Month: August 2017

Leading Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Leading Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Every year, approximately 1.7 million people in the U.S. sustain traumatic brain injuries. Hundreds of thousands of these brain injury victims are hospitalized, while thousands more lose their lives as a result of the brain damage. How do all of these people sustain such catastrophic injuries? Here are some of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs):

Falls

The leading cause of TBIs is falls, which account for over one-third of these injuries. A brain injury occurs when the victim loses his balance and hits his head against the floor or another hard object during the fall. Falls are especially common among children between the ages of 0 to 4 and seniors that are 75 or older. These accidents can take place anywhere, including in the victim’s own home.

Struck By Objects

The second leading cause of these injuries is being struck in the head. Sometimes, these injuries are the result of accidents, such as when a construction worker is hit on the head by a falling object. But other times, the victim may be intentionally struck in the head during an assault.

This is a common cause of TBIs in children under the age of 15. As a matter of fact, this cause accounts for about 20% of all TBIs sustained by children within this age range. This could because TBIs that occur while playing sports typically fall into this category. Kids often sustain TBIs while playing football, baseball, basketball, and soccer.

Traffic Accidents

Another common cause of TBIs is traffic accidents, which includes all car, truck, and motorcycle collisions. In motorcycle accidents, these injuries often occur when the motorcyclist is thrown off of his bike and makes contact with the pavement. In other traffic accidents, TBIs usually occur when the victim hits his head against the dashboard, window, or steering wheel.

Although traffic accidents do not lead to as many TBIs as falls, the brain injuries sustained in traffic accidents are usually more serious. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of TBI-related fatalities.

TBIs can be caused by many other factors that are not included on this list. Some of the less common causes include animal attacks, self-inflicted harm, and explosions.

There’s a reason why these brain injuries are referred to as traumatic—they can significantly impact the quality of your life. If you have sustained a TBI in an accident, contact the attorneys at Reisch Law Firm right away to learn how we can help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Is Possession of Marijuana Still A Crime in Colorado?

Is Possession of Marijuana Still A Crime in Colorado?

Colorado made headlines when it became one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. Because many people know that marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, there is a common misconception that you cannot be charged with a crime for having marijuana in your possession. But, that’s not the case. There are certain circumstances in which the possession of marijuana is still a crime in Colorado.

Age

Just like alcohol, there is an age restriction on the use of marijuana. In Colorado, you must be 21 years or older to possess or consume marijuana. Therefore, it is a crime to have marijuana in your possession if you are under the age of 21.

Quantity

The law also places limits on the amount of marijuana that you are allowed to have in your possession. If you are over the age of 21, you can legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The possession of 1-2 oz. of marijuana is a petty offense, while the possession of 2-12 oz. is a misdemeanor crime that carries possible jail time. If you are found in possession of over 12 oz. of marijuana, you will face felony charges and jail time.

The law applies to other forms of marijuana such as hash and concentrates, too. If you have more than one ounce of hash or marijuana concentrates, you are committing a crime that could result in jail time and monetary fines.

Location

Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, it is still prohibited by federal law, so having marijuana in your possession while on federal property is a crime. This means that you are not allowed to possess marijuana while visiting national parks, courthouses, or any other properties that are owned by the federal government.

It’s perfectly legal to have marijuana in your possession while you are in the car, but if it is an open container, it cannot be in the passenger area of the vehicle. Open containers are those that have broken seals or those that contain marijuana that you have already partially consumed. To protect yourself, it’s best to leave open containers of marijuana in the trunk of your vehicle.

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, contact the attorneys at Reisch Law Firm right away. Our criminal defense attorneys will stop at nothing to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Everything You Need to Know About Field Sobriety Tests

Everything You Need to Know About Field Sobriety Tests

If you are pulled over by a police officer who suspects that you are driving under the influence, you may be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests. It’s imperative that you learn about these tests so you know exactly what to expect and how to handle yourself in this situation.

What are the different types of field sobriety tests?

