Archive for the ‘ Personal Injury ’ Category

The Most Dangerous Intersections In Denver

Posted on: November 30, 2016 by in Personal Injury
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What are the most dangerous intersections in Denver? To determine what are the most dangerous intersections in our city, the Denver Police Department (DPD) compared accident figures from the first five months of 2016 with accident statistics from the same five months in 2015. The result of that comparison is the following list of the intersections with the most traffic collisions from both years combined.

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As the list indicates, some thoroughfares in Denver are much more likely to be the site of traffic collisions than others. In fact, six of the most dangerous and accident-prone intersections in the city are evenly divided along just two major thoroughfares. The total number of traffic collisions at the most hazardous intersection in the city climbed by a frightening 136 percent from 2015 to 2016. Listed here are the most dangerous intersections in Denver:

Dangerous intersection #11: Colfax and Colorado

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 5 accidents at Colfax and Colorado. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 6 accidents at Colfax and Colorado for a total of 11 and a 20 percent increase from 2015 to 2016.

Dangerous intersection #10 (tie): 36th and Quebec

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 7 accidents at 36th and Quebec. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 6 accidents at 36th and Quebec for a total of 13 and a 14.3 percent decline from 2015 to 2016.

Dangerous intersection #10 (tie): Lowry and Yosemite

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 6 accidents at Lowry and Yosemite. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 7 accidents at Lowry and Yosemite for a total of 13 and a 16.7 percent increase from 2015 to 2016.

Dangerous intersection #8: 17th and Colorado

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 9 accidents at 17th and Colorado. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 7 accidents at 17th and Colorado for a total of 13 and a 22.2 percent decline from 2015 to 2016.

Dangerous intersection #7: Colfax and Kalamath/Santa Fe

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 10 accidents at Colfax and Kalamath/Santa Fe. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 11 accidents at Colfax and Kalamath/Santa Fe for a total of 21 and a 10 percent increase from 2015 to 2016.

Dangerous intersection #6 (tie): Santa Fe and Alameda

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 15 accidents at Santa Fe and Alameda. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 11 accidents at Santa Fe and Alameda for a total of 26 and a 26.7 percent decline from 2015 to 2016.

Dangerous intersection #6 (tie): Federal and Evans

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 13 accidents at Federal and Evans. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 13 accidents at Federal and Evans for a total of 26 and no change from 2015 to 2016.

Dangerous intersection #4: Mississippi and Federal

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 17 accidents at Mississippi and Federal. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 10 accidents at Mississippi and Federal for a total of 27 and a 41.2 percent decline from 2015 to 2016.

Dangerous intersection #3: Monaco and Colfax

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 14 accidents at Monaco and Colfax. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 14 accidents at Monaco and Colfax for a total of 28 and no change from 2015 to 2016.

Dangerous intersection #2: Federal and Alameda

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 14 accidents at Federal and Alameda. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 15 accidents at Federal and Alameda for a total of 29 and a 7.1 percent increase from 2015 to 2016.

Dangerous intersection #1: MLK and Quebec

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From January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015, there were 11 accidents at MLK and Quebec. From January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016, there were 26 accidents at MLK and Quebec for a total of 37 and a 136.4 percent increase from 2015 to 2016.

WHAT ABOUT PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS IN DENVER?

While the list above focuses exclusively on vehicle collisions, the list of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in Denver is slightly different and is based on figures from January 2011 through June 2016 compiled by Megan Arellano at Denverite.com. Ms. Arellano looked at the number of pedestrian-involved accidents that have happened since 2011 within 70 feet of each intersection. The most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in Denver are:

Dangerous pedestrian intersection #8: Colfax and Pennsylvania

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Dangerous pedestrian intersection #7 (tie): South Colorado and East Mississippi

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Dangerous pedestrian intersection #7 (tie): South Lincoln and Speer

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Dangerous pedestrian intersection #7 (tie): North Federal and West 10th Avenue

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Dangerous pedestrian intersection #6: 13th Avenue and Broadway

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Dangerous pedestrian intersection #5: South Federal and West Kentucky

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Dangerous pedestrian intersection #4: South Federal and West Florida

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Dangerous pedestrian intersection #3: Colfax and Broadway

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Dangerous pedestrian intersection #2: Colfax, Franklin, and Park

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Dangerous pedestrian intersection #1: 20th and Market

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WHAT SHOULD YOU DO RIGHT AFTER A VEHICLE OR PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT?

If you’ve been involved in a traffic collision in Denver, seek medical attention at once, even if you don’t “feel” injured. Many injuries – including some serious brain injuries – may not be noticeable immediately after an accident. If you end up needing to file a personal injury claim, and you did not seek medical treatment immediately after the accident, a defendant’s attorneys or insurance company might allege that your injury actually happened before the crash or that you weren’t really injured at all.

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After seeking medical attention, you’ll want to discuss your rights and options with a Denver personal injury attorney, but you must start collecting evidence and information the moment you realize that you’ve been injured. Make sure that you call the police and obtain a copy of the police accident report. Take photographs of the vehicle or vehicles, the accident scene, and your visible injuries. Photos make the difference in many personal injury cases. Speak to eyewitnesses. If your personal injury claim goes to trial with help from a Denver personal injury attorney, the testimony of eyewitnesses on your behalf – complete strangers – can be conclusive.

Can A Ski Resort Be Held Liable For Personal Injury?

Posted on: October 19, 2016 by in Personal Injury
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Every year, thousands of skiers hit the slopes at nearly 500 ski resorts and at ski lodges in 39 states. At almost every one of these lodges and resorts, skiers will find a number of signs posted to warn them of the possible hazards. And in fact, most skiers at lodges and resorts receive liability waivers that are usually printed on the back of their lift tickets. While the exact number of sprains, torn ligaments, and broken bones sustained by skiers cannot be known, about forty ski-related fatalities and another forty serious injuries (such as paralysis or severe head trauma) happen to skiers in the U.S. every year.

