Colorado Springs Car Accident Guide
When you are the victim of a car accident, caused by the negligence of another, there are so many frustrating and unexpected details you must deal with. You may be severely injured and left trying to determine how to pay for your medical treatment. You may face even more financial burden associated with your accident if you’re unable to return to work. On the other end will likely be an insurance company with little interest in how your injuries have altered your life—possibly forever.
According to car industry experts, the “average” driver files an auto accident claim about once every 17.9 years. This means most of us can expect to be involved in 3-4 accidents from the time we receive our first driver’s license to the time we stop driving. With the many potential complications that can arise after your accident, it is extremely important you have a qualified Colorado Springs car accident attorney in your corner. The experienced legal team at Sears & Associates, P.C. is here to help.
Colorado Springs Accident Statistics
- According to a Fox News 21 report, the traffic deaths in Colorado Springs are already up by 40 percent in 2018, with twenty-three traffic deaths from January 1, 2018 to June 22, 2018. In 2017, during the same period of time, there were only fourteen traffic deaths.
- Of the 2018 Colorado Springs traffic deaths, fourteen were automobile-related, four were motorcycle-related, and five were pedestrian-related.
- At least eight of the twenty-three deaths were related to alcohol impairment, and among the automobile-related crashes only nine of the fourteen who died were wearing a seat belt. Excessive speed was also a factor in three of the crashes, with speeds of more than 100 mph.
Where are Most Colorado Springs Car Accidents?
The Gazette lists the following locations in Colorado Springs as not only the busiest roadways, but the ones with the most auto accidents:
- Interstate 25
- North Powers Boulevard
- North Academy Boulevard
The Colorado Springs police regularly collect crash data, maintaining a list of the 25 locations in the city with the most crashes. Eleven of these locations are along the interstate, and four of those routinely register crash numbers in the triple digits. The numbers included on the list do not separate injury and non-injury crashes, which means the list may not necessarily translate to the deadliest intersections.
Causes of Colorado Springs Car Accidents
Car accidents are extremely common across the nation, with the majority of these collisions being the result of human error. Although many crashes are relatively minor, thousands lose their lives annually in tragic car collisions. The Huffington Post lists the fifteen most common reasons for car accidents as:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving due to alcohol
- Excessive speed
- Driving recklessly
- Failing to stop at red lights
- Driving at night
- Vehicle design defects
- Making an improper turn or driving the wrong way
- Inexperienced teenage drivers
- Impaired driving due to drugs
- Serious potholes in the roadway
- Tire blowouts
- Animals crossing the road
Some of these are more dangerous than others, particularly distracted driving, which has quickly moved up the list and is now considered a primary cause—or at least a contributing factor—of many auto accidents.
- Distracted drivers cause an average of 40 crashes each day in Colorado, with 67 deaths attributable to distracted driving in 2016. Of CDOT’s 2017 annual survey of Colorado drivers, over 89% of participants admitted to distracted driving in the past 7 days, indicating just how prevalent of a problem distracted driving can be.
- When most people hear the term “distracted driving,” they immediately think of cell phone use and texting while driving. The truth is, there are a plethora of distractions that drivers encounter on a daily basis, and there are even different types of distractions, as well.
- A visual distraction occurs when you are driving and take your eyes off the road, whether for a second or a longer period of time.
- Manual distraction occurs when you remove your hand or hands from the wheel—and yes, making a negative hand gesture to another driver counts!
- A cognitive distraction occurs when a driver “spaces out,” perhaps thinking about a problem in their life, what they intend to cook for dinner or an upcoming vacation—anything other than the road ahead and the drivers surrounding them.
- A parent who turns around to reprimand the child who has been kicking the seat for the past ten minutes or to pick up a dropped toy is exhibiting all three types of distraction—a very dangerous combination.
- Texting also involves all three types of distractions (visual, manual and cognitive), which is why it has been found to be so deadly. When you engage in texting, your hand is off the wheel, your eyes are off the road, and your mind is on the text you are sending, or the person you are sending it to, rather than your driving. While cell phones can certainly be deadly, there are other distractions that are dangerous, too.
