Who is Liable for Playground Injuries?

Who is Liable for Playground Injuries?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for playground injuries every year. These injuries are not just minor scrapes and bruises, either. Nearly half of the reported injuries are bone fractures, internal injuries, concussions, and amputations. No parent wants to think of his or her child suffering this type of injury, but if it does happen, who is liable?

Liability cannot be established without first determining how and why the accident happened. Was the playground not properly maintained by the property owner? Did the equipment collapse because it was poorly designed? Once these questions are answered, a personal injury attorney will have a better idea of who is liable. Here are some of the possible parties that could be held liable:

Manufacturer

If the accident was caused by defective playground equipment, the manufacturer of the equipment could be held liable for your child’s injuries. For example, the manufacturer could be liable if the playground’s monkey bars were not strong enough to withstand the weight of a small child.

Contractor

Most playgrounds are assembled by contractors hired by the property owner. If the child is injured because the equipment was not constructed properly, the contractor that worked on the playground could be held liable.

Property Owner

A property owner may be held liable if the accident was caused by a safety hazard on the playground property. For instance, a property owner is responsible for repairing a broken piece of playground equipment that could harm a child. Broken equipment may be unstable or have exposed nails, which could seriously injure a child. The property owner has a legal obligation to identify and fix these safety hazards before they do any harm.

It’s important to note that the playground’s property owner will most likely be a school district or government entity. Filing a personal injury claim against one of these parties can be challenging, and there are many rules and procedures that must be closely followed. For this reason, it’s important to work with a personal injury attorney who has experience handling this type of case.

Has your child been injured in a playground accident? If so, get in touch with the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. We will handle the legal aspect of your case so you can focus solely on helping your child recover. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action Claims in Colorado

Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action Claims in Colorado

Taking legal action is probably the last thing on your mind after losing a loved one in a tragic accident. But, it’s important to understand your rights so you know what options you have to recover compensation for your loss. There are two different types of claims that can be filed after someone is killed by the negligent acts of another person. Here’s what you need to know about wrongful death vs. survival claims in Colorado:

Wrongful Death Claims

Certain surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim in order to recover compensation for the losses they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. Family members can be compensated for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and loss of income if they were financially dependent on the victim.

The victim’s spouse is the only one who can file a wrongful death claim in the first year after the victim’s death. After the first year, both the spouse and the victim’s children are legally permitted to file a claim. In the event that the victim did not have surviving children or a spouse, the victim’s parents can file the claim.

Survival Action Claims

A survival action claim may also be filed after a victim’s death. However, the only person that is legally permitted to file a survival action claim is the representative of the victim’s estate. If the victim did not appoint a representative prior to his or her death, the court will have to name one.

The goal of a survival action claim is to recover compensation for expenses that the victim incurred and losses that the victim suffered from the time he or she was injured until the time he or she died. For instance, let’s say a woman was seriously injured in a car accident and transported to a hospital where she passed away two days later. The victim’s estate may be able to recover compensation for the medical expenses incurred and losses suffered during this two-day period between the time of the accident and the time of the victim’s death.

Any compensation that is awarded will go to the victim’s estate, so family members will not be directly compensated through a survival action claim.

Have you lost a loved one? If so, get in touch with the wrongful death attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. Our compassionate attorneys will guide you through the process of filing a wrongful death and survival action claim. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Common Defense Strategies Used by Criminal Defense Attorneys

Common Defense Strategies Used by Criminal Defense Attorneys

Being charged with a crime can be terrifying, but it’s important to remember that a charge does not always lead to a conviction. The criminal defense attorney that you choose to represent you will review the details of your case and form an effective defense strategy. The strategy that your attorney uses will depend on the nature of the crime and the evidence that is being used against you. To get a better idea of what to expect, take a look at these common defense strategies used by criminal defense attorneys:

Self-Defense

A self-defense strategy may be appropriate in some cases. For example, if a defendant is facing assault charges, an attorney may be able to prove that the defendant injured the victim in order to protect himself from harm. The defendant cannot be convicted of a crime if it can be proven that his actions were only taken to protect himself.

Consent

Consent strategies are often used in cases involving sex crimes. Defendants that are being accused of forcing the victim to engage in sexual intercourse may be able to prove that the victim consented to the activity. This can be difficult to prove because it often turns into a “he said, she said” argument, but it may be an appropriate strategy for your case.