If you become injured at a ski resort, your rights and recourse will depend on how you were injured. If you are injured while skiing or snowboarding because another skier or snowboarder was negligent, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against that person. In Colorado, this state’s Ski Safety Act creates legal obligations for both skiers and for lodge and resort operators. Skiers in this state, including sledders and snowboarders, have a legal obligation to use caution and to ski within their abilities. Failure to meet these obligations constitutes negligence.

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If your ski resort injury has some other cause, your legal rights are probably going to be quite limited. Most states with established ski industries have adopted and now enforce laws that keep a skier or snowboarder from suing a ski resort when an accident happens due to the “natural and inherent” risks of skiing. Each state’s law is worded differently, but these laws protect ski lodges and resorts from the claims of negligence that are typically part of a personal injury lawsuit. Ski lodges and resorts cannot be sued for injuries involving:

  • collisions between skiers
  • skiing outside of a designated area
  • how the ski resort’s trails are laid out
  • whether or not the resort recently groomed the trails

UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES CAN A SKI LODGE OR RESORT BE SUED?

Some states also have adopted laws that require warning signs on ski trails, first-aid training for ski lodge and resort personnel, and other reasonable safety measures. Can you sue a lodge or a resort if you are injured while skiing because the lodge or resort wasn’t in compliance with a state safety regulation? Like so much else in the law, it will depend on the details and particulars of the case. If you are injured at a ski resort in Colorado, discuss what happened with an experienced Denver personal injury attorney. Don’t just assume that you don’t have a personal injury claim.

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Ski lodges and resorts in Colorado gained even more protection from liability under Colorado law when the Ski Safety Act was amended in 2004. Resorts and lodges were previously protected from lawsuits arising from circumstances and actions that are an “integral part” of the sport. The 2004 amendments changed that language to include circumstances and actions that are merely “a part” of the sport.

WHAT ABOUT NON-SKIING INJURIES AT SKI RESORTS?

By including factors that may not be “integral” to skiing, since 2004 the Ski Safety Act could conceivably be interpreted to include virtually any injury that might happen at a ski lodge or resort. And in fact, the amendments expanded ski area operator protections to include all of a lodge’s or resort’s property and not merely those areas set aside for skiing. But what if you slip and break your leg in a dining area because no one cleaned up a spilled drink? Is a ski resort really exempt from precisely the same kind of personal injury claim you might file if the incident happened in a restaurant or a nightclub?

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If sustain an injury at a ski lodge or resort while away from the slopes in an accident entirely unrelated to skiing – like slipping on a wet floor in a dining area – the lodge or resort may be liable just like any other commercial establishment. For example, if you trip and you’re injured on a sidewalk or anywhere indoors, the lodge or resort may be liable if you and your attorney can prove that you were injured because of negligence.

WHAT ABOUT COLLISIONS WITH OTHER SKIERS?

When two skiers collide, one is not necessarily liable to the other for damages. Before any personal injury claim can be filed against a skier, there must be evidence of fault or negligence. If a skier or a snowboarder does not perform in a reasonably safe manner and collides with you, he or she may be found negligent if you’re injured. But precisely what constitutes negligence on the part of any particular skier?

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A Denver personal injury attorney might refer to the “Skier Responsibility Code,” a brief set of guidelines the ski industry uses to promote safety. Lodges and resorts have copies of the Skier Responsibility Code posted everywhere on signs and even on napkins. If a skier causes an injury while violating the Skier Responsibility Code, it’s evidence of negligence. The Skier Responsibility Code includes these recommendations for avoiding skiing collisions:

  • Stay in control. Be able to stop and to avoid people and objects.
  • Do not stop where you are not visible or where you block a trail.
  • It’s your responsibility to avoid skiers in front of you. They have the right of way.
  • When merging into a trail or starting downhill, look uphill and yield to other skiers.

A skiing collision is handled legally like a traffic accident. Sometimes neither party is legally negligent, but if another skier or snowboarder acts negligently and you are injured as a result of that negligence, you are entitled to compensation that includes all of your medical costs, your lost earnings and lost earning capacity, and all other expenses associated with the accident. However, compensation isn’t just handed to injury victims. If another skier injures you, you’ll have to prove first that you were injured and secondly that the other skier’s negligence is the reason why.

What makes skiing collisions legally different from auto accidents? Obviously, automobile insurance doesn’t cover collisions on the slopes, although some homeowners’ insurance policies will cover these kinds of injuries. However, if a skier who collides with you has no insurance at all and no significant assets, an attorney may advise you that a lawsuit is going to be a futile gesture. Once again, like so much in the law, “it depends.”

If you ski this winter, become familiar with the Skier Responsibility Code and adhere to its suggestions. Observe all posted warning signs, know how to use a ski lift, and consider using a helmet; the most serious skiing injuries are head injuries, and head injuries are the cause of most of the forty or so skiing fatalities every year. Pace yourself and don’t try to ski at the end of the day when it’s colder, darker, and you’re more fatigued. Be reasonably cautious, and you’ll probably have a genuinely great time skiing in Colorado this winter.

The Personal Injury Negotiation Process and How it Works

Posted on: August 28, 2016 by in Personal Injury
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Anyone who suffers injuries because of someone else’s negligence is entitled under the law in Colorado to be completely reimbursed for medical expenses, days lost from work, and all other expenses arising from the accident and injuries. Anyone seriously injured by negligence should probably discuss legal recourse – including a possible personal injury lawsuit – with an experienced Denver personal injury attorney. However, there are times when it makes more sense to negotiate directly with the insurance company.