- How many of us routinely eat and drink while driving? What about talking to the passengers in your car, sometimes even turning around to talk? If you live in the city, you have likely even witnessed a woman applying makeup or combing her hair while driving; in fact, some drivers routinely use the drive to work to take care of such tasks. Visitors to a new area can often be seen reading a map which is spread out across the steering wheel while driving down the road.
- Fiddling with a GPS system, radio station or CD player are common as well. In other words, most all of us who have been driving for any length of time are guilty of at least one of these distractions, and such distractions can be dangerous, or even deadly.
- Distracted drivers are still responsible for any damages to your property, so be sure to reach out to the experienced Colorado Springs car accident attorneys to discuss questions about your case.
- In 2017 alone, the state of Colorado issued more than 67,641 speeding citations. Most people understand that the faster a vehicle is traveling, the greater the risk of a serious accident; the faster the speed, the greater the injuries to the human passengers will likely be. While the majority of us know that traveling 100 mph is foolhardy, exceeding the speed limit by a mere 5 mph can be just as dangerous in certain situations.
- When you see a speed limit sign, you can rest assured that traffic engineers have carefully calculated the maximum speed allowable for safe travel on that specific stretch of roadway. In the end, exceeding the speed limit is a deliberate behavior in a situation where the driver is fully aware of the risks, but simply ignores them.
- Almost all drivers have exceeded the speed limit at one time or another, but there are many drivers who exceed the speed limit on a routinely basis. While excessive speed is a serious issue, it is often not speed alone that is responsible for automobile accidents, rather speed mixed with other aggressive driving traits. In other words, the same group of drivers who exhibit aggressive driving traits are often the same drivers who are exceeding the speed limit simultaneously.
- Aggressive driving and road rage are on the rise in Colorado Springs, and consists of tailgating others, flashing lights or making rude gestures at other drivers, obstructing other drivers from changing lanes or exiting the freeway, frequent or unsafe lane changes along with failure to signal, speeding, and disregarding traffic controls. Aggressive behavior behind the wheel of the car can lead to more serious instances of verbal and physical assault, and in some cases aggressive drivers have been known to run other drivers off the road, causing serious or deadly accidents.
- If you were hit by a driver speeding over the designated limit, you may be able to recover your damages with the help of the experienced Colorado Springs car accident attorneys at Sears & Associates, P.C. Contact us today with your questions.
- Reckless driving is responsible for a significant number of car accidents in Colorado Springs and across the nation.
- Reckless driving is often a “catch-all” term for a variety of deliberate bad driving behaviors such as tailgating, screeching around a corner, driving extremely fast, weaving in and out of traffic, performing dangerous driving maneuvers, like drag racing, or aggressively—and unsafely—changing lanes.
- While most people feel that reckless driving is a relatively minor offense, charges of reckless driving can be extremely serious.
- Under Colorado law, reckless driving occurs when you are driving in such a manner as to indicate a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others.
- If you have been involved in a car accident because of a reckless driver, the experienced car accident lawyers at Sears & Associates, P.C. can help ensure you are rightfully compensated for your injuries. Contact our team today for help.
Running Red Lights
- Red lights are meant to keep drivers safe while managing the flow of traffic, and while most drivers do adhere to the rules regarding red lights, those who ignore the rules can end up causing serious accidents with injuries—or even fatalities.
- Drivers who are in a hurry to get where they are going, or those who are distracted are the most likely to breeze through a stop light.
- Other times, a person who is exceeding the speed limit may go even faster when they see a yellow light. This type of reckless behavior can lead to severe injuries to all those involved.
- On the flip side is the driver who is probably also driving too fast, sees the yellow light and slams on their brakes, causing the drivers behind to slam into him or her—and one another.
- There is also the driver who is in the intersection making a left-hand turn after the traffic signal has turned red. Another driver sees the green light and collides with the left-turning car.
- Finally, poor weather conditions can make it difficult to see the traffic light clearly. This can include heavy rain, fog, heavy snow, ice or even blinding sunshine.
- When a car running a red light hits another car broadside in the intersection the injuries can be grave, yet red light accidents are fairly common. In attempts to lessen the amount of drivers who run red lights, Colorado Springs is installing red light cameras to various intersections, which will assess collision data, intersection volume, speed issues, pedestrian safety, and more.
