What Happens When You

What Happens When You Are in a Car Accident in Another State?

As you travel through other states for a vacation or business, you may be involved in an out-of-state traffic accident. Here, we will look at how the processes may differ because you are located in a different state. Remember regardless where a crash occurs, you should immediately contact emergency responders if anyone is injured. The procedural and financial implications are secondary to the health and well-being of everyone. As long as you maintain auto insurance, you should be covered anywhere in the
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What is Your Car

What is Your Car Accident Claim Worth?

Colorado continues to experience a rising volume of vehicle accidents, many of which are quite severe. From 2014 to 2016, the Department of Transportation reported that there was a 24 percent increase in crash fatalities. When a crash is based on a party’s negligence and there are injuries and/or significant property damage, grounds may exist for a claim of personal injury. In a personal injury action the plaintiff seeks to recover financial compensation to be “made whole” through a settlement
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What does Marijuana Mean

What does Marijuana Mean for Risk and Liability?

Drivers in fatal crashes are increasingly testing positive for marijuana in Colorado, with a rise from 627 to 880 fatal accidents between 2013 and 2016. In 2013, roughly 10% of drivers in fatal crashes tested positive, but in 2016 this number doubled to approximately 20%. One important thing to remember is that with the recent changes to marijuana laws, the frequency of testing for marijuana is higher now than in years past. Business Risk & Liability Marijuana usage can have ramifications
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Risk and Insurance: What

Risk and Insurance: What does Marijuana Mean for Personal Injury and Car Accident Claims? – Part 1

This blog is the first of two parts, which will discuss marijuana usage’s influence on car accidents and personal injury claims. A recent online Harris Poll surveyed over 2,000 individuals in the U.S. and revealed that over 98% of Americans felt that using social media and sending or receiving text messages while driving was dangerous, yet only 91% felt driving under the influence of marijuana was. Only 40% of respondents believed that marijuana usage was actually causing vehicle accidents. Several studies were
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Wrongful Death Lawsuit in

Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Colorado Springs

A claim of wrongful death has been filed against the former leader of the El Paso County Republican Party regarding a 2017 vehicle accident that resulted in the death of a pedestrian and spurred some local controversy. The claim was filed in the Fourth Judicial District Court alleging that Trevor Dierdorff demonstrated negligence when he struck Mel Tolbert, the long-time owner of Platte Floral, while he was crossing a street in downtown Colorado Springs. The police had originally issued a traffic citation
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What You Need to

What You Need to Know from the Airth v. Zurich American Insurance Company Ruling

In Airth v. Zurich American Insurance Company, the Colorado Court of Appeals, Division II, was tasked with determining if the summary judgment ruling in the defendant’s favor was appropriate. Rickey Airth, the Plaintiff-Appellant, was injured in a vehicle accident when operating a tractor-trailer owned by the company he worked for—Solar Transport. The accident was the fault of an uninsured motorist. Solar Transport had an uninsured motorist policy in place at the time for $50,000 through Zurich American Insurance Company (“Zurich”), the
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What Do I Do

What Do I Do if the At-Fault Party is Under-or Uninsured?

The Insurance Research Council tracks uninsured motorist claims filed with auto insurance companies. Their recent data suggests that approximately 16.2% of Colorado motorists are uninsured, which is higher than the national average of 12.6%. The state does require that all motorists have vehicle liability insurance of certain minimum levels. Residents are required to present documentation showing insurance coverage for vehicle registration and may impose penalties for driving without coverage. For reasons unknown, the state ranks in the top-ten in this
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Am I the Victim

Am I the Victim of a Car Crash Scam?

Here, we look at accidents that are part of scams orchestrated by criminals. Most citizens are honest and hardworking members of society; however, there is a criminal element that seeks to take advantage of aspects of accidents and insurance. Actions classified as fraud, such as the auto accident scams we will discuss, are among the most common financially-based crimes in the country. Organized Criminal Activity Certain regions of the United States have particularly high rates of such activity. In Colorado
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What Do You Do

What Do You Do if Involved in a Serious or Fatal Car Accident?

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates there are more than 6 million passenger car accidents and another 4 million light truck accidents annually. In light of these statistics, drivers seem to have a false sense of security on the road today: vehicles are increasingly comfortable with many enhanced safety features, offering a feeling of safety. The reality is that each day accidents lead to property damage, injuries, and fatalities. Being prepared with the knowledge of how to proceed after
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What are the Side

What are the Side Affects of a Traumatic Car Accident?

This is the first of a four-part series titled Nightmare Scenario Car Accidents discussing the often traumatic implications of automobile accidents. According to Merriam Webster, the term traumatic is used to describe a disorderly mental or behavioral state that is caused by severe stress or physical injury. In terms of a car accident, the events of an accident could be shocking and result in severe physical harm or death. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates there were
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What Vehicle Safety Features

What Vehicle Safety Features Add the Most Bang for the Buck?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that nationwide there were 37,461 fatalities in motor vehicle accidents in 2016. The yearly cost associated with auto accidents is now estimated to be in excess of $240 billion. When considering these statistics, it should come as no surprise that there is a strong demand for new vehicle safety technology. Meanwhile, the automobile industry continues to progress toward autonomous (self-driving) vehicles and many new “smart” technologies have been implemented for safety purposes. Those
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Do I Really Need

Do I Really Need an Attorney for My Car Accident Claim?

In 2016, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) data indicated that there were 608 traffic fatalities in the state, an 11% increase. This trend continued in 2017 with another rise in roadway deaths and thousands of people who suffered injuries of varying types. Despite widespread awareness in the community about vehicle accident safety, problems such as impaired driving, speeding, and distracted driving have continued to make Colorado roads a dangerous place. How do you know if you need an attorney
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What Medical Evidence Do

What Medical Evidence Do You Need in an Accident Claim?

After being involved in a significant motor vehicle accident, it is critical to be examined by a doctor in a timely fashion, even if you feel that your injuries are minor or nonexistent. The following are some things to keep in mind if you have been injured in an accident. If your injury is apparent, take photos following the accident. You should always follow any treatment plan provided for you, failing to do so may hinder your ability to obtain
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What is an Accident

What is an Accident Reconstruction Report?