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If you sustained only vehicle damage and no personal injury, or if your “injuries” were merely minor bruises and scrapes, contact the negligent party’s insurance company and fill out the forms necessary to make your claim. If the company doesn’t dispute your claim, and if you’ve completed the paperwork and provided documentation for your claim, negotiating may mean nothing more than several brief telephone chats and possibly an in-person meeting with a claims adjuster.

HOW DOES NEGOTIATING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES USUALLY WORK?

Determine what the value of your claim is before you speak to the insurance company, and decide on the amount that you can settle for. This absolute bottom line amount is for you alone, and should never be disclosed. However, even before you contact the insurance company, decide what you believe your claim is worth, and determine a minimum settlement figure that you will be willing to accept. You know what you are willing to take, and the insurance adjuster knows how much the company is willing to pay. The negotiating process in these situations usually takes several discussions that typically go like this:

  • You ask for the highest amount that you believe is reasonable.
  • The insurance adjuster explains why that amount is too high. You might be told that some of your therapy was unneeded or that there’s still a question about liability.
  • You explain your response and perhaps offer a slightly lower figure than your original amount.
  • The adjuster at this point may make an even lower counteroffer – to see if you are in a hurry to settle.
  • You grant part of the adjuster’s criticisms of your claim and make another slightly lower demand.
  • The insurance adjuster slightly increases the company’s offer, and the two of you eventually come to a settlement amount.

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Negotiating with an insurance company – in many cases – is usually just that simple. Do not negotiate below your minimum acceptable amount. It may take more than one or two discussions with an adjuster to arrive at a settlement. Do not let yourself be hurried. Don’t be intimidated. If the insurance adjuster makes some genuine points that you haven’t thought about previously, you may need to adjust the amount that you’re claiming.

WHAT IF THE FIRST OFFER IS RIDICULOUS?

The initial settlement offer from an insurance company might be absurdly low, because the company wants to see how you will react or see if you can be intimidated. Ask the company what the reasons are behind such a low offer, arrange for a subsequent meeting or phone call, and consider what you’ve been told. Of course, if the company’s first offer is somewhere in the vicinity of reasonable, make a counteroffer just below the amount of your original claim. Good faith bargaining like this often quickly leads to an acceptable agreement.

You shouldn’t have to repeat all of the details of your claim every time you speak with the insurance company. Santa Rosa personal injury attorney Jeffrey Nadrich suggests identifying a couple of strong points; repeat and focus on them. If the party that injured you “blew through a red light” or if your pain was “agonizing,” re-emphasize that. If an injury has impaired your capacity and ability to care for your children, make sure the insurance company understands that they are victims too.

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When you jointly arrive at a final settlement amount, immediately verify it by writing a letter to the adjuster you spoke with. The letter should include the settlement figure, list the damages covered by the settlement, and specify a date when you expect to receive the settlement amount – and the accompanying paperwork – from the company. When an insurance company doesn’t act expeditiously, consumers in Colorado are entitled to hold that company liable for unfair settlement practices.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN AN INSURANCE COMPANY FAILS YOU?

What Colorado law describes as “bad faith” happens when an insurance company does not honor its own commitments or handles your claim unfairly or negligently. When the victims of personal injury in Colorado cannot get an insurance company to meet its obligations, they may be able to file an insurance bad faith claim with the help of a Denver personal injury attorney. The bad faith practices of insurance companies may include:

  1. delaying by constantly asking for more information
  2. never offering more than a fraction of what a claim is worth
  3. providing only bogus or insufficient reasons for denying a claim

Sometimes all it takes to make an insurance company act is to retain an attorney with insurance bad faith experience. When your attorney helps you pursue an insurance bad faith claim, you may receive both the original settlement figure along with any other amount – such as your legal fees – ordered by the court. If you need to be compensated by an insurance company, you have legal rights. If you need to, take advantage of those rights.

Profits are essential. Obviously, making a profit is the reason insurance companies and every other type of company exists. Profits, however, must be earned rightly. No insurance company – or any other company – should be permitted to put profits ahead of obligations and the law. For many victims of negligence, when an insurance company denies a claim, it can mean real financial hardship. If you’ve been seriously injured in any kind of accident – that is, if you suffered more than a few minor scrapes and bruises – forget about handling the claim yourself, and obtain a personal injury attorney’s advice and services at once.

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With any serious, catastrophic, or disabling injury, do not even speak to an insurance adjuster, and do not sign any forms or documents without first obtaining an attorney’s insights and advice. If you sign something, you might be waiving your right to take any legal action against the insurance company in the future. It really is best in cases with injuries to let an experienced personal injury lawyer handle an insurance settlement negotiation on your behalf.

Leased Cars and Accidents: What To Do

Posted on: July 26, 2016 by in Personal Injury
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For many of us, leasing a car is an option that makes good financial sense, and leasing has emerged as a popular alternative to buying a new car. However, there will be some complications if you’re involved in a traffic accident while driving a leased car, and you’ll have to take some important steps. If anyone is injured in a collision involving a leased vehicle, the legal questions can quickly become even more complicated.

After any traffic accident, your top priority must be your safety and health and the safety and health of the others involved. If you are not seriously injured, check on the condition of all the other drivers and passengers involved and summon medical help if necessary. You’ll also need the police to document what they find and to interview those involved and any other witnesses. You may also need the testimony of the officers if you file a personal injury claim. Make certain that you will be able to obtain of copy of the accident report.

After any accident, you also need to exchange some information with the other drivers or drivers, including all contact information and insurance details. Be sure to obtain accurate driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and telephone numbers. You will need this information later, particularly if you file a claim for damages or for personal injury. If the other driver is too intoxicated or too seriously injured to cooperate with you, ask the police to help you obtain this information.

