Drunk driving still accounts for nearly one third of all fatal vehicle crashes.
  • Every day, around 32 people die in drunk-driving crashes in the U.S.—roughly one death every 45 minutes.
  • In 2020, 11,654 people died in alcohol-related traffic deaths, a 14% increase from 2019, despite decreased traffic because of the pandemic.
  • On average over a ten-year period (2011-2020), approximately 10,500 people died each year from drunk-driving crashes.
  • All of these deaths were preventable.
  • Young men (in the 21- to 34-year-old age groups) make up the highest percentage of drivers who are legally drunk (a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or higher), outnumbering women with a .08 BOC by a rate of four to one.
  • Drunk drivers are not, of course, the only ones affected by their behavior. In 2020, among children killed in car crashes, more than one-fifth were killed by drunk drivers. And of that latter group, more than half the time the child casualty was a passenger in the drunk driver’s vehicle.
  • In addition to the human toll, it’s estimated that the financial impact of impaired driving in the U.S. is in excess of $44 billion a year.

There is no simple explanation for why the deadly plague of drunk driving has proven so stubbornly resistant to efforts to eradicate it. The NHTSA data suggests that a core of chronic offenders accounts for a great deal of the problem; drivers with BACs of .08 or higher who were involved in fatal crashes are four times more likely than sober drivers to have prior convictions for driving while impaired.

But it’s also true that people who don’t consider themselves to be alcohol abusers can badly underestimate the effect that a couple of beers can have on their driving ability. Even a relatively low BAC of .02 can typically result in “some loss of judgment” and decline in visual functions, according to the NHTSA. A BAC of .05 can produce exaggerated behavior, reduced alertness, slowed reaction time and difficulty steering. The “Legally Drunk” standard of .08 (typically, three or four standard drinks) greatly increases the likelihood of poor muscle coordination, impaired perception and speed control, and greatly reduced information processing ability.


Fighting the drunk-driving problem starts with a single resolution: If you are drinking, don’t drive. Plan a safe ride home before you start the party. Choose a taxi, a rideshare service, or a non-drinking friend as a designated driver. If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel; take their keys and arrange a sober ride home. Always wear your seatbelt. And if you see an impaired driver on the road, call 911. Your actions could save someone’s life.

The Car Accident Lawyers At FDAZAR

For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise in serious injury cases have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-9032, or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.



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