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I-76 & Hwy-85: The Most Dangerous Intersection in Colorado

Not all deadly car crashes occur due to reckless driving or bad weather. Sometimes, fatal collisions are caused by the road or part of the road itself. In Colorado, that’s the intersection of I-76 and 85.


Just north of Commerce City lies the intersection of Interstate 76 and Highway 85, an intersection which many have dubbed as the deadliest in Colorado. It’s a fitting name, as it’s been the site of many preventable deaths, from multi-vehicle fatalities to deadly single-car collisions. Dozens of families are left facing profound, life-altering tragedy, all from accidents in the same deadly location.


The attorneys at Zaner Harden Law are here to help you and your family recover from the crash. Whether you were injured or lost a loved one at this intersection or any other road in Colorado, we’ll work hard to help you get back on your feet. 


Contact Zaner Harden Law online or by calling (720) 613-9706 for specific information relating to your situation. In the meantime, keep reading for more information on the dangers of I-76, US-85, and what can be done to make the roads safer.


Hundreds of Accidents Occur at and Near This Intersection Each Year


In 2021 alone, there were 61 fatal collisions in Adams County, the location of the dangerous I-76 Hwy-85 intersection. That’s the third-highest traffic fatality rate in the state, bested only by Denver and El Paso counties, which saw 65 and 73 fatal crashes in 2021, respectively.


The issues at the intersection of I-76 and Hwy-85 are well-known, and have already prompted repairs and reconstruction upgrades. But this only brings up a new question: will these upgrades be enough to save lives? Judging by the facts, it’s unlikely.


Of the 22,762 accidents that occurred in Adams County from January 1, 2021 to January 1, 2022, there were 1,002 minor injuries, 243 serious injuries, and 61 deaths. The death rate in this area is significantly higher than you would find at similar intersections across the country.


Startling conclusions may be drawn from statistics like these, but it’s more important to take action and prevent future injuries and deaths. That begins with road safety, but where progress falls short, legal action can motivate. If one intersection is where a significant number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities happen, then what is the problem with those roads? 


What Makes the Intersection of Highway 85 and I-76 So Dangerous?


The factors that lead to dangerous intersections such as the one where I-76 and Route 85 meet include:


  • Poor road design: Traffic flows in patterns, and part of the job of city planners and engineers is to make sure cars don’t bottleneck or pile up. Similarly, large trucks like 18-wheelers, semis, and tractor-trailers require adequate room to turn safely. Trucks may also use these particular roadways as paths into the city due to commercial vehicle regulations, further increasing truck congestion at this intersection.
  • Insufficient or lack of road signs: Interstate drivers need enough warning time to slow down and transition from highway speeds to lower-speed county roads and city streets, without interrupting the movement of other vehicles. 
  • Malfunctioning or confusing traffic signals: Hesitation at fast, busy intersections can cause preventable crashes, and lead to dangerous, frustration, fear, and road rage incidents. Improper maintenance of temporary or permanent traffic signs or signals can lead to cases holding the city or county liable. 

While individual drivers can often adapt to bad roads, not all drivers are evenly skilled. A young driver could cause harm to themselves and others if they don’t have enough experience to deal with confusing highway signs or sudden changes in the type of road or highway.


A negligent driver who assumes they have plenty of time to text could create a devastating multi-car pile-up that is partially caused by an unpredictable road.


Unsafe roads have the potential to sabotage conscientious drivers, and make reckless or negligent drivers even more dangerous.


Many have been injured and lives have been lost at the intersection of I-76 and Hwy-85, including the death of a teenage child and a multi-fatality catastrophe. These tragedies are unacceptable.


“I was in an accident that left my car totaled, me with a head injury and a neck injury. Kurt Zaner and his team helped me every step of the way so I could get the help and treatment needed. I was always treated with kindness, compassion and respect. That all is important, but what it comes down to, is results at the end of the case. Kurt Zaner will fight for accident victims and is not afraid to take the case to trial. Insurance companies know that he is not intimidated. This is so important because you do NOT want someone who will just settle because it is easier. I am more than satisfied with the settlement they got for me and give my 100% recommendation. He not only truly enjoys his job, he is good at it. Money will not heal the injuries, but it is the only thing that can be awarded to help.” -Sabrina


What Do I Do If I Have Been in an Accident at This Dangerous Intersection?

Once a person is home or stabilized in the hospital after an accident, it can be overwhelming to think of what to do first. Many of your questions about who to talk to, when to file claims, and what you should be keeping for evidence can be answered with one action: contact an experienced car accident lawyer


Your attorney can negotiate with insurance representatives on your behalf. We also file all the paperwork required for a lawsuit before the deadlines expire. That includes lawsuits against other drivers, or against the city if their public road/intersection contributed to the crash. 


Your lawyer will have the specific knowledge necessary to advise you on what documents, receipts, or evidence may be important to achieve fair compensation for your injuries and losses.


A successful result from a lawsuit can help cover:


  • All of your medical bills, from emergency transport to long-term follow-up care and rehabilitation
  • Your lost wages, used sick/vacation days, missed contracts or advancement opportunities, unemployment due to injuries, and/or the loss of work-related benefits (like health insurance)
  • The cost of the pain and suffering you and your family experience, from physical pain to the psychological impact (PTSD) that results from traumatic experiences
  • Additional punitive damages awarded to you if a judge determines that the wrongdoers in your case should pay extra fees as punishment for their conduct
  • Wrongful death expenses and losses, like funeral costs, estate closure fees, the loss of a person’s economic support, and most importantly the loss of their unique love and companionship

While a lawsuit can never replace all that you have lost, it can bring about real, tangible benefits. A comprehensive settlement can improve your healthcare options. A fair verdict can secure your family’s financial stability. 


The results of your lawsuit could also prompt safety protocol improvements that help prevent this tragedy from happening again to other people. That could mean changes to a dangerous intersection to prevent loss of life and protect your entire community.


To speak to an attorney with proven results about your legal options, contact Zaner Harden Law at (720) 613-9706. Your consultation is free and confidential, and could relieve many of your burdens and worries right away.


Contact our Denver Car Accident Law Firm Today For Help

For more information please contact Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation with a Denver car accident lawyer.


Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers

1610 Wynkoop Street, Suite 120. Denver, CO 80202
(720) 613 9706


Where We Are

We are located across the street from Union Station in downtown Denver and offer validated parking for all our clients. We also have offices in Boulder and Colorado Springs.