If you can, you should also take as many photos as possible of the general accident scene, the vehicle damage, and the visible injuries. Photos are undeniable evidence of an accident and injuries. Memories fade over time, and photographs can also deter witnesses from lying or exaggerating. While people don’t always tell the truth, photos do. Take plenty, because the right photographs can often make all the difference in a personal injury case.

WHY IS SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION IMPERATIVE AFTER AN ACCIDENT?

You also must seek medical treatment immediately or as soon as possible after an accident, even if you don’t think or feel like you are injured. Failing to seek medical care at once after an accident could damage your credibility if you subsequently choose to pursue compensation. If you didn’t bother to seek medical treatment immediately, the insurance company can charge that your injuries were “obviously” not very serious. If you wait, or if you don’t seek any medical treatment whatsoever, you’ll be unprepared to file a personal injury claim if you need to.

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Seeking immediate medical attention is also imperative because it’s common to feel no pain at all right after a traffic crash. Swelling and bruises often appear hours later. When an accident occurs, adrenaline runs through your system and masks some of the pain. In other cases, you might experience aching or soreness after an accident. It might fade away – or it might develop into a serious medical condition.

IF YOU LEASE A VEHICLE, HOW DO YOU REPORT AN ACCIDENT?

Almost every vehicle lease requires the party leasing the vehicle to carry insurance on the vehicle. Most vehicle lease agreements require you to contact the automobile dealership or the leasing agency after you’ve been involved in an accident. Every auto insurance policy also requires you to notify your insurance company immediately following any collision in a leased vehicle.

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Contact your insurance company promptly after an accident, even if you believe the other driver is at fault, because there may be benefits available to you through your own auto insurance policy. If the other driver may not have car insurance, notifying your insurance company is even more important. When you contact your insurance company, be ready to give them the following information:

  • the name, address, and telephone numbers of the other drivers and vehicle occupants
  • the insurance policy information for the other driver or drivers
  • the name of the law enforcement agency that responded
  • the date, time, and location of the collision

The insurance company will arrange for a claims adjuster to evaluate the damages to the vehicle. An adjuster may be sent to your location, or the insurance company may send you to a local field office or body shop. The company will then tell you the steps you must take to have the vehicle repaired. The leasing company may have precise requirements for any repairs, so they also must be notified at once. For example, some dealerships will not allow you to repair a leased vehicle with after-market parts rather than original manufacturer parts. Make sure you understand all of the terms of your lease, or you could be looking at financial penalties when it expires.

HOW DO YOU PURSUE A CLAIM FOR DAMAGES?

Pursuing a claim for vehicle damage to a leased vehicle is the same process as if you owned the vehicle outright. You will need to contact the other driver’s insurance company, which will either accept your claim or dispute it. If the insurance company accepts the claim, it will have you gather estimates for the repairs and will eventually authorize the repairs. If the company denies your claim, then different options are available to you, such as suing the other driver for the property damage.

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However, if you’ve sustained a personal injury, don’t even speak with the insurance company. In the state of Colorado, when you sustain a serious injury in a traffic accident, it’s best to obtain the advice and services of an experienced Denver personal injury attorney before you sign any insurance forms or make any statements regarding your accident or injury. Unless your attorney advises you to do so, don’t settle with an insurance company. Quite often, insurance adjusters try to cajole a personal injury victim into settling for an amount that’s far less than the personal injury claim is actually worth.

The right personal injury attorney can determine if you have grounds to file a claim, and if you do, that attorney will know what it will take for you to prevail. In the state of Colorado, if an insurance company will not compensate you fully and fairly for personal injuries after a traffic accident, an experienced Denver personal injury attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf or take your claim to a jury and ask that jury for the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions About Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Posted on: June 17, 2016 by in Personal Injury
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Q: What is a traumatic brain injury?

A: Any forceful contact to the head that disrupts the brain’s natural functions is a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”). The brain can be injured by strokes or infections, but those are called “acquired” brain injuries (“ABIs”). Neurologists classify traumatic cerebrum injuries as severe, moderate, or mild. Most TBIs are mild, so most people who sustain a TBI improve over time. However, the effects of a severe traumatic brain injury can last for life.

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Q: How many people are currently suffering with TBI?

Almost 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. Most cerebrum injury victims who are treated at an ER are released, but more than a quarter-million each year are admitted to a hospital. Additionally, each year more than 50,000 die as the result of a traumatic cerebrum injury, and about 125,000 are permanently disabled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 3.2 million Americans are permanently disabled as the result of a traumatic cerebrum injury.

Q: Who is at the highest risk for TBI?

The age groups most at risk for TBI are children age 4 and under, teens ages 15 to 19, and adults age 65 and above. Males sustain about one-and-a-half times more traumatic cerebrum injuries than females. Serving in the military increases the risk of TBI, and African-Americans suffer the highest death rate from traumatic brain injuries.

Q: What are the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries?

A: Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, responsible for about 35.2 percent. Traffic collisions cause about 17.3 percent of traumatic brain injuries, and assaults are responsible for about 11 percent. Blasts and explosions are the predominant reasons for traumatic brain injuries suffered by active duty military personnel in war zones.

Q: What are the costs of TBI?

A: The direct and indirect cost of TBI in the U.S., including lost productivity, is estimated at more than $75 billion a year. Obviously, the more serious a cerebrum  injury is, the costlier it is to treat. These figures from the Brain Injury Association of America spell out the average, typical costs to individual patients:

  • $600 to $1,000 a day for outpatient therapy (four hours a day)
  • from $850 to $2,500 a day for post-hospitalization residential rehabilitation
  • about $8,000 a day for hospital-based cerebrum injury rehabilitation

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Q: How does a TBI impact the brain and the body?