In certain situations, such as multi-vehicle accidents or when fault is strongly being challenged, your personal injury attorney may deem that using vehicular accident reconstruction will benefit your case. Deciding to retain an individual or firm that focuses on this type of specialized work is important, in part because the cost of doing so may be significant. What is Accident Reconstruction? The process of accident reconstruction seeks to determine how and why a car accident transpired using various technical methods.
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How Can Photographs Help

How Can Photographs Help Your Claim?

Photos are impactful as evidence in car accident claims because they can offer illustrative details of the scene of the accident, vehicle damage and injuries that may have been incurred. The majority of U.S. residents have a mobile phone of some kind equipped with a camera. Over 77% of residents have a smartphone equipped with cameras and video capabilities. This technology that we all almost possess can come in handy if you are in an accident and want to memorialize by photo
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How Important is a

How Important is a Police Report in an Accident Claim?

Anytime a vehicle is involved in a collision with another vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian that leads to injuries or property damage, law enforcement should be contacted. The police will respond to assess, document, and clear the scene of the accident. One critical function of these responders is the completion of an accident report. The report is typically filed and available within a day or two after the incident for little or no cost. Accident Alert Exception There are rare instances
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What Evidence Do You

What Evidence Do You Need to Prove Your Car Accident & Personal Injury Claim? Part I

This is the first of a six-part series titled Evidence & Proving Your Car Accident Personal Injury Case. There were slightly over 600 traffic fatalities in Colorado in 2016 and 2017 and many more injuries, and the state’s population continues to grow, bringing additional motorists to the already-congested roadways. Most of these auto accidents involved negligence, and many times acts of negligence result in personal injury claims or lawsuits. Personal injury claims are civil matters that require plaintiffs to prove
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Colorado Ski Resort Towns

Colorado Ski Resort Towns Have Highest Rates in DUI Arrests

Arrests for driving under the influence in Colorado’s ski resort towns continue to persist, placing many unsuspecting drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians in potential danger. Greg Daly, the Avon Police Chief, says that many of those visiting the Central Rockies resorts are simply there to “party.” The 5th Judicial District, which includes Clear Creek, Lake, Eagle and Summit counties, leads the state for drunken driving arrests with a ratio 8.8 per every 1,000 residents. The 9th Judicial District, which includes Garfield,
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Tractor-Trailer Hits Fire Truck

Tractor-Trailer Hits Fire Truck

Often firefighters face dangerous situations long before actually encountering a blaze. A wreck involving a fire truck occurred recently on I-76 just east of Keenesburg. The engine of the Southeast Weld Fire Protection District was hit by a tractor-trailer sending four firefighters to the Platte Valley Medical Center Hospital in Brighton, CO. Fortunately, the truck was not hauling a trailer at the time of the accident. The department’s Chief Tom Beach informed Denver7 that the injuries ranged from those needing
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Colorado Roadway Deaths Increased

Colorado Roadway Deaths Increased from 2016 to 2017

We are currently awaiting the 2017 finalized roadway accident data for Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), we know there was an increase in the number of fatalities compared to the 615 in 2016. Early indications suggest a rise in crashes resulting from impaired driving and among those who were not wearing a seatbelt. Sam Cole, a CDOT spokesman, explained — although the numbers suggest that all was bad — there were some positive results this year,
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Common Bone Injuries in

Common Bone Injuries in Auto Accidents

Over one-million individuals are admitted to hospitals annually for severe injuries incurred in traffic accidents. In 2012, vehicle accidents resulted in $18 billion in overall lifetime costs of medical care. Among the many injuries, a broken bone, also known as a fracture, is one of the most common. Broken bones can greatly hinder mobility, overall range of motion, and be associated with paralysis. Here, we will look at the common bone injuries which occur in accidents and the potential long-term consequences. Common
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What are the Costs

What are the Costs Associated with Distracted Driving?

A recent study by LifeSaver suggests as many agents report that closer to 60% of insurance claims actually are related to distracted driving. Bill Caldwell, Executive Vice President at Horace Mann Insurance, thinks that the root problem is the plethora of smartphone applications that are now available. Other examples of distracted driving include those who are eating, making climate control adjustments, and tending to child passengers–which could be a bigger problem than cell phone use. Here, we will look at some of
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Are Children a Bigger

Are Children a Bigger Driving Distraction than Cell Phones?

A great deal of emphasis regarding distracted driving is placed on the usage of mobile devices, eating, applying makeup and other activities. But have you considered the distractions that may occur when driving with children? Staying focused on the road is critical when turning, braking, merging, and changing lanes. Roughly 80% of accidents and 65% of “close calls” involve a driver who is distracted in some way. A recent report by the Monash University Accident Research Center explained how parents are operating
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Distracted Driving & Teens:

Distracted Driving & Teens: What New Drivers Need to Be Aware of

How do distractions further impact those who have recently begun driving a motor vehicle, such as teens? Learning to do something new generally takes some time; such is the case with riding a bicycle or learning a sport. When learning to drive a vehicle, the process has potentially more dangerous consequences because we share the roads with one another. Teenagers who are getting behind the wheel for the first time are obviously more prone to mistakes leading to car accidents
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How Using Electronics Can

How Using Electronics Can Impact Your Driving

Studies continue to surface explaining the problem with driving while conducting phone calls and using text messaging. The risk of a crash increases roughly 3.6 times when drivers use mobile devices. Across the U.S. there are over 320 million wireless internet connections. A recent report indicates that as many as 9% of drivers may be simultaneously using mobile devices while driving on any given day. A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study revealed that over 60% of drivers claim to have
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How Will Injury Claims

How Will Injury Claims Change with Technology in the Future?