There are three field sobriety tests that have been approved for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn test, and one-leg stand.

Horizontal gaze nystagmus is a jerking motion of the eyes that can be caused by alcohol or drugs. To test for this, a police officer will hold a pen or flashlight in front of your face and ask you to follow it with your eyes while keeping your head still. The officer will be watching to see if you can smoothly track the object and if your eyes make jerking motions that indicate you have consumed alcohol or drugs.

The walk-and-turn test is designed to divide your attention between two tasks to see if you are able to concentrate on both of them. You will be asked to position your feet so one is directly in front of the other. Then, the officer will instruct you to walk nine steps forward, turn around, and walk nine steps back. The entire time that you are walking, you will also be asked to count your steps out loud.

Finally, there is the one-leg stand, which is another divided attention test. You will be asked to stand with your feet close together and your arms by your side. Then, the officer will ask you to raise one leg about six inches above the ground, keeping both legs as straight as possible. While balancing on one leg, the officer will ask you to slowly count to 30.

What is the purpose of these tests?

Field sobriety tests are used to help law enforcement officers determine if you are under the influence or not. The officer will observe as you perform each test to look for signs of impairment. For instance, not being able to balance on one leg may be used as evidence that you are intoxicated. However, these tests are not always accurate because they don’t account for other factors that could affect the results. For instance, someone may not be able to stand on one leg because she has bad coordination or is wearing uncomfortable shoes.

Do you have to perform the field sobriety tests?

You do not have to perform field sobriety tests. If a police officer asks you to step out of the vehicle to perform one of these tests, politely decline. There is no penalty for not taking these tests, and since the results are often unreliable, it’s in your best interests to say no.

If you have been charged with DUI, contact the attorneys at Reisch Law Firm right away. We will immediately begin to look for flaws in the evidence that is being used against you—including the results of your field sobriety tests. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Common Summer Personal Injuries

Common Summer Personal Injuries

Summer is the season for fun—but unfortunately, it’s also a season that is full of personal injuries. If you want to enjoy the rest of the season, avoid these common summer personal injuries:

Car Accident Injuries

There tends to be more traffic in the summer because of the number of people who are on vacation and teens that are out of school. Many of the drivers that you encounter may be tourists who are visiting your city on vacation, so they may get into an accident because they aren’t familiar with the roads. Other drivers may be teens who don’t have enough experience to make smart decisions behind the wheel. For these reasons, it’s important to be extra careful when driving during the summer.

Swimming Pool Accidents

When the temperatures start to rise, many people in Colorado cool off in a swimming pool. However, a trip to a swimming pool is not always fun in the sun. Swimming pool accidents are serious, and can lead to catastrophic injuries such as brain damage, spinal cord damage, and fractured bones. There are a few things you can do to lower your risk of being injured at the pool. First, be careful when jumping into the pool. It’s best to look for signs that indicate which side is shallow and which is deep before you enter the pool. This is especially important if you have small children with you who aren’t strong swimmers.

It’s never a good idea to swim while intoxicated, so you should also avoid drinking alcohol while at the pool. If you plan on bringing the whole family along, it may be wise to take a CPR class together so you can learn what to do in the event of an emergency.

Boating Accidents

Do you plan on heading out to the water? Summer is the ideal season for boating, but accidents can still occur. Many of these accidents are caused by speeding, intoxication, inexperience, and poor weather conditions. If you plan on operating a boat, remember to use good judgment. Don’t drive a boat unless you are licensed to do so—it’s much harder than it looks. Boat operators should never consume alcohol or drive recklessly, and they should always keep an eye on the weather before leaving the shore.