A: When a traumatic cerebrum damage occurs, anything connected to the cerebrum can be affected. A number of symptoms may be related to a TBI, including dizziness, nausea, balance and perception problems, and eating and sleeping disorders. A TBI victim’s emotions and thought patterns, and the abilities to concentrate and communicate can also be affected. Serious brain injuries sometimes cause epilepsy, and TBI also raises the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

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Q: What kinds of issues do TBI victims face in day-to-day living?

A: The Institute of Medicine has published a study which says, “…many people with TBI experience persistent, lifelong disabilities. For these individuals and their caregivers, finding needed services is, far too often, an overwhelming logistical, financial, and psychological challenge. Individuals with TBI-related disabilities, their family members, and caregivers report substantial problems in getting basic services, including housing, vocational services, neurobehavioral services, transportation, and respite for caregivers.”

Q: What are the long-term effects of TBI?

A: The human brain is a complex organ, so it’s almost impossible to predict with certainty the long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury. Mild brain injuries, properly treated, usually heal over a period of months with few problems. More serious brain injuries can have a number of effects in the months and years subsequent to the injury. Many TBI victims have difficulty with basic cognitive skills, paying attention, concentrating, and learning new material.

TBI victims may think and process information more slowly, and some are sometimes easily confused. They may become impulsive or reticent; they may withdraw into solitude or talk to others incessantly. A traumatic brain injury might cause mood swings, depression, irritability, or aggression. Vision problems and ringing in the ears are also common. Anticonvulsive drugs or surgical intervention may help to prevent or slow epileptic seizures. In the most severe cases, paralysis or spasticity may impair a TBI victim’s ability to move, swallow, or breathe.

Q: Why are the effects of TBI so difficult to predict?

A: Even though our knowledge of TBI has advanced, we have much more to learn about the brain’s ability to heal after an injury. Rather than make predictions, brain injury rehab professionals usually create treatment plans to help patients reach achievable goals. Rehabilitation providers must consider both the severity of an injury and the available resources. Neuropsychological evaluations help to determine the severity of injuries and help therapists create treatment plans.

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Q: How is a traumatic brain injury treated?

A: As soon as a brain injury occurs, a victim should receive medical care immediately. If the injury is a mild TBI, a patient is tested and usually discharged. A follow-up should be scheduled, and patients should report any new or worsening symptoms. Moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries may require surgery, intensive care, and/or acute care. Rehabilitation may take weeks, months, or years. A variety of options are available, so every TBI patient should be able to obtain the appropriate treatment and care.

Q: Can TBI patients find financial assistance?

A: It takes a great deal of money, time, and effort to deal appropriately with a traumatic brain injury, so TBI victims and their families often feel genuine financial pressures. If a brain injury is the result of another person’s negligence, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help. In Colorado, the victims of negligence are entitled by law to full compensation for all of their current and future medical treatment and all other injury-related expenses.

An experienced Denver personal injury attorney can provide sound legal advice to Colorado brain injury victims and their families. However, if a victim’s own negligence caused a brain injury, or if negligence was not involved, public financial assistance will depend on the kind of brain injury and the type and amount of insurance available. In Colorado, a Denver personal injury attorney can provide TBI patients and their families with more details regarding their legal rights and possible legal options.

Infographic – Distracted Driving In Colorado

Posted on: May 27, 2016 by in Infographics, Personal Injury
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In the state of Colorado, distracted driving is defined as performing any in-vehicle task that takes attention and focus away from the primary task of driving. From the 2012-2015, there were 59,075 accidents in the state of Colorado caused by reckless steering. This infographic breaks down these accident-causing distractions, providing statistics for each type of distraction. If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a distracted driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your options and protect your rights.

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Are There Benefits of Chiropractic Care after Car Accidents?

Posted on: May 16, 2016 by in Personal Injury
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Consulting with a chiropractor after a traffic accident may be the right choice for many accident victims. Chiropractors treat neck injuries and whiplash, back injuries, soft tissue injuries, and they also help accident victims to loosen stiff muscles. Chiropractic therapy aims at healing musculoskeletal injuries. The practice is grounded on the presumption that when the nervous system functions correctly and the skeletal system is aligned properly, the human body can self-heal.

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In the United States, chiropractors treat a third of all accident victims. About two-thirds of all traffic collision injuries are musculoskeletal injuries from whiplash or cervical, thoracic, and lumbar strains or sprains. Chiropractors specifically treat these kinds of soft tissue injuries. Among other functions, a chiropractor will perform specific manipulations of vertebrae that have abnormal movement patterns or that fail to function properly. A chiropractic adjustment, for example, is a routine therapeutic treatment for lower back pain.

ISN’T CHIROPRACTIC THERAPY AN “ALTERNATIVE” TREATMENT?

In recent decades, chiropractic treatment has become a mainstream treatment. A number of insurance plans now fully cover chiropractic therapy, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been approving chiropractic treatments for veterans since 2004. Some insurance companies still consider chiropractic treatment to be an “alternative” therapy, but it has long been a widely-accepted solution to spinal and neck problems including lower back pain and whiplash.

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After a traffic accident, there may be injuries that can’t be seen – back and neck injuries, herniated discs, neck and back pain, misaligned vertebrae, headaches, and head pain. Delays in the onset of pain after a traffic accident are also quite common. Joint injuries in auto accidents may cause post-traumatic osteoarthritis, a speeding up of the arthritis process in younger persons. After any traffic crash, obtaining the medical treatment you need must come first, even if you don’t “feel” injured, because of the possible injuries that are not visible to the naked eye.