Running Stop Signs
- Stop sign collisions are, unfortunately, all too common. Just like those who run stop lights, drivers who breeze through stop signs might be in a hurry, could be under the impression no drivers were coming the other way, or could simply be distracted.
- Stop signs are in place to protect other drivers as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. The driver who fails to come to a complete stop, causing an accident, could be held liable for the resulting injuries and damages.
- Stop sign accidents are usually side impact collisions which can cause significant injury to the driver and/or passengers.
- If you’ve sustained an injury due to the negligence of another running a stop sign, be sure to reach out to our experienced Colorado Springs car accident attorneys today to get all of your questions answered.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Drinking
- According to the CDC, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol or drugs every single day—one death every 50 minutes. In fact, 28 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United Sates involve alcohol.
- Drugs other than alcohol—both legal and illegal—are involved in about 16 percent of all motor vehicle crashes. In 2017, Colorado sustained 504 DUI/DUID fatal and injury crashes, which was a 0.8% increase from the year before.
- Although the legal limit for DUI is a BAC level of .08 or higher, at a BAC level of .03 to .06, alertness, judgment, coordination and concentration are adversely affected. At BAC levels from .06 to .10 lack of reflexes, reasoning, depth perception and peripheral vision are added to the other adverse effects.
- No one who has had even a single drink should get behind the wheel, as a car accident could potentially be the result. There is really no reason anyone should drive a car after drinking with the advent of Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing options.
- If you are hit by an impaired driver, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Sears & Associates, P.C. Colorado Springs car accident attorney as quickly as possible to ensure your rights are protected.
Poor Weather Conditions
- Inclement weather causes many auto accidents, especially in Colorado Springs. Some statistics attribute nearly a quarter of all crashes to adverse weather conditions, including ice, snow, rain and fog.
- Unfortunately, many drivers fail to take poor weather conditions into account when driving. Drivers may fail to slow down or fail to increase the distance between themselves and other cars, causing additional hazards on roadways. When big storms occur, many drivers will either slow to a dangerous crawl or drive as fast as they normally do—both of which can contribute to accidents caused by weather conditions.
- While snow and ice tend to scare drivers into simply staying home, rain is not generally considered “bad” weather, so more cars end up on wet roads, failing to slow down and failing to take the wet, slick pavement into consideration. Drivers should always remember that weather impacts a variety of factors, namely visibility, distance, vehicle performance and travel speeds.
- It is also never a good idea to be running late when driving in bad weather, since driving in adverse weather conditions naturally takes longer, thus causing higher levels of stress. When the weather is bad, leave earlier than you normally would, and if you have a choice of routes, take the one which is least likely to be affected by the adverse weather.
- Always slow down during bad weather driving and be hyper-vigilant to reduce the possibility of skidding out of control. Although tailgating is never a good idea under any weather conditions, it is an especially bad idea in bad weather conditions since your braking time will be much slower. Allow plenty of time to stop and stay well away from the car in front of you.
Types of Poor Weather Conditions
- Traction is often reduced on wet roadways, making them quite slippery. When the rain is just beginning, the surface oils on the roadways are loosened, creating a greasy driving surface which many drivers fail to account for.
- Rain also decreases visibility, making roadway accidents that much more likely. Inside the car, rain can cause foggy windows, and outside, if the windshield wipers are not in good condition, visibility is further reduced.
- Many drivers who drive in rainy weather simply do not have the necessary skills to travel on slippery roads. Drivers may fail to slow down in rainy weather, or on the other end of the spectrum, could drive so slowly as to create a hazard for other vehicles, increasing the chance of an accident.
- Snow can also be a major contributing factor causing car accidents, particularly in Colorado Springs. If you have a choice, avoid driving in snow whenever possible.
- Even if you are an experienced snow driver, you have no control over other drivers sliding into you.
- If you anticipate having to drive in snow, make sure you have snow tires and/or chains.
- Like rain, snow can significantly decrease visibility, and since driving in snow causes more slips and skids, it is important to slow down when snow is falling.
- Should you begin to skid, try your best to remain calm, steering into the skid. Do not hit the brake, and if there are other drivers in the area, honk your horn to alert them to your skid so they can attempt to get out of the way.
- Be especially careful of black ice, which is invisible; while it looks exactly like the surface your car is traveling on, you are actually driving on a solid sheet of ice.