This is the final of a three-part series titled Personal Injury & Digital Technology: Where We Are & Where We Want to Be that looks at how digital technology impacts personal injury actions. Digital technology usage will rise in the coming years. The volume of digital data is approximately 10 zettabytes and will reach 40 zettabytes by 2020. Jobs in tech-driven areas will see significant growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that massive occupational opportunities will be in STEM–science, technology, engineering,
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How Has the Claims

How Has the Claims Process Changed Over the Years?

This is the second of the series titled Proving Personal Injury & Digital Technology: Where We Are & Where We Want to Be, which looks at how digital technology is influencing personal injury litigation. Law practitioners are generally not on the “cutting edge” of technology for several reasons. Some reasons include how the legal profession tends to minimize risk potential, the sensitive and confidential nature of the information involved in their work, and that legal practice involves significant interaction and compliance with governmental
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What Did Injury Claims

What Did Injury Claims Look Like Without Digital Technology?

This is the first segment of a three-part series titled Personal Injury & Digital Technology: Where We Are & Where We Want to Be that analyzes how digital technology is impacting personal injury actions. Recent data from the Pew Research Center indicates that roughly 95% of Americans currently own a mobile (cell) phone and 77% of those are smartphones. Approximately 80% of adults in the U.S. own either a desktop or laptop computer. We have seen technology transition virtually all aspects of our culture,
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What to Do After

What to Do After You Have Been in a Car Accident

During 2015, Colorado had approximately 3,217 traffic accidents that resulted in severe injuries and 547 with fatalities. Unfortunately, in 2016 the volume of fatal accidents rose by roughly 10% to 608. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that over $100 million is spent just in medical costs resulting from accident injuries and fatalities in Colorado. State agencies including the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol are currently
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Recent CO Crash is

Recent CO Crash is a Reminder of the Importance of Wearing a Seatbelt

Alcohol and speeding are believed to have played a role in a fatal accident in El Paso County. Charles Limbrick, a 44-year-old from Ramah, was killed in the crash along Highway 24. The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) said he was not wearing a safety belt when his truck left the roadway and flipped, leading to his death at the scene. Individuals from Woodmen Valley Chapel claimed he had been an active member of their spiritual community and he leaves behind his wife
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Three Pedestrian Holiday Accident

Three Pedestrian Holiday Accident in Denver Highlights Pedestrian Traffic Safety Concerns

Over Thanksgiving an accident occurred in Denver’s 16th Street Mall area. At approximately 2:30 p.m., a driver was exiting a parking garage area and passed through a gate and struck three pedestrians. John White, on behalf of the Denver Police Department, said there was no drug or alcohol usage involved. Investigators said that the injuries incurred were not life-threatening. The 16th Street Mall district is an extremely popular area that offers free shuttle bus rides, has horse-drawn carriages and pedi-cabs. There are
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6 Safety Tips for

6 Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating

In decorating your home for the holidays all of the fun can lead to simply losing focus on at-home safety concerns. In the last two months of last year, almost 14,000 individuals arrived at hospitals that resulted from decoration-related accident injuries. The nature of the injuries varied from situations of slip-and-fall, severe cuts, burns and a host of others. The leading advocate in the U.S. for prevention of these incidents has long been the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 1. Candles Candles
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7 Safety Tips for

7 Safety Tips for Home Fire Prevention this Holiday Season

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission ranks fire as the second most common cause of in-home accident fatalities. Fires in homes are attributed to approximately 4,000 deaths annually, over 500,000 fires are responded to by fire departments, and yearly property damages exceed $4 billion. The Denver Fire Department considers the year-end holiday period one that usually has a notable rise in the number of house fires. They wish to remind residents to be extremely careful when lighting candles, to inspect electrical cords
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6 Safety Tips for

6 Safety Tips for Driving During this Holiday Season

On average, 343 traffic fatalities occur in the U.S. during the three-day Christmas holiday. This average increases to roughly 373 over the three-day New Year holiday time. The vast majority of these deaths are preventable. An estimated 94% of traffic accidents are the result of human-based behavior. In the U.S. in 2016, over 37,000 people were fatally injured. In Colorado specifically, the death toll was 605 and included 125 operating motorcycles, 16 on bicycles and 84 pedestrians. 1. Seat Belts &
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Thanksgiving Accidents and Hazards

Thanksgiving Accidents and Hazards in the Home

This is the final segment of a series titled Personal Injuries & Thanksgiving, which identifies major safety concerns during this holiday period. Here, we will discuss potential dangers that may exist at home during Thanksgiving and also view Colorado’s premises liability laws from the homeowner’s standpoint for liability and elaborate on the “visitor status” classifications in the law. Homeowner Liability Colorado’s Premises Liability Act defined the statutory duty landowners have to care for those on their property. The legislative intent in
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Accidents While Holiday Shopping

Accidents While Holiday Shopping & What You Should Know

This is the third of a four-part series of articles discussing the many dangers that can lead to injuries, fatalities and property damage during the Thanksgiving holiday time. It has been well established that the U.S. mortality rate rises around Thanksgiving and remains heightened throughout the winter months. Much of this is based on the seasonal changes including colder weather and the impact of the flu; however, car accidents and coronary health problems, such as heart attacks, are also much
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Increase of Auto Accidents

Increase of Auto Accidents During Thanksgiving Holiday

This is the second of a four-part series titled Personal Injuries & Thanksgiving, which seeks to identify major safety concerns associated with this holiday period. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has tracked data regarding traffic fatalities on major holidays for over 30 years. They found that roughly 91% of those in the U.S. will travel by car on Thanksgiving and twice as many travelers go 50 miles or more, considerably more than on Christmas or New Year’s Day. In
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Thanksgiving is the Most

Thanksgiving is the Most Dangerous Holiday of All

This is the first of a four-part series titled Personal Injuries & Thanksgiving, where we look at the continued disturbing trend of car accidents, injuries and fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday. This time is considered to be the beginning of the “holiday season,” and data indicates it is among the most dangerous time of year. According to AAA, 50.9 million people will travel a distance of over 50 miles this year, at least a 3% increase over the prior year. They
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What Does a Lawsuit

What Does a Lawsuit in a Car Accident Claim Look Like?