Accident victims should not wait to obtain treatment. In the state of Colorado, traffic crash victims should seek medical attention as quickly as possible, and if another driver’s negligence was responsible for the traffic accident, injury victims should also arrange to speak promptly with an experienced Denver personal injury attorney. Some injuries may not be detected – or detectable – until days or weeks after a collision, so the sooner a chiropractor sees you, the better your chances are for a quick recovery.

CAN LOW-SPEED COLLISIONS CAUSE SERIOUS INJURIES?

Injuries can and do occur in low-speed collisions, so those collisions can be dangerous too. One of the most common injuries suffered in traffic collisions is the cervical/neck strain known as whiplash. Whiplash injuries happen mainly but not only in rear-end collisions, and they happen in low-speed accidents as well as in high-speed crashes. Automobile bumpers are made to withstand damage at low speeds, but humans are not, so when a vehicle doesn’t absorb the force of a crash, the occupants of the vehicle absorb that force, and it can lead to neck, back, and spinal injuries.

When the neck muscles and tendons are stretched by a force beyond their natural range of motion, that person will very likely sustain a whiplash injury. Along with sprains and strains of the neck, the shoving or yanking force may sometimes result in severely misaligned cervical vertebrae. There are no “minor” head, neck, or spinal injuries. Chiropractic treatment, however, works to heal the physical damage “holistically” without using pharmaceuticals or surgeries.

Whiplash may cause a stiff back, a stiff neck, nausea and dizziness, severe migraines, shoulder aches, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and pain that radiates from the neck to the shoulders and arms. Anyone suspecting whiplash should be examined as soon as possible because whiplash does not simply disappear over time. Instead, whiplash symptoms usually get worse, and a whiplash injury can permanently restrict the motion of the neck without prompt and effective treatment. Some whiplash victims will recover swiftly and fully, but for others, the pain can persist for up to several years.

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Chiropractors heal – or they help the body to heal – whiplash and many of the other injuries linked to traffic collisions by adjusting misaligned vertebrae, by easing inflammation and swelling, and by improving circulation through manual procedures, spinal “decompression,” and physical therapy. Some chiropractors include acupuncture as a part of their practice, and most also make recommendations regarding diet and dietary supplements.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A FIRST CHIROPRACTIC VISIT?

Someone’s first chiropractic visit typically includes both a physical exam and a medical history. A patient should explain the accident and describe the resulting injury to the chiropractor as exactly and as specifically as possible. Patients will be asked if they have any underlying or recurring medical condition, about their family’s medical history, and about their diet, any previous medical treatments, and any current medical conditions or prescriptions.

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During a first examination, a chiropractor will check the spine’s alignment and will also look for any signs of inflammation. The neck’s ability to move freely and painlessly may also be tested and assessed. Lab tests may be ordered to eliminate infection as a factor or to uncover medical problems that may require a non-chiropractic treatment. Most chiropractors will also order x-rays during someone’s first chiropractic visit.

The amount of time required for chiropractic treatment after someone is injured in a traffic collision depends entirely on the nature and the extent of the injury and any recurring illnesses or underlying medical conditions. A healthy person’s injury in a traffic accident, generally speaking, will heal quicker than a similar injury suffered by a person with an existing medical condition. Some patients may need as much as two years of chiropractic therapy. Others can complete chiropractic treatment in as little as a month or less.

Insurance companies may or may not cover chiropractic therapy. To guarantee that an accident victim is treated fairly after a traffic crash in the state of Colorado, for example, an injury victim should make no statement whatsoever to an insurance company prior to consulting with an experienced Denver personal injury attorney. Chiropractic treatment is still viewed suspiciously by some insurance companies, but an accident victim’s priority after being injured in a traffic collision must be to seek and obtain, as quickly as possible, the treatment and care that will be most effective.

Many Uber And Lyft Drivers Are Underinsured, But Not In The State Of Colorado

Posted on: April 19, 2016 by in Personal Injury
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The rideshare industry has expanded rapidly, not only in Colorado but also across the nation and the entire world. Uber, for example, was founded only seven years ago and last year, Uber executives estimated that their drivers serve two million customers every day. In the U.S., the industry’s expansion has been so swift that lawmakers, insurance companies, and drivers are all struggling to catch up. However, a new study has found that many rideshare drivers may not have enough auto insurance coverage or understand the risks involved with transporting passengers commercially. This raises concerns both for the drivers and the passengers who use ridesharing services.

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Ridesharing insurance is complicated, and right now, it’s constantly changing. A rideshare driver who relies on his or her personal insurance may not have enough coverage. Many personal policies don’t cover vehicles that carry passengers for money, and insurers may cancel a driver’s policy if he or she is involved in an accident while driving for Lyft or Uber. This is especially the case if the driver has not told the insurance company that the car is being used for ridesharing.

Most passengers will be covered in accidents, but they should understand that there may be insurance gaps. Both Uber and Lyft offer $1 million in coverage when passengers are in a rideshare vehicle. In the most serious accidents, where injuries are severe or permanent with damages exceeding $1 million, things quickly get more complicated. Injured passengers in Denver, for example, could file a personal injury claim against the driver’s personal auto insurance with the help of a Denver personal injury attorney, or they could file an injury lawsuit against the rideshare company itself.

HOW MANY RIDESHARE DRIVERS LACK FULL COVERAGE?