- Any type of ice driving is extremely dangerous. You have little to no control when your car begins to slide. While your instinct is to apply your brakes, this is actually the worst thing you can do.
- When the roads are icy, staying home is the best course of action for every driver who can possibly do so, as accidents are more likely.
- Foggy weather significantly reduces your visibility, distorts perception, limits contrast and subsequently causes many accidents each year. When it is foggy outside, your ability to see other cars and objects on the road is limited, so extreme caution is necessary.
- Fog can also distort your perception of speed, due to lowered contrast—you may believe another vehicle is traveling much slower than it actually is.
- If you drive at night in the fog you should never use your high beams, as the water molecules in the air end up scattering more light back at you.
- Just as with other types of inclement weather, if you have a choice when it is foggy outside, stay home and avoid a car accident.
Falling Asleep at the Wheel
- A significant number of all car crashes in the United States are caused by drowsy drivers, particularly among truck drivers who routinely drive while overly fatigued. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration believes that over 72,000 crashes per year could be at least partially attributed to a sleepy driver behind the wheel, and the numbers are likely much higher than this. After all, an accident tends to wake drivers up, and few will want to admit they fell asleep behind the wheel.
- Even if you don’t actually fall asleep behind the wheel, just being drowsy or tired can contribute to car crashes since it significantly slows your reaction time. People who are exhausted are less aware of their surroundings, meaning less aware of the cars and drivers around them or of hazardous road conditions.
- Drowsiness also tends to impair judgment; those who are tired may think they can make it through that yellow/red light while they would never attempt it if they were awake and alert.
- Sleepy drivers are also more subject to road rage, as the lack of rest can render them tense and impatient, as well as prone to exceeding the speed limit and driving recklessly.
Driving at Night
- Night driving is often a top cause of car accidents because your ability to perceive and judge distance is severely impaired at night. Despite the fact there is about 60 percent less traffic on the roads at night, the NHTSA estimates that in urban areas, 55 percent of car crashes occur at night.
- When the sun goes down, man-made lights help drivers navigate roadways. While our eyes can adjust to lower levels of light, they have difficulty functioning when switching back and forth from bright to dark. When a driver is constantly looking directly into the headlights of oncoming traffic, the continuous eye adjustments can end up causing a car accident.
- It is also much more likely that drivers will encounter both impaired and drowsy drivers at nighttime. Because of this, you must be particularly vigilant when driving at night in order to avoid a car collision.
Common Types of Car Accidents
There are many different types of car accidents, including the following:
- Some of the deadliest car accidents are those that involve a car rolling over. The NHTSA estimates that while only about 3 percent of car accidents involve rollovers, as many as one-fifth of all car accident fatalities are the result of a rollover.
- While any vehicle can potentially rollover, it is much more common among vehicles with a relatively high center of gravity—including SUVs and passenger vans.
- Because SUVs tend to be top-heavy, they are much more likely to tip and roll over, particularly in situations where the driver pulls the wheel sharply to avoid an animal or other road hazard, or when the driver takes a corner too fast.
- If you have had a rollover accident, it is important that you hire an experienced Colorado Springs car accident attorney to investigate how your accident occurred and who should be held responsible.
Single Car Accidents
- Many car accidents involve only one vehicle—like when an animal runs across the road and or when a car slides off an icy road into a tree.
- There are many varieties of single-car accidents, yet a large percentage of these accidents involve clear driver error.
- If your accident was caused by a clear mechanical failure, the faulty mechanism must be preserved and documented.
- Single-car accidents caused by roadway hazards must be also documented. It’s important to gather photographs of the scene and surrounding areas, as well as create an accident diagram and reconstruction that will show how and why the accident occurred.
- Single-car accidents frequently have another element added when the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident and is subsequently arrested.
- Other single-car accidents involve striking a pedestrian which can lead to a civil lawsuit and even criminal prosecution.
- It is important to consult an experienced Colorado Springs car accident attorney as soon as possible after your single car accident so that they may investigate any possible causes for your accident.
- When your car is struck from the rear it is known as a rear-end collision. This type of accident happens more often than any other type of accident. When the front area of the car in the rear crashes into the rear of the front car, it usually results in an unexpected and quite powerful jolt, even at relatively low speeds.