If you have been injured, seek legal representation as soon as possible. Fall, winter, spring, and summer—the attorneys at Reisch Law Firm are here to aggressively fight for the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Actual vs. Constructive Possession of Controlled Substances

Actual vs. Constructive Possession of Controlled Substances

You’ve probably heard the expression, “possession is nine-tenths of the law,” which means that if you are found in possession of something, it is difficult to prove that it did not belong to you. This is especially true in criminal cases involving controlled substances. If you are found in physical possession of a controlled substance, law enforcement assumes that it is yours. However, this is not the only way that you can be charged with possession of a controlled substance. It’s important that you understand the difference between actual vs. constructive possession of controlled substances so you know your rights.

Actual Possession

If you have controlled substances on your person, in your hand, or in a location that no one else could access, this is actual possession. It is much harder—although not possible—to prove that the drugs were not yours if you were found with them in your actual possession.

Constructive Possession

Law enforcement officers can claim that you had constructive possession of a controlled substance when the following conditions are met:

  • You were aware of the drug’s presence on your property.
  • The drugs were found in an area in which you had dominion and control over.

To meet the first condition, law enforcement must show that you either knew or should have known about the controlled substances. It also must be proven that you knew the drugs were illegal.

Meeting the second condition is a bit more complicated. “Dominion and control” is a legal term that refers to an individual’s ability and intention to take possession of the drugs. For example, if law enforcement finds controlled substances in a home that you live in by yourself, this may be enough to prove that you had the ability and intention to control the drugs. However, if the drugs are found in a common area within a home that you share with others, it can be more difficult to prove constructive possession. Even though the drugs were in your home, it’s possible that you did not know of their existence and had no intention to personally possess them.

It’s important to note that being physically close to controlled substances is not enough to prove constructive possession. Unless the two conditions above can be proven, the defendant cannot be charged.

Many innocent people are accused of constructive possession of controlled substances. Fortunately, a charge does not always lead to a conviction. The criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm can poke holes in the prosecutor’s case and help you defend your rights. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Calculate Lost Income Damages if You’re Self-Employed

How to Calculate Lost Income Damages if You’re Self-Employed

Personal injury victims are entitled to various types of damages, one of them being compensation for lost income. This is awarded to victims who have had to take time off of work, switch jobs, or quit working altogether due to the severity of their injuries. Most personal injury victims can prove the amount of income lost by showing paystubs and submitting statements from their employers. But, what happens when a victim is self-employed? Here’s how to calculate and prove your lost income if you’re self-employed:

Understand the types of losses.

Before you begin, it’s important to understand exactly what lost income compensation should cover. In addition to your current income, your calculations should factor in lost business opportunities, contracts, and goodwill.

Gather documentation.

Begin to gather documentation that you will need to calculate the amount of income you have lost due to your injuries. You will need to find your tax returns—preferably from the last few years—to prove how much you made before the accident. If your injury only affected your ability to work for a month or so, then it may be helpful to gather all of your invoices from the last several months so you can determine how much your income dropped compared to previous months.

You will also have to calculate the value of lost business opportunities and contracts. Let’s say as a result of your injuries, a client had to hire someone else to finish a project that you were originally hired to complete. In this situation, reach out to the client and ask that they send a written statement to you that you can provide to the insurance company.

Calculate your losses.

To calculate the amount of income you have lost, you simply have to look at your monthly invoices or prior tax returns to see the difference in earnings. Then, add the value of any contracts that you have lost due to your injuries. Using the previous example, if the client that had to hire someone else was supposed to pay you $5,000 for your work, then add $5,000 to your total.

You may also be able to prove that this client would have hired you for additional projects in the future had he not hired someone else. For instance, if you have emails showing that the client was in talks with you about various other projects before hiring someone else, this could be considered a lost business opportunity. Calculate how much you would have charged the client for these services and add that to your total as well.

Finally, you will need to calculate the goodwill that you have lost due to your injuries. Calculating something non-tangible such as goodwill can be challenging, but an attorney can help you determine whether you should include this loss in your claim.