SherpaShare is an app used by about 50,000 rideshare drivers to help them track their mileage, earnings, and expenses. To determine how many rideshare drivers are paying for additional insurance coverage, NerdWallet conducted a survey in January and February through the SherpaShare app and blog site. The survey of 1,022 SherpaShare users found that the majority of rideshare drivers are, at least part of the time, underinsured. Specifically, the survey tells us that:

  • Most rideshare drivers don’t have additional insurance coverage. 77 percent of those responding to the survey said they have no additional rideshare insurance coverage beyond what their company provides.
  • Of the drivers who lack additional coverage, 32 percent said cost is the reason.
  • Some rideshare drivers underestimate their risks. Of those drivers without additional coverage, 31 percent are “comfortable” with the coverage that the rideshare company offers, but 4 percent admit that they don’t fully understand what coverage they need.
  • Of the rideshare drivers who have additional insurance coverage, 43 percent said they purchased it to be compliant with the law.
  • 40 percent of the rideshare drivers without extra insurance coverage said they intend to purchase it within three months.

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Rideshare insurance varies depending on whether there’s a passenger in the vehicle or if the driver is between calls. Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage called “Period 3” coverage when passengers are in the vehicle. On the other hand, when a driver is heading to a call, drivers are covered by “Period 2” insurance. However, both companies provide only limited “Period 1” coverage when drivers are logged in and waiting for a call. Without additional coverage, rideshare drivers are at risk if they are in an accident while awaiting a call.

WHAT COVERAGE DO RIDESHARE COMPANIES PROVIDE?

Lyft and Uber offer at least $1 million per accident in liability, uninsured, and underinsured motorist coverage during Period 2 and Period 3. Both companies provide limited collision and comprehensive coverage only to drivers who already have this personal coverage. But when drivers are waiting for a fare, in Period 1, their coverage is provided only by the personal or commercial coverage they’ve purchased. Rideshare company policies only cover liability or damages not covered by the driver’s own insurance.

Period 1 liability limits are $50,000 per person for injuries with a maximum of $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage for each accident and there is no coverage for damage to the rideshare vehicle. Of the NerdWallet/SherpaShare survey respondents who do not have additional insurance, 31 percent say they’re “comfortable” with the coverage their employers provide. However, these drivers may not fully understand what they’re risking.

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Not all auto insurance companies cover rideshare drivers and vehicles, and companies that do make those policies available may offer them only in some states. However, policies for rideshare drivers are now becoming increasingly available and are well worth the cost. Conceivably, a rideshare driver could pay as little as $20 a month for Period 1 coverage along with an existing personal policy. Commercial policies cost more, but some insurers are now making that coverage more affordable, specifically for rideshare drivers.

WHAT IS COLORADO’S LAW REGARDING RIDESHARE INSURANCE?

In 2015, lawmakers in Colorado approved new auto insurance requirements for rideshare drivers licensed in the state. The law offers three options to rideshare drivers for primary insurance coverage during Period 1:

  1. a personal policy that specifically recognizes the vehicle is being used for ridesharing
  2. full-time commercial insurance similar to a limousine insurance policy
  3. primary liability insurance provided by the rideshare company

In Colorado, Uber provides its drivers with primary insurance for Period 1 (Option 3). This coverage makes Uber drivers compliant with the law, but the company nevertheless recommends that its drivers review and consider all of their insurance options to determine what is best for each individual driver. Of course, merely having an insurance policy doesn’t guarantee that a claim will be paid if a driver or passenger is injured. Any parties injured in a traffic accident involving a ridesharing service in Boulder or Denver, for example, may want to consult with a knowledgeable Boulder or Denver personal injury attorney.

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Colorado isn’t the only state responding to the insurance “coverage gap” created by rideshare services. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America reports that as 2016 began, 29 states had adopted laws to close rideshare insurance coverage gaps. In response to these new laws, Uber and Lyft have increased their insurance coverage amounts in some jurisdictions, and a number of auto insurance companies have created new insurance offerings and policies to meet the needs of rideshare drivers and passengers.

Rideshare passengers and drivers should both understand their risks as well as their rights when working for or using ridesharing services. Ridesharing can be smart and convenient, but like almost everything in life, there are risks involved and the first step in reducing our risks is understanding them. As the risks associated with ridesharing are understood – and reduced – the innovative rideshare industry will no doubt continue to expand even more in the future.

Infographic – 7 Off The Wall Personal Injury Claims

Posted on: March 12, 2016 by in Personal Injury
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Personal injury law is a tricky subject and the evolution of this field over the years goes on to prove this fact. In the past years, some seemingly odd individual damage requests, like Mr. Liebeck who sued McDonald’s in 1994 for selling hot coffee and got $2.7 Million, have been awarded compensation settlements by US courts. On the other hand, some cases that seemed much stronger on the surface were dismissed outright. Then of course there are other claims that-for one reason or the other- just couldn’t cut it. This infographic explores 7 of the most notable individual damage claims throughout American history and their outcomes as well.

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Who Suffers From Intoxicated Driving?

Posted on: March 10, 2016 by in Personal Injury
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In all fifty states, the injured victims of drunk drivers have the legal right to sue for their medical expenses, lost wages, and for their other injury-related losses. When those victims can prove – with the help of their attorneys – that they were injured because of a drunk driver’s negligence, they are entitled under the law to full compensation. Seek medical treatment first if you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, and then arrange to discuss your legal rights and options right away with a good personal injury lawyer, and in the greater Denver area, promptly contact an experienced Denver personal injury attorney.

Precisely what kind of mayhem do drunk drivers cause? Impaired drivers in the United States kill about 10,000 innocent people and injure more than a quarter-of-a-million of us every year. The total economic losses linked to alcohol-related vehicle crashes cost this nation more than $50 billion annually. Yes, the criminal justice system tries in its way to make drunk drivers accountable for their behavior. The criminal courts hand down fines, jail and prison terms, license suspensions, and a number of other penalties, but candidly, no amount of fines or incarceration can make up for the damage, death, and destruction that drunk drivers cause every day on our streets and highways in the state of Colorado and across the United States.

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WHO SUFFERS THE MOST?