Alibi

The alibi defense strategy is frequently used by criminal defense attorneys. An alibi defense involves proving that the defendant could not have committed the crime because he was nowhere near the scene when it occurred. For instance, a defendant’s employer may serve as an alibi if he is willing to testify under oath that the defendant was at work when the crime was committed. This is mainly used in property or violent crimes such as burglary, assault, and murder.

Coercion and Duress

A criminal defense attorney can also argue that the defendant was forced to commit the crime against his will. For example, let’s say someone tells a defendant that he must rob a convenient store or else the defendant’s spouse will be hurt. This threat of force against the defendant’s spouse is enough to show that the defendant had no choice but to commit the crime.

These are just some of the many defense strategies that can be used in a criminal case. To discuss an appropriate defense strategy for your case, get in touch with the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What is an Arraignment?

What is an Arraignment?

A criminal case typically begins with an arrest, which occurs when a law enforcement officer takes someone into custody. There are many steps in the criminal case process after an arrest, including the arraignment, which is the first time the defendant will appear in court. What is an arraignment? Here’s what you need to know:

Criminal Charges

The arraignment is the first time that you will hear which criminal charges have been filed against you. It’s important to have a criminal defense attorney with you at the arraignment so he can ensure you understand the charges.

Defense Attorney

If you do not have an attorney present, the judge will ask whether or not you have already retained an attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, notify the judge during your arraignment.

Plea

After reading the criminal charges, the judge will ask the defendant how he would like to plead. Defendants can plead not guilty, guilty, or no contest. If you plead guilty or no contest, a criminal conviction will go on your record and you will be sentenced for the crimes. If you plead not guilty, the case will eventually go to trial.

The plea that you enter could significantly impact the rest of your life, so don’t make this decision alone. Talk to an attorney about your options before entering a plea so you know you are making the right choice.

Bail

The arraignment is also where the issue of bail will be discussed. The judge can choose to set a bail amount, release the defendant on his own recognizance, or keep the defendant in custody. The judge will only deny bail and keep the defendant in custody if he is considered a danger to the community or a flight risk. If you are being denied bail, an attorney may be able to help by proving you have ties to the community and are not violent in nature.

Future Dates

The judge will also go over the next steps in your criminal case during the arraignment. He may schedule the preliminary hearing at this time so both parties are aware of the date.

Have you been charged with a crime? The criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will defend your rights and fight for your freedom throughout the entire legal process. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The First Steps An Attorney Will Take in a Personal Injury Case

The First Steps An Attorney Will Take in a Personal Injury Case

The personal injury attorney that you choose to represent you will immediately get to work on your case. Even though your attorney will be hard at work, this doesn’t mean you should expect to reach a settlement overnight. There’s plenty of work that must be done in the early stages of the case before a settlement can be reached with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Here are some of the first steps that your attorney will take in a personal injury case:

Gather Evidence

Every personal injury attorney will need to gather and review evidence to get a better idea of what happened and who is to blame. This may involve visiting the scene of the accident, reviewing photos of the accident, consulting with experts, obtaining police reports and medical records, and interviewing witnesses. All of this evidence will be used to build a case that clearly shows the other party is responsible for the victim’s injuries.

Send A Demand Letter

After investigating the case and identifying the liable party, your attorney will craft a demand letter that will be sent to the defendant. The demand letter will outline the basic facts of the case, including when the accident occurred, how it happened, and who was involved. It will also identify the liable parties and provide a brief summary of why those parties are believed to be at fault. Finally, it will notify the defendant that the victim has suffered injuries and intends on pursuing a claim to recover compensation. The demand letter will also specify how much compensation you will be trying to recover in the claim.

Negotiations

Then, negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company may begin. Even if your attorney is in the process of negotiating with the insurance company, you should not assume that a settlement is right around the corner. Insurance companies typically start off by making low offers, which can delay the process. It may take some time before the insurance company is willing to make a fair offer, and in rare cases, the case may go to trial. Be patient and let your attorney do what he does best.