This is the final of a three-part series entitled Car Accidents, Personal Injuries & the Insurance Carrier. In the earlier parts we reviewed the difference between first-party claims and third-party claims for damages and then outlined the general claims process. Here, we look at the process of a lawsuit in cases based on automobile accidents. Unfortunately, accidents and their subsequent civil actions are a reality in the U.S and severe accidents here in Colorado continue to rise. The National Safety Council reports that
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What is the Auto

What is the Auto Insurance Claims Process?

This is the second of a three-part series entitled Car Accidents, Personal Injuries & the Insurance Carrier. Here, we will provide an overview of the claims process. We purchase auto insurance to provide financial coverage for losses and damages that may occur. A claim is filed with an insurer for compensation after a party sustains property damage and/or bodily injury. In the U.S., there are millions of auto insurance claims filed each year. In 2016, claims exceeded 6 million from crashes,
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What is the Difference

What is the Difference Between 1st and 3rd Party Auto Insurance Claims?

This is the first of a three-part series entitled Car Accidents, Personal Injuries & the Insurance Carrier. We will begin by looking at Colorado’s auto insurance system historically, as it has changed considerably in recent years. Next, we will assess current market conditions in the state and explain and differentiate first-party claims from third-party claims in the auto insurance system. In 2003, the state repealed the existing “no-fault” auto insurance system that was in place for 30 years. The Governor felt
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What if the Insurance

What if the Insurance Company Refuses to Pay?

Insurance is well established in our society as a way to limit risk and provide economic security. Both individuals and businesses use various insurance products for everything from cars, health, homes and more. The insurance industry is also among those most subjected to regulation. Each state assigns a department to be responsible for oversight of financial dealings involving insurance companies. States have drafted provisions that specify the standards that companies are to adhere to. According to the recent Colorado Division of
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Colorado Supreme Court Addresses

Colorado Supreme Court Addresses Physician/Patient Privilege

The Colorado Supreme Court recently heard arguments in the case of Bailey v. Hermacinski. This matter centers on “ex parte communications with doctors, undue influence and residually privileged information.” Ex parte communications in civil matters refers to the idea that a court may proceed with a motion without presenting the issue to, or obtaining a response from, the opposing party. The case resurrects the longstanding law regarding confidentiality between medical providers and their patients known as “physician/patient privilege.” This concept is similar to
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Smart Cars May Help

Smart Cars May Help in Roadkill Accident Prevention

Roadway crashes between vehicles and animals is a nationwide problem. State Farm Insurance data indicated that in 2014, Americans had 1.25 million collisions involving deer that led to an estimated $4 billion in damage, which doesn’t include dozens of other species of animals. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that approximately 200 fatalities occur from such accidents annually. Here in Colorado, the problem is evident, as in 2016 there were nearly 6,900 animal collisions reported. The Colorado Parks &
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Fatal Hit & Run

Fatal Hit & Run Vehicle Accidents Continue Along Colorado Roadways

Zachary Schlagel, an 18-year-old from Windsor was killed in an accident on Austin Bluffs Parkway at Stanton Road in Colorado Springs recently. The El Paso County Coroner says he died from injuries inflicted in the collision. Schlagel and two other pedestrians were crossing lanes when a truck crashed into them. Another pedestrian escaped with only minor injuries. Police identified the truck and driver, but he has not yet been apprehended. Since 2014, the volume of traffic deaths in Colorado has risen nearly
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Oct 2017 Mass Shooting

Oct 2017 Mass Shooting in Las Vegas: Event & Venue Liability

This is the second of our two-part discussion, Civil Lawsuits Following the October 2017 Mass Shooting in Las Vegas. First, we looked at the potential liability of those in the gun industry (i.e., manufacturers) when their products are used in horrific criminal acts. We next examine potential liabilities that the hotel, resort, casino, and promoter of the concert may face. Ten survivors filed a negligence suit against the hotel, resort, casino, and promoter in Los Angeles County, seeking to recover damages
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Oct 2017 Mass Shooting

Oct 2017 Mass Shooting in Las Vegas: Gun Industry Liability

This is the first of a two-part series concerning the recent mass shooting that left over 50 people dead and hundreds injured in Las Vegas when a gunman perched up in the hotel at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino opened fire on a massive concert event crowd below. The shooter is believed to have committed suicide moments after the assault. With the assassin now dead, who else may have potential civil liability associated with this tragedy? As with most of
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Studies Show Potential Correlation

Studies Show Potential Correlation Between Marijuana & Reductions in Opioid Deaths

New research by the American Journal of Public Health indicates that deaths associated with opioids have dropped in Colorado by 6%, just two years after recreational use of marijuana was legalized. This reduction in opioid-caused fatalities was the first of its kind in 14 years. Authors of the report did explain that their results thus far are still preliminary, as it is difficult to rely on data that merely spans a period of only two years. They feel that more research
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Who’s Responsible for Your

Who’s Responsible for Your Opioid Addiction? The Patient, the Doctor, or the Drug Companies?

The Center for Disease Control & Prevention stated that the U.S. had 33,091 deaths in 2015 related to opioids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines opioids as a class of drugs including prescription brands such as Percocet, Vicodin and Oxycontin, as well as synthetics including fentanyl, and the illegal drug heroin. In addition to relieving pain, these drugs are known to produce a “high” that creates their propensity for abuse. Colorado has unfortunately earned the second-ranking among states for highest rates
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Duty of Care Questioned

Duty of Care Questioned in Pedestrian Accident Claim in Colorado

Under Colorado law, plaintiffs must prove several things in claims of negligence. First, is that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff at the time. Once established, it must be determined this duty was breached. Lastly, a causal correlation existed between the defendant’s breach and the injuries incurred. Negligence may be demonstrated through an action, or a failure to take action, which leads to injury recoverable by the plaintiff. Whether a defendant owes a duty is a
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Vicarious Liability – Defective

Vicarious Liability – Defective Vehicle (Product Liability)