It’s hard to calculate the value of your claim—especially if you are self-employed. But, the attorneys at Reisch Law Firm can help to ensure that you are accounting for every loss that you have suffered as a result of your injuries. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Can the Type of Medical Treatment You Receive Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

Can the Type of Medical Treatment You Receive Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

Any knowledgeable personal injury attorney will tell you that it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an injury. This ensures that the injuries you sustained in the accident are documented so the insurance company cannot question them. But, does it matter what type of medical treatment you receive after an injury? Here’s what you need to know:

Mainstream vs. Alternative Medicine

Many people believe in treating their injuries using alternative medicine such as acupuncture, but it’s best to stick to mainstream methods if you are filing a personal injury claim. Insurance companies want to see that you were treated in a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office. If you are only treated using alternative methods, it may be harder to prove that you deserve compensation for your injuries.

Doctors vs. Non-MDs

Similarly, insurance companies would rather see medical bills from physicians as opposed to physical therapists or chiropractors. Of course, chiropractors and physical therapists can help some people after injuries, but the insurance company tends to think of these treatments as less important than others. In fact, one survey found that personal injury victims who went to a chiropractor received compensation that was 41% less than the average personal injury payout. This is especially true if you visited a chiropractor or physical therapist without seeing a doctor first. It’s recommended that you get a referral so the insurance company sees that you were treated by a physician first.

Diagnosis vs. Treatment

The amount of time that it takes for a medical professional to diagnose an injury will depend on the type of injury that you have sustained. Sometimes, a doctor will be able to diagnose your condition after a quick physical examination, while other times he may have to run numerous tests. If a doctor has to run multiple tests, this can end up being a significant portion of your total medical expenses. In this case, the insurance company may not take your injuries as seriously since most of the medical expenses you have incurred were related to diagnostic testing. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be reimbursed for the expenses, but it could affect how much compensation you will be able to recover for pain and suffering.

If you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, seek legal representation as soon as possible. The attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will ensure that you receive the right medical treatment so you are compensated fairly. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Car Accident Claim

Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Car Accident Claim

There are countless reasons why it’s in your best interests to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. One of the reasons is that an attorney can begin guiding you through the steps of the legal process to ensure that you don’t make any of these mistakes that could hurt your car accident claim:

Using social media.

If you are involved in any type of personal injury case, it’s recommended that you avoid posting on social media. Why? Insurance adjusters will be looking for any evidence that they can find to use against you, and they may find something of value in one of your social media posts. For instance, let’s say you are posting about going out with friends and having a good time. The insurance adjuster may try to use this to prove that you do not deserve pain and suffering compensation because the injuries are not affecting the quality of your life.

Waiting too long to get medical treatment.

Your first priority after a car accident should be seeking medical attention for your injuries. The longer that you wait, the more this mistake could impact your claim. If you wait a few days before seeing a doctor, the insurance adjuster may say that there is no way to prove that the injuries you sustained were actually caused in the accident. Don’t let this mistake affect the amount of compensation you are awarded—see a doctor right after an accident.

Not following the doctor’s advice.

After seeking treatment, it’s imperative that you follow the doctor’s orders, whatever they may be. If a doctor prescribes a medication, get the prescription filled and take the medication as directed. If he asks you to return for a follow-up, schedule one right away. If you choose not to follow the doctor’s orders, the insurance adjuster may say that you are obviously not as injured as you are claiming to be.

Forgetting to collect evidence.

You may be in a hurry to leave the scene of the accident so you can carry on with your day, but don’t leave before you have gathered crucial evidence. If you can, take pictures of property damage, debris in the road, and any traffic signs or signals that are nearby. Even if something seems insignificant—like tire skid marks on the road—take a photo of it. This may not seem important at the time, but the photos can be used to recreate the accident and prove that the other party was responsible. Without this evidence, it can be difficult to recover compensation if the other party is denying fault.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact the attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. Our team will offer you honest legal advice and guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Avoid Boating Accidents

How to Avoid Boating Accidents

There’s no better way to enjoy the warm summer weather than by cruising through the water on a boat. Unfortunately, many boating trips turn into tragedies when someone is seriously injured in a boating accident. If you plan on heading out on the water, make sure you follow these tips to avoid boating accidents:

Don’t overload the boat.