Have you been injured due to the negligent acts of another person? If so, seek legal representation from a personal injury attorney right away. At Reisch Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys will begin fighting for the compensation that you deserve immediately after you hire us. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Common Weapons Crimes in Colorado

Common Weapons Crimes in Colorado

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to bear arms. However, there are state and federal laws that regulate how people buy, sell, carry, and use guns and other weapons. Violating one of these laws is serious and could lead to a number of different penalties. Here’s a look at some of the most common weapons crimes in Colorado:

Possessing A Dangerous or Illegal Weapon

Some weapons are completely banned, which means anyone found in possession of them could be charged with a crime. “Dangerous” weapons are firearm silencers, machine guns, short shotguns, short rifles, and ballistic knifes, whereas “illegal” weapons are metallic knuckles, gas guns, and blackjacks. Possessing a dangerous weapon is a felony in Colorado, but possessing an illegal weapon is only a misdemeanor.

Prohibited Use of Weapons

You could be charged with a crime for the improper use of a weapon even if that weapon is legally owned. For example, aiming a firearm at another person or recklessly shooting a gun are prohibited by law.

Unlawfully Carrying A Weapon

Weapons are prohibited in certain places such as schools, colleges, and universities. Carrying any kind of weapon on school grounds is a felony—even if you legally own the weapon. To comply with the law, the weapon must be unloaded and remain in your vehicle if you are on school property.

Illegal Discharge of A Firearm

Anyone who is permitted to own and carry a firearm must use it responsibly, which means only discharging it when it is absolutely necessary. Recklessly firing a weapon in any kind of home or building is considered an illegal discharge of a firearm. It’s also illegal to recklessly fire a weapon into a car that is occupied by at least one person. Firing a weapon for no reason is incredibly dangerous, which is why this crime is classified as a felony.

Unlawful Purchase of Firearms

Certain individuals, such as those who have been convicted of a felony, are not allowed to own a firearm. Helping a felon—or anyone else who is prohibited from owning a firearm—obtain a gun is illegal. This means you cannot purchase a firearm or transfer ownership of a firearm to someone who is not allowed to own one.

Have you been charged with a weapons crime? If so, seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney right away. At Reisch Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys will protect your rights through every step of the legal process. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What Are Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws?

What Are Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws?

One of the first things that defendants want to know after being charged with a crime is the possible penalties that they will face if convicted. Because of this, every defendant in the state of Colorado should know about mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

The Role of the Judge

If a defendant is convicted of a crime, he will go to the sentencing phase of his trial. In most cases, the judge presiding over the case will reference the sentencing guidelines when deciding how to punish the defendant. Sentencing guidelines offer judges suggestions on how to sentence defendants that are convicted of certain crimes. For example, the DUI sentencing guidelines state that a first-time offender should receive between 5 days to 1 year behind bars, up to 2 years of probation, and a fine between $600-$1,000.

A judge would reference these guidelines when deciding how to sentence a first time DUI offender. If this is the first time the defendant has been arrested and he has shown remorse for the crime, the judge may decide to let him off with a few months of probation and the minimum fine. Sometimes, the judge even gives the defendant a lighter sentence than what is recommended in the guidelines.

How Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws Affect Your Case

Judges do not have as much power when mandatory minimum sentencing laws apply to your case. If a crime has a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must comply with this law. For example, let’s say a defendant is convicted of DUI for the second time in five years. The law states that defendants with two DUI convictions on their records must spend a minimum of 10 days in jail. This means the judge has no choice but to sentence this defendant to at least 10 days in jail—even if he believes that the defendant deserves a lighter sentence.

Which Laws Have Mandatory Minimum Sentences?

There are many state and federal laws with mandatory minimum sentences, but these sentences most often affect repeat offenders. Colorado’s habitual offender law imposes mandatory minimum sentences on anyone who has repeated multiple felonies. For example, a defendant who has four felony convictions on his record and is convicted of a violent felony will face a mandatory life sentence without parole for at least 40 years. Of course, not all mandatory minimum sentences are this extreme.

If you have been charged a crime, seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney at once. The criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will work tirelessly to reach the best possible outcome in your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What is Expressed Consent?

What is Expressed Consent?

Anyone who operates a motor vehicle in the state of Colorado needs to be familiar with expressed consent laws. If you’re not familiar with expressed consent laws, it will be difficult to defend your rights if you are ever suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs.