This is the fourth (final) part of our series involving vicarious liability. This legal concept potentially makes a vehicle owner liable for the negligent actions of another party, despite not being directly involved. We first looked at when a parent is liable for injuries caused by their child while driving, which involves the Family Car Doctrine. Next, we looked at employer liability for the negligence of their employees (respondeat superior) when operating in the scope of their employment. Lastly, we analyzed
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The Graves Amendment and

The Graves Amendment and Rental Car Liability

This is the third segment of a four-part series that addresses vicarious liability and vehicle accidents. Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that applies in situations where a party is potentially liable for the harm caused by negligent actions of another, even if the first party did not demonstrate the negligence themselves. It applies in relationships, such as a parent being liable for actions of their child, or, among other examples, an employer being liable for the actions of an
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Vicarious Liability – Company

Vicarious Liability – Company Car (Respondeat Superior)

This is the second part of a series discussing vicarious liability; in particular, how it relates to the relationship between employers and employees. The respondeat superior doctrine makes an employer responsible for torts caused by their employees or others considered agents while operating within the scope of duties of their employment. Essentially, the employee is acting on behalf of the employer when the employer has control, or a right to control the employee’s actions. Another consideration is whether the employee’s actions intended
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Vicarious Liability – Borrowing

Vicarious Liability – Borrowing a Car

Does my insurance cover someone who borrows my car? Whose insurance would pay a claim if the borrower was involved in an accident? These are some questions that will be covered in this four-part Vicarious Liability series. According to Jeanne Salvatore, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, usually when you lend someone your vehicle, your insurance will cover potential costs of an accident. She noted that the vehicle owner must have granted the borrower permission to use the vehicle–which may be granted verbally.
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Colorado Supreme Court to

Colorado Supreme Court to Decide on License Revocation Statute

The Colorado Supreme Court heard a case involving the admissibility of evidence used in a hearing regarding a driver’s license revocation. The case of Brian Rowland v. The Department of Motor Vehicles challenged the court to interpret the state’s statute. The question is whether the law requires that evidence provided from third-party sources outside of law enforcement must be in the form of an affidavit and sworn to under oath. Rowland was stopped by police who said he was crossing the yellow lane markers
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Arvada 7-Car Crash: Driver

Arvada 7-Car Crash: Driver Who Caused it Used Meth

Christopher Farr, a 43-year-old man from Arvada, was traveling in his Cadillac SUV on Ward Road when he crashed into a Ford F150 pickup causing a multi-car accident that took his life and the lives of three others. It was determined that Farr was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time. Jill McGranahan of the police department explained that it was determined he had 400 nanograms of the drug in his system. Farr, who would have potentially faced criminal charges, had
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3 Fatalities Following SUV

3 Fatalities Following SUV Collision With a Bear on I-70

The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) reported that an SUV hit a bear while traveling on I-70 near Rifle, Colorado that killed three people. After striking the bear, the SUV spun into the opposing lanes of the highway. There were seven people in the vehicle, four of which were taken to hospitals. The bear was killed in the collision and investigators do not suspect alcohol or speed contributed to the accident. This incident is a reminder of the danger along the roadways in
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How Does Failing to

How Does Failing to Yield Right of Way Increase Your Chance of Accident?

Drivers who fail to yield or observe laws relating to rights-of-way is a problem on the roads. Much of the reason why these violations occur is that drivers do not recall rules related to yielding. The traffic laws generally do not define who has the right-of-way, rather they explain who must yield based on a variety of possible circumstances. Data across all U.S. states show that failure to yield the right of way are a cause of accidents. The Colorado State Patrol
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Colorado Lane Laws

Colorado Lane Laws

Colorado has problems with traffic fatalities, with 545 in 2015, which represented a 10% rise over 488 in 2014. 2015 was also the all-time high for motorcycle fatalities within Colorado, with a total of 104. With 3.8 million estimated drivers in Colorado, the chances of a fatality are roughly 1 in 7,000. A recent study showed that lane violations are the cause in 8.4% of overall accidents, and yearly over 400 injuries or deaths typically occur. Colorado State Patrol (CSP) Trooper Paul
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Colorado DUI Accident Statistics

Colorado DUI Accident Statistics

Approximately one in every three traffic fatalities in the U.S. results from a driver who is under the influence. Recent figures indicate that over 10,000 fatalities and over 200,000 injuries occur annually from drunk driving. Throughout the U.S. we have seen considerable reforms, legislation, and enforcement efforts related to drunk driving over the past 30 years. All U.S. states have a uniform established threshold for determining when a vehicle operator is over the limit for alcohol at a blood-alcohol level
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Exceeding Safe and Legal

Exceeding Safe and Legal Speed in Colorado

The next causal factor addressed in this series is speed, which is a key risk factor in roadway accident injuries because it impacts the likelihood of a crash and generally increases the magnitude of the injuries resulting from crashes. Speed limits are established to maintain roadway safety; however, based on volatile conditions at a given time, there may be a need to recognize that a reduced speed is more suitable. Colorado statute explains that drivers must travel at a speed that
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Distracted Driving Statistics in

Distracted Driving Statistics in Colorado

Distracted driving occurs when vehicle operators are texting, tending to children, eating, or reading while driving. Reports suggest that although drivers are aware of the problem, they continue to allow distractions to jeopardize themselves and others on the road. Proving that a driver was distracted is more difficult than, for example, driving under the influence of alcohol, which can be determined with a breath test. In response to this problem, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper recently finalized legislation that increases the penalty
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Vehicle Accident Trends in

Vehicle Accident Trends in Colorado

Several common causes of roadway crashes, such as, inattentiveness, excessive speed, driving under the influence, lane violations, and failing to yield, cause approximately 70% of accident injuries or fatalities. The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) is the lone statewide agency responsible for enforcement of traffic laws. The CSP responds to about 30% of all car accidents in Colorado and investigates approximately 70% of those with a fatality. Properly identifying causal factors for crashes is critical in overall efforts to reduce injuries,
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Evolving Attitudes on Marijuana