- They are also known as whiplash accidents because the nature of the crash can lead to neck injuries for the occupants of the car which has been struck.
- Distracted driving is a primary cause of rear-end collisions.
- Inattentive drivers may be talking on their cell phone, adjusting the radio or the GPS device, talking to other passengers in the car, turning around to referee arguments among children, looking at billboards or daydreaming, but any of these activities can result in a sudden and shocking rear-end accident.
- If you have been injured due to another driver’s negligence, be sure to reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer to help you recover damages for any expenses and losses you have suffered because of the rear-end collision.
- Next to head-on collisions, side-impact collisions can be the deadliest type of car accident. A side-impact collision occurs when an oncoming vehicle strikes another vehicle squarely on the side.
- These types of accidents are also known as “T-bone” accidents. The speed and weight of the oncoming vehicle and where the cars collide (side front, side middle or side rear) will determine the seriousness of the injuries.
- When the vehicle is struck squarely in the middle, there are likely to be more serious injuries than if the car is struck more to the rear.
- Side-impact collisions often occur in intersections and are usually the result of a driver who failed to stop at a stop sign or red light.
- Even though many newer vehicles have side-impact airbags which can lessen the severity of the resulting injuries, few older vehicles are equipped with side-impact airbags.
- Although head-on collisions account for only 2% of all auto collisions, they make up 10% of all auto fatalities in the United States. Head-on car crashes are considered the deadliest of all types of auto accidents due to the combined speed of the two vehicles.
- Small, narrow lanes offer the greatest danger of a head-on collision—especially when excessive speed is involved.
- Lane departures are another reason for head-on collisions, which often result when the driver is overly tired, impaired or distracted.
- Depending on the circumstances, there may be neither time nor space for the other driver to take evasive action and avoid a full head-on crash.
- Drivers who pass in an unsafe manner—contrary to double yellow lines or despite an inability to see far enough ahead to pass safely—may also be responsible for many head-on collisions.
- Of course, the use of cell phones, texting while driving or any other behavior which takes the driver’s attention from the road may also lead to a head-on collision.
- Even such safety features as front and side airbags, seatbelts and approved vehicle crumple zones cannot fully protect a driver who is hit directly from the front.
- If you or a loved one has been injured in a head-on collision in Colorado Springs, you need to hire a qualified car accident attorney who has experience handling severe personal injury and car accident cases.
- Intersection accidents are the most common—and, in some cases, the deadliest—types of car accidents. The severity of these types of accidents are dependent on the speed and impact angle of the accident.
- The most car accident prone intersections in Colorado Springs are along Interstate 25, including Cimarron Street, Nevada Avenue, Tejon Street, Woodmen Road, and Garden of the Gods Rd.
- The following driving maneuvers are the most likely causes of intersection accidents:
- Erratic or improper lane changes;
- Dangerous passing maneuvers;
- Dangerous merging maneuvers;
- Sudden or erratic changes in speed;
- Making improper turns;
- Exceeding the speed limit;
- Failing to yield the right-of-way, and
- Failing to obey traffic signs or control devices.
- Careless driving is often the cause of intersection accidents. Running a stop light or stop sign is perhaps the number one cause of intersection accidents, usually caused by exceeding the speed limit or being distracted while driving.
Accidents Involving Pedestrians
- When most of us think of car accidents we envision either a single-car accident or a vehicle-on-vehicle collision. Unfortunately, some accidents involve pedestrians, often with extremely serious or even fatal consequences.
- A pedestrian is obviously much more vulnerable to injury or death than the person inside the car that hits the pedestrian. When a 5000- pound piece of metal and glass hits a pedestrian, even at a low speed, the outcome is rarely positive.
- Pedestrian accidents made up about 16 percent of annual car accident fatalities in 2016—a number which has steadily risen since 2007, when 11 percent of annual car accident fatalities were pedestrians.
- Generally, there are two primary causes of car-pedestrian collisions—driver error or pedestrian error.
- Colorado Springs police warn that jaywalking is one of the most frequent causes of fatal crashes in the city. Of the 35 car accident fatalities reported to Colorado Springs police department through September of 2018, seven of them involved pedestrians. In the past six years, 50 pedestrians have died on Colorado Springs roadways.