What is Expressed Consent?

The law states that all drivers that operate motor vehicles in Colorado must consent to chemical testing if they are ever arrested by a police officer who has probable cause to believe they are intoxicated. Drivers who are believed to be under the influence of alcohol must consent to either a blood or breath test, while drivers who are believed to be under the influence of drugs must consent to a urine test. This law is referred to as “expressed consent” because it is assumed that any driver who operates a vehicle in Colorado has consented to these terms.

In most cases, drivers that are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol will get to choose between a blood or breath test. But, be sure to choose carefully. Changing your mind and asking for the other test can be considered a refusal. The test must be performed within two hours of the arrest or the results may not be valid.

What Are the Penalties For Refusing A Test?

There are penalties for refusing to consent to a chemical test. First-time offenders will have their driver’s licenses suspended for a period of 12 months, but this doubles to 24 months if this is the second time you’ve refused to take a test.

Drivers who refuse to take the test could face additional penalties if they are convicted of DUI. Even though a test was never performed, the driver can still be convicted based on other evidence gathered by the arresting police officer. For this reason, it’s important to understand that refusing the test does mean you will not be charged with DUI.

Mandatory Tests

Sometimes, a driver does not have the right to refuse to take a test. For example, if a driver injures or kills someone while he is believed to be under the influence, law enforcement has the right to physically restrain the driver in order to perform a test.

If you have been charged with DUI, seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney right away. Regardless of whether you refused the test or not, the attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will fight tirelessly for your freedom. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Handle the First Call With An Insurance Adjuster

How to Handle the First Call With An Insurance Adjuster

Have you been injured in a car accident? If so, expect to receive a phone call from an insurance adjuster at the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance adjusters typically make the initial phone call shortly after they are notified of the accident, so it’s possible that you will still be in pain or a state of shock when your phone rings. But, it’s important to pull yourself together so you don’t make any crucial mistakes during this call that could affect the outcome of your case. Here’s how to handle the first call with an insurance adjuster:

Do Not Give Detailed Personal Information

The insurance adjuster will attempt to get as much personal information as possible from you during this call. There’s no reason to provide him with any personal information besides your legal name, address, and phone number. If he asks about your work history, income, or family, politely decline to answer the question.

Avoid Discussing Your Injuries

Do not go into detail about the injuries that you sustained in the accident or comment on the level of pain you are experiencing. This information can be taken out of context and used against you later on in the case. Instead, make it clear that you are seeking medical attention from a doctor and will provide the insurance company with more information when it is available. Do not tell the insurance adjuster which doctors you have seen or if you have been treated for any injury so far.

Don’t Settle

Sometimes, an insurance adjuster will make an offer during the first call. Do not accept this settlement—or any settlement—until you have talked to an attorney. There is no way for you to know the extent of your injuries immediately after an accident, so it’s impossible to calculate the value of your claim at this point. The insurance adjuster is hoping that you will settle for a small amount of money before you find out that your claim is worth much more. Don’t make this mistake—always turn down settlements that are offered during this first call.

Say No to Recorded Statements

An insurance adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement about the accident, but this is not a good idea. Politely tell the insurance adjuster that you are not interested in providing a recorded statement and will provide a written statement at a later date.

Dealing with an insurance company can be tricky, and if you make a mistake, it could affect the outcome of your case. To protect your best interests, let a personal injury attorney at Reisch Law Firm communicate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The Different Types of Assault Crimes in Colorado

The Different Types of Assault Crimes in Colorado

A person commits assault when he recklessly or intentionally injures someone else. But, this is just a general definition of assault. The law in Colorado goes into much more detail by defining various types of assault crimes.

First vs. Second vs. Third Degree Assault

Assault can be charged in the first, second, or third degree in Colorado. The charge that you face will depend on a number of factors, including intent, the presence of a deadly weapon, the occupation of the victim, and the severity of the victim’s injuries. For example, causing serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon is first degree assault, whereas causing serious bodily injury without a deadly weapon is second degree assault. Threatening a public official such as a judge, firefighter, or police officer with a deadly weapon can be charged as first degree assault. However, exposing a public official to hazardous materials or bodily fluids with the intent to annoy or harass him