Evolving Attitudes on Marijuana Usage in Impaired Driving Claims

This is the third and final segment of the series Impaired Driving Marijuana, which will discuss public awareness regarding the potential dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana. During the period when the marijuana industry was seeking legalization in Colorado, cannabis was often promoted as a safer option than alcohol. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) conducted a survey that indicated 72% of Colorado marijuana users felt it was safer to drive after using marijuana compared to alcohol. Roughly 50% of respondents
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Fatalities Related to Marijuana

Fatalities Related to Marijuana Impairment

Based on federal and state data beginning in 2013, drivers in fatal crashes are increasingly testing positive for marijuana. A recent Denver Post report analyzed information from coroners to determine the impact that marijuana legalization has had on roadway safety. Of the fatally injured drivers tested in 2016, roughly 10 had a concentration level at least five times the legal limit. The majority of surviving drivers that tested positive had levels indicating recent usage. Retail marijuana sales to adults started in 2014
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How Do You Test

How Do You Test for Marijuana Impairment?

Colorado legalized marijuana and those over 21 years of age may purchase it from retailers. In this segment, we discuss how the testing is handled to determine driver impairment. As with alcohol, Colorado has a measurable level (limit) in place, which is five nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—per milliliter of whole blood. In 2016, approximately 30% of traffic fatalities involved an impaired driver, which translated into 196 deaths. Roughly 17% of those arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence involved marijuana. Surprisingly, 55% of marijuana users
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Who is Responsible for

Who is Responsible for Victims of Road Rage?

This is the third segment of our Who is Responsible series that addresses major roadway safety concerns. We have all witnessed incidents involving “road rage” at some point. Angry or aggressive drivers are seen yelling, making gestures, or brake checking. Some incidents have gone much further, leading to property damage, injuries and even death. Reported instances are rising, according to the Colorado State Patrol (CSP). Captain Jeff Goodwin explains that some drivers are quite dangerous at times. We will look at current data
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Who is Responsible for

Who is Responsible for Victims of Hit-and-Run Accidents?

In this second segment of the Who is Responsible series, we discuss another major roadway safety concern in Colorado. Hit-and-run accidents are a disturbing trend where motorists involved in collisions choose to immediately flee the scene. We will look at recent local examples, review data indicating the scope of the problem, insurance considerations, potential civil and criminal liability, and laws and actions being taken. Recent Denver Incidents Police in Denver are searching for a driver who collided with a pedestrian at 20th and Blake.
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Who is Responsible for

Who is Responsible for Victims in Police Car Chases?

This is the first of several Who is Responsible articles about circumstances that contribute to accidents, injuries & deaths on Colorado roadways. The first involves instances when law enforcement vehicles chase (pursue) other vehicles. Although popular in movies, these situations are a very dangerous reality. We will review a recent Colorado Springs incident, discuss Supreme Court opinion, address police pursuit policy development, and analyze policies at several enforcement agencies here in Colorado. Five individuals in Colorado Springs remained in the hospital after
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Truck Driver Alleges He

Truck Driver Alleges He Was Terminated for Refusing to Text While Driving

Over the last few years, new laws regarding distracted driving have been added all across the nation as many Americans are simply using their mobile devices constantly. A 2016 California-based survey indicated that 44% of people feel that texting while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Over 50% of respondents stated that they had been involved in a collision, or nearly in a crash because another driver was using a mobile device. In fact, the problem is so worrisome
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Accident-Prone Interstate 25 Puts

Accident-Prone Interstate 25 Puts Spotlight on New CDOT Safety Campaign

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is working hard on efforts to improve I-25. Between 2011 and 2015, there were 5,537 collisions along I-25 between Colorado Springs and C-470. In particular, there is an 18-mile stretch from Monument to C-470 that has been especially known for accidents. CDOT has launched their latest program titled “Mind the Gap”, which specifically focuses on this stretch of highway. The car accidents are largely either rear-end or sideswipe collisions among vehicles moving in the same direction, as well
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Safer Roads Through Technology

Safer Roads Through Technology & Innovation

There is little doubt that Colorado needs to remain focused on roadway safety after having 605 fatalities in 2016. The problem is not limited to passenger vehicles, as there were 125 fatalities among motorcyclists, 94 among pedestrians and 16 among bicyclists. These numbers represent over a 10% jump from the previous year, and the problem has received attention by the Colorado Department of Transportation, the State Highway Patrol and other such agencies. We are still a few years away from truly beginning
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Safer Roads Through Vehicle-to-Infrastructure

Safer Roads Through Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Communication

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), through the RoadX program, is working on several initiatives involving new technology and innovative strategies to make our roadways safer. The Smart 70 program will test Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications along I-70 including higher-risk, mountainous segments. V2I communication allows infrastructure along our roadways to exchange important information. Another term commonly used in describing this concept is Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Some examples of infrastructure include traffic signals, strategically placed sensors, and overhead message signs. The benefits of this connected
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Safer Roads Through Vehicle-to-Vehicle

Safer Roads Through Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication

Colorado is moving forward to determine the feasibility and benefits of using a new technology called vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is continuing their RoadX program and has an exciting pilot program upcoming in conjunction with a company known as HERE. HERE specializes in mapping technology and real-time data analytics to evaluate vehicle-to-vehicle communications. The venue for the pilot will be I-70, which extends across the state and passes through dangerous mountain regions that receive significant snowfall. The channel
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Colorado Laws and Regulations

Colorado Laws and Regulations for Driverless Cars

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed legislation recently allowing for controlled testing of autonomous vehicles as long as it can be done while adhering to the current roadway rules. Hickenlooper says he is seeking a way of maintaining regulations while not creating “red tape” that could hinder innovation. State Senator Owen Hills explained that the new policy is not intended to outline a detailed set of how smart cars should be operated, instead to simply make certain the testing is safely conducted. Much
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Four New Technologies for

Four New Technologies for Safer Roads Across Colorado

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 35,092 fatalities in vehicle accidents in 2015. This was a 7.2% increase over the prior year and the highest rise in the U.S. since 1966. Anthony Foxx, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, issued a need for action among data experts, safety specialists and others to determine the causes and create solutions. Here in Colorado, there were 546 such fatalities in 2015, representing a staggering 12% increase over the previous year. We do not
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Preventing Accidents in Colorado

Preventing Accidents in Colorado

In this five-part series, we have identified the leading contributing factors and causes of auto accidents including human contributions, weather, and road conditions. In this final segment of the series, we will focus on what is being done in Colorado to prevent accidents. The 2017 Integrated Safety Plan (ISP) published by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) outlines programs, initiatives, goals, and funding. It is truly an integrated plan that involves the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Highway
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How Do Road Conditions

How Do Road Conditions Contribute to Car Accidents?