- Drivers may also disregard traffic signals or could simply be distracted and fail to see a pedestrian in the roadway.
Accidents Involving Bicycles
- In 2016, 18,477 bicyclists suffered minor to moderate injuries in road accidents, while 3,499 were killed or seriously injured. These figures included only those accidents which were reported to the police, as many cycling accidents go unreported.
- Just like motorcyclists and pedestrians, bicyclists are extremely vulnerable when they are involved in an accident with an automobile. The bicyclist has virtually no protection other than possibly a bicycle helmet, which less than half of all bicyclists routinely wear.
- When an automobile is involved in a bicycle accident, negligence is usually a factor. The automobile driver could have been driving recklessly, been distracted, or simply did not see the bicyclist.
- When a bicyclist is involved in a car accident, the resulting injuries are likely to be severe or fatal, so it is extremely beneficial to speak to a knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney from Sears & Associates, P.C to ensure you are given the compensation you deserve.
Accidents in an Uber, Lyft or Ride-Share Service
- There is little data regarding Uber and Lyft drivers, possibly because ridesharing is a relatively new trend. The lack of data could also be the result of rideshare companies who prefer that information not be made public. Despite this, the number of Uber and Lyft drivers on the roadways has increased dramatically—meaning accidents and fender bender among those drivers has almost certainly increased as well.
- In the state of Colorado, those involved in an accident as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft could have their injuries covered under the driver’s basic liability coverage, although neither Uber or Lyft currently covers injuries to cyclists or pedestrians.
- Since there is always the possibility that the driver’s insurance has lapsed, you might want to ensure your own vehicle insurance contains coverage for injuries you might receive while in a taxi or ridesharing vehicle.
Car Accidents and Insurance
Car Accidents with No Insurance
- If you are involved in an accident caused by the other driver and that driver has no insurance—despite Colorado laws which mandate that each driver will have auto insurance—you may have to file on your own insurance. This is assuming you have uninsured/underinsured coverage on your insurance, which is optional in the state.
- If you do not have this coverage, and the other driver has no coverage, you could potentially sue the other driver. Unfortunately, drivers who cannot afford insurance are unlikely to have anything else of value which you could potentially be awarded in a lawsuit.
Car Accidents and Insurance Claims
- Colorado is a “fault” state, meaning fault must be shown in order to collect on a car accident claim. If both parties were at least partially responsible for the accident, then the person who files a claim will have any settlement amount reduced by his or her percentage of fault. In other words, if a driver is hit by another driver who ran a stop light, but the first driver was exceeding the speed limit, then it may be determined that the first driver was 20 percent responsible for the accident.
- In this scenario, if the driver received a settlement of $10,000, then that settlement would be reduced by 20 percent, making the final settlement $8,000.
- In the state of Colorado, there is a three-year statute of limitations, which means all tort actions for bodily injury or property damage which arise from the use of a motor vehicle must be commenced within three years from the date of the accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Colorado Springs
- If you are involved in a car accident, there are certain precautions you can take to ensure your rights are protected and insurance companies cannot take advantage. You must always attend to injuries before doing anything else. Even if you think you are fine, be aware that the adrenaline rush experienced during and after an accident can mask injury symptoms.
- After injuries are tended to, the next step is to call the police and report the accident.
- If you are able, take photos of the scene of the accident, then add these photos into a detailed journal of your accident.
- Contact your insurance company and give them the basic details of the accident, without elaborating.
- Finally, contact an experienced Colorado Springs car accident attorney from Sears & Associates, P.C. for help.
How a Colorado Springs Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
- If you have been involved in a Colorado Springs car accident, the very best thing you can do for your future—after tending to your injuries—is to contact an experienced Sears & Associates, P.C. car accident lawyer.
- Having one of our knowledgeable car crash lawyers by your side from start to finish can make a significant difference in the outcome of your accident. You do not want to find yourself injured through the negligence of another, out of work because of your injuries, and with no money to pay your medical expenses.
- Our Colorado Springs car accident lawyers will work hard on your behalf to ensure your rights are properly protected and that you receive an equitable settlement. Contact Sears & Associates, P.C. today for experienced, compassionate representation.