Who genuinely suffers the most because of drunk driving? Everywhere, it’s the victims of drunk drivers – other motorists, their passengers, and innocent pedestrians and bystanders. Anyone who shares the street is at risk. If you do manage to live through a vehicle collision with an intoxicated driver, you could survive with a serious brain injury, a spinal cord injury, an amputation, disfigurement, or a permanent disability. The right medical care and rehabilitation for those kinds of catastrophic injuries can cost a million or more dollars over a lifetime. Where can you turn for experienced help if you’re injured and you require that kind of compensation?

After a vehicle collision, if you are injured by an intoxicated driver, you’ll need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate the facts in your case, advise you candidly regarding your options, and fight aggressively for your legal rights and for the reimbursement you deserve. You must act promptly after a collision, however. Witnesses swiftly forget the details of a vehicle accident, and pertinent evidence should be gathered and examined as quickly as possible, so you must retain legal counsel at once.

In every state, the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim after an accident is restricted by a statute of limitations, so if you do not take action right away, you could be waiving your legal right to file an injury claim later. After being injured in a Colorado traffic crash, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, the two-year clock starts ticking at the moment you are injured or from the “discovery date” of the injury. Do not wait two years – you need to act right away and to consult quickly with a good personal injury attorney if you have been injured by an impaired driver.

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WHAT MUST YOU PROVE TO PREVAIL?

If the driver who injures you fails a sobriety test or is convicted in a criminal court of driving under the influence, that is important evidence that can help you to prove your personal injury claim, but you only need to prove that the other driver was negligent. You should understand, however, that even if you win a personal injury lawsuit, no matter how much compensation you are awarded, if you’ve been seriously injured, you may still be the one who pays the higher price in the long run for drunk driving.

Even science is now suggesting that the injuries sustained by drunk drivers are often less severe than the injuries drunk drivers themselves inflict on others in serious traffic accidents. University of Illinois at Chicago researchers recently determined that a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) level seems to increase a trauma victim’s chances of survival in a crash. In other words, the more intoxicated a driver is, overall and statistically, the more likely he or she is to survive a serious traffic collision and to avoid a serious injury. “After an injury, if you are intoxicated there seems to be a pretty substantial protective effect,” according to Lee Friedman, the author of the study and an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at UIC. At the highest levels of intoxication, mortality rates were cut by almost fifty percent, Friedman said.

A drunk driver can radically, tragically, and permanently change a lot of lives in just one moment, and there is no way that the stiffest fine or even a lengthy jail term can begin to pay for some of the damages. For example, outpatient therapy for a traumatic brain injury can cost as much as $1,000 a day, and brain injury rehab in a hospital setting can set you back by as much as $50,000 a week. And that’s only considering the physical injuries. Other kinds of injuries, as you might guess, can be much harder to heal.

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WHAT ARE THE EMOTIONAL CONSEQUENCES?

The innocent victims of drunk drivers face genuinely tough emotional and psychological trials. Many grapple on a daily basis with feelings of bleakness, futility, fear, and isolation. If you are healthy and active, imagine that unexpectedly and suddenly you find yourself permanently disabled. It can’t be an easy adjustment for anyone to make. Jobs are sometimes lost. Marriages are sometimes dissolved. Yes, drunk drivers are arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced for their crimes in all fifty states, and virtually every law officer and lawmaker in the nation will tell you insistently that DUI enforcement is a top priority. Still, in the long view, it is the victims and their families who endure the ultimate cost of drunk driving.

When a traffic collision occurs, immediately seek medical attention for yourself and for any others who are hurt. That is the number one priority, and for a number of reasons, it is absolutely imperative for you to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible after an accident – and thus to protect yourself both legally and medically even if you do not “feel” like you have been injured. Adrenaline masks some injuries – other injuries are difficult or impossible to detect immediately. You also need to call the police. You need to obtain the other driver’s name, license plate number, driver’s license number, contact information for that driver, and his or her complete insurance information. If that driver cannot assist you – because of an injury or intoxication or both – ask the police to help you obtain the details you need, and don’t forget to make certain that a copy of the accident report will be made available to you.

Take pictures. Take plenty of pictures. If you are injured in a vehicle collision with an impaired driver, take abundant photographs, or if you are unable to, ask someone to take photographs of the crash site, the vehicle damage, and your injuries. Take as many pictures as you can, and bring those pictures with you when you first consult with your personal injury attorney. Keep all of your doctor’s appointments, and be certain that you continue to obtain the ongoing medical treatment you need after you have been injured. Make and keep copies of the paperwork – the test results, the hospital bills, the police report, and any other documents, receipts, or papers that might be even remotely related to the accident or injury.

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HOW WILL A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER HELP?

Do not accept a quick settlement offer from the insurance company. Speak to a good personal injury attorney first before you agree to sign any insurance forms or documents or make any statements regarding your accident or injury. In fact, do not even speak with the insurance company – that is your attorney’s job, and your attorney should be a sharp negotiator – and absolutely do not settle with an insurance company unless your lawyer first agrees that it is the right choice. Some insurance companies will aggressively try to coax personal injury victims into settling for a figure much lower than a personal injury claim is actually worth.

Clearly, no pile of cash can ever be sufficient to compensate the victims for the havoc, the injuries, and the thousands of lives destroyed by drunk drivers. Still, with an experienced personal injury attorney working on your behalf after an injury, you and your family may be able to move forward positively and confidently in the years ahead. If an intoxicated drive injures you or someone you love, you have rights, options, and good legal alternatives. A personal injury lawsuit is one of those options. Arrange to speak with a good personal injury lawyer as quickly as you can if you have been injured by a drunk driver, and in or near the greater Denver area, consult with an experienced Denver personal injury attorney without delay after you have been injured. The legal help you need is here, but you must act first and make the call.

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