This is the fourth of a five-part series that addresses the many factors that can result in traffic accidents and the injuries, fatalities, property damage and other societal harm associated with them. In Colorado, we enjoy all four seasons of the year and can be subjected to quickly changing the road conditions. Here we will seek to understand the different challenges that drivers encounter such as muddy, icy, or snowy conditions and identify the best practices for traveling safely. Colorado
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Weather Conditions As Contributing

Weather Conditions As Contributing Factors to Car Accidents

In the third part of the series, we look at another factor in vehicle accidents—weather conditions. Colorado’s geography and terrain allow for beauty and great recreational activities, yet many of the state’s roadways travel through mountainous regions that receive massive amounts of snow. Due to these changes in elevation, drivers face significant stretches of roadway with sharp inclines and abruptly changing weather conditions. During the winter, the possibility of ice on the roadways is extremely dangerous. Weather is obviously a
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Top 7 Human Factors

Top 7 Human Factors That Contribute to Car Accidents

This is the second of a five-part series that explores the many factors that contribute to traffic accidents and their often devastating consequences in the U.S., and chiefly in Colorado. The state’s Department of Transportation explains in their 2017 Integrated Safety Plan (ISP) and Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) that, in order to further progress toward the goal of “Zero Deaths” along Colorado roads, knowledge is critical. The ISP recognizes the three contributing factors in auto accidents: the roadway, the
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Human vs Non-Human Causes

Human vs Non-Human Causes of Road Accidents

This is the first of a five-segment series that seeks to explore the causes of vehicle accidents in the U.S., particularly in Colorado. The series is focused on prevention. There are a host of factors in vehicle accidents which can be broadly differentiated as being caused by human or non-human reasons. Vehicle accidents have negative consequences that are overtly tragic and life-altering, such as severe injuries and fatalities; however, there are also less publicized, yet still impactful outcomes such as
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Denver Man Found Dead

Denver Man Found Dead in Elevator Had Twice Used Emergency Notification System

Isaak Komisarchik, an 82-year-old Denver man, died in a parking garage elevator recently, although he had twice pushed the emergency notification button. Komisarchik, who was believed to have dementia, was unable to exit the elevator and was discovered by maintenance staff after residents complained of an odor in the area. The man’s reduced mental state is believed to have played a role in his inability to exit the car. The Denver Fire Department made the discovery in the garage, which is adjacent
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Wrongful Death Claim Disputed

Wrongful Death Claim Disputed in Fatal Boat Accident

David Dyer was operating a speedboat recently that was in a collision with a bass boat which killed Danny Phillips and Shawn Lanier on Lake Murray in South Carolina. Dyer survived and denies acting in a negligent manner when the crash occurred. The family for Lanier filed a wrongful death claim against Dyer citing reckless operation of the boat and for failing to assist those aboard the other boat when the accident occurred. Meanwhile, Dyer has filed a claim against the Phillips’
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Requirements for Documents Presented

Requirements for Documents Presented to the Court Based on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

In civil cases, such as claims of personal injury or wrongful death, many potential types of documents may be presented to the court. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) contain certain requirements that the courts impose that are procedural in nature, as well as stipulations concerning that the information contained is factual. For this reason, those bringing a claim should always seek capable legal representation from an experienced lawyer. When a party submits documents such as pleadings or motions, it
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Wrongful Death Case Involving

Wrongful Death Case Involving Teenager Who Died in Vail Avalanche On Hold

When a child dies, many parents feel as if an integral part of them has died. Immense feelings of sadness and grief plague bereaved parents in a manner that is unparalleled. However, in the event that a child’s death could have been prevented – which is also known as a wrongful death – these feelings are exponentially magnified. In the nation, parents are able to file a lawsuit against any individual, organization or entity that they believe to be legally
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U.S Cities Increasingly Facing

U.S Cities Increasingly Facing Civil Liability Suits for Injuring & Killing Dogs

A U.S. law enforcement officer shoots a dog on average every 98 minutes; in fact, roughly 10,000 pet dogs are killed this way each year. In Colorado & Texas, enacted laws require officer training on being humane toward animals. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that since 2010, the city’s police department has either used a taser or a gun on a dog on at least 82 occasions, roughly once per month. Of those 82 dogs, 25 of them were killed, most involved a
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Colorado Drivers Are Reported

Colorado Drivers Are Reported as Having Terrible Driving Habits

The Denver Post reports that Nationwide Insurance recently used a device which is installed on vehicles to track a driver’s habits that may signify dangerous vehicle operation such as abrupt braking and rapid acceleration. The findings indicate that Colorado drivers tend to rapidly accelerate much more than drivers in other states. The Thursday morning work commuters demonstrated the most aggressive driving, followed by those driving on Sundays. Colorado is among several states with overly aggressive drivers including Washington D.C., New
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What are the 12

What are the 12 Titles of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure?

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) guide civil actions in the U.S. District Courts. The FRCP provides a comprehensive framework for fair, efficient, and economical execution of civil proceedings. The Supreme Court implemented the original version in 1937, and the 12 titles have been revised and amended over the years. Title 1 – FRCP Scope: Summarizes the overall mission of uniformity and equitable administration of federal civil actions. Title 2 – Commencement of Suits: How suits are initiated via complaint and the processes
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What are the Federal

What are the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure?