Don’t bring too much cargo or invite too many passengers onto your boat if you want to ensure a safe trip. Too much weight on board can increase the risk of capsizing, so be sure to check the boat’s official capacity before leaving shore.

Look at the weather forecast.

Boating accidents often occur because of bad weather, but these accidents can easily be avoided by looking at the weather forecast before you begin your trip. There are several warnings that you should be aware of, including small craft warnings, gale warnings, and storm warnings. These warnings will tell boat operators what to expect from the weather, so pay close attention to them to avoid getting stuck in high, dangerous winds.

“Know before you go.”

The American Boating Association recommends that boating operators always follow the motto of “know before you go.” Part of this is knowing what to do in the event of an emergency. Boat operators should check that all safety equipment on board is functioning properly and that they have enough life jackets for everyone on board. You will have to think quickly in the event of an emergency, so it’s important to plan what you will do if disaster strikes.

Avoid alcohol.

Drinking and boating do not mix. Studies have shown that people who are drinking alcohol while operating a boat are two times more likely to be involved in a boating accident. If you are the boat operator, it’s imperative that you avoid alcohol to protect yourself and others.

Two operators are better than one.

It’s recommended that you always have someone else on board who can operate the boat in the event that you are unable to do so. For instance, if you become ill while boating, this person can step in and bring the boat back to shore. This person should be familiar with safety procedures, how to operate a boat, and what to do in the event of an emergency.

Even if you follow all of these tips, it’s possible that you could still end up in a boating accident. If you have been injured, contact the attorneys at Reisch Law Firm. Our team will immediately begin working to help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What Factors Could Affect Your Breathalyzer Test?

What Factors Could Affect Your Breathalyzer Test?

If you are suspected of driving under the influence, a police officer may pull you over and ask you to take a breathalyzer test. This test is designed to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC) and determine whether you are above the legal limit of 0.08%. However, these tests are not always accurate. In fact, there are a number of factors that could affect your breathalyzer test and make it appear as if you are intoxicated when you are really not. Here are some of the factors that could impact your breathalyzer results:

Residual Mouth Alcohol

There are a number of consumer products that could leave alcohol behind in the tissues inside your mouth. Unfortunately, this residual mouth alcohol could be detected by the breathalyzer and lead to a false positive. Some of the products that are known to leave traces of alcohol include mouthwash and breath sprays. The alcohol from these items are believed to linger around for about 15-20 minutes after the products are used.

Medical Conditions

There are also certain medical conditions that could impact your breathalyzer test, including diabetes. People with diabetes have much higher levels of acetone in their system than non-diabetics. The breathalyzer device is designed to detect levels of ethyl alcohol, however it cannot tell the difference between ethyl alcohol and acetone. This means that the machine may report that someone with diabetes is intoxicated even when he is not.

Another medical condition that could affect the test results is gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. This condition, which is similar to heartburn, causes gases from the stomach to travel upwards through the esophagus and the oral cavity. If someone with GERD has consumed a food or drink with alcohol content, the breathalyzer test could be inaccurate. This is because the test will detect a strong concentration of alcohol, which is actually caused by the regurgitation of concentrated gases and vapors from the stomach, and not heavy alcohol consumption.

Over the Counter Medications

Many OTC medications may also leave alcohol behind in a person’s mouth, which will affect the breathalyzer results. Medications used to treat coughs, colds, and canker sores often contain alcohol that the breathalyzer device could detect. Even using an asthma inhaler prior to taking a breathalyzer test could lead to inaccurate results. This is because some inhalers contain methyl chemicals, which is what the breathalyzer detects and interprets as alcohol.

Have you been charged with DUI? The attorneys at Reisch Law Firm know how to determine if your breathalyzer test results were inaccurate. Remember, a DUI charge does not always lead to a conviction, especially when you have an experienced attorney on your side. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.