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) outline procedures in civil matters in U.S. District (federal) courts. These rules are initiated by the U.S. Supreme Court in accordance with the Rules Enabling Act, then Congress has a period of seven months to veto the rule or it becomes law. The Federal Judiciary has a Judicial Conference, which typically recommends changes to the rules. Federal courts must apply individual state laws when deciding cases; however, if state law is ambiguous, the FRCP can
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What Property & Assets

What Property & Assets Are Protected From a Wrongful Death Civil Judgment?

O.J. Simpson was recently granted release via parole from a Nevada prison. He still owes a $33.5 million civil judgment in the wrongful death case involving Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. The judgment was renewed in 2015 for an additional ten-year period. What property and assets are shielded from such civil judgments? Some states allow those awarded a judgment to garnish the earnings of individuals. Simpson maintains residency in Florida, which limits garnishments to 25% of earnings. The state also has strong “homestead” laws
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How to Collect a

How to Collect a Civil Judgment Award in Colorado

When a court awards a civil judgment, it does not always result in a quick payment. Judgments must be collected before the expiration date. County court judgments run six years, while those in district courts extend it to twenty years. The party who is owed the award is known as the Judgment Creditor and the party who is responsible to pay the award is the Judgment Debtor. If an uncollected judgment is nearing expiration, you can petition the court for an extension. Remember, you
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Wrongful Case Filed on

Wrongful Case Filed on Behalf of Colorado Woman Following Fatal Accident

An 18-year-old man from Santa Fe, NM, is alleged to have been responsible for the death of Corrina Vaden, an Aurora, CO woman while operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in a severe crash which also injured two other passengers. Luke Griffin is facing criminal charges of vehicular homicide, DUI, and others, and was reported to have been well beyond the legal limits for being impaired. New Mexico’s alcohol threshold for operating a vehicle is merely .02 for those under
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Wrongful Death Case Underway

Wrongful Death Case Underway Regarding Aspen Whitewater Rafting Accident on the Roaring Fork River

Paul Sizemore and his wife Jennifer Lenze were vacationing from California and went on a whitewater rafting trip hosted by Blazing Adventures in Aspen, CO. Sizemore, age 44, was knocked from the raft amid a stretch of the river referred to as “Hell’s Half Mile” and was unable to be rescued. His wife brought a claim of negligence and wrongful death against the company and several employees. All participants in these excursions must sign a document known as a “Participant Agreement for
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Legislation Pending & Civil

Legislation Pending & Civil Suits Underway in Response to a Fatal Colorado Helicopter Crash

Legislation is well underway in the U.S. House that will mandate that all helicopters now be manufactured with crash-resistant fuel tanks. In 2015, a fatal helicopter crash in Frisco claimed the pilot’s life and severely injured two others. Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, both U.S. Representatives from Colorado, are sponsoring the bill. Perlmutter said that although the problem was detected years ago, nobody has required that a solution is mandated for this hazard. Those investigating the incident feel that the crash may
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Can Landowners Face Premises

Can Landowners Face Premises Liability Actions in Rattlesnake Bite Claims?

The Denver Post reports that people and animals continue to be bitten by venomous rattlesnakes across the state. A family in Hayden says their dog was recently taken to Dr. Wayne Davis at Craig Veterinary Hospital for the treatment of two bite wounds and was administered anti-venom medicine. Davis has treated a total of 12 bitten animals so far this year. The veterinarian thinks the increase in the snake population stems from a surge in the population of ground squirrels–their preferred prey.
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How Common Law Defenses

How Common Law Defenses for Landowner Duty Apply in Colorado Premises Liability Cases

This premises liability case reached the Colorado Supreme Court. A claim was brought against William and Gladys Franklin, who were homeowners with a swimming pool where a severe injury occurred. James Vigil, who is mildly mentally retarded, was working at the home as a laborer as part of a program for the Arkansas Valley Handicapped Community Center. Vigil decided to dive into Franklin’s above-ground pool, which was only four-foot-deep. When he dove, Vigil’s head hit the bottom of the pool, causing significant
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Michigan Supreme Court Hears

Michigan Supreme Court Hears Case of Woman Killed in Parking Lot

Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled on a personal injury case involving Virginia Rawluszki, who was killed when hit by a truck in a parking lot of a Menard’s home improvement store. The court unanimously decided to leave the appeals court decision in place and have them try the case with a jury, or reach a settlement. The family of the deceased asserts that the retailer should have installed stop signs at a crosswalk they created in the lot. The defense says that the
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Hot-Air Balloon Ride in

Hot-Air Balloon Ride in Florida Lands in a Retention Pond Filled with Alligators

The Colorado Gazette reported that a hot-air balloon ride with 17 passengers was forced into a crash landing in a retention pond near Orlando. An unexpected shift in the wind forced the pilot to land in the water to avoid power lines. The pond is known to be a home to several alligators. According to Orlando Balloon Rides, the pilot, who had over 2,000 hours of balloon flying experience, was able to navigate a landing safely and there were no injuries. Both
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Colorado Cities Exercising Caution

Colorado Cities Exercising Caution Regarding Fireworks Because of Potential for Fires

This Fourth of July several Colorado communities decided to cancel their annual fireworks displays due to the heightened risk for fires. The regions have all been experiencing hot and dry weather, coupled with high winds, are a combination that is conducive for quickly spreading fires. The Public Information Office of the Durango Fire Department stated that the fireworks would pose to great a safety risk. A recent house fire in Durango spread to a wildfire that burned across 400 acres of land.
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Healthcare Provider Facing Negligence

Healthcare Provider Facing Negligence Claims Awarded a County Contract in CO

Armor Correctional Health Services Inc. is a company that presently provides medical care services to approximately 40,000 inmates in the U.S. The Miami-based organization was recently awarded a contract for the jail facility located in El Paso County, CO. The value of the contract for this 1,500 bed facility is estimated to reach roughly $40 million. Last year, Armor was prohibited from providing care in the state of New York after a series of deaths occurred. The company is said to have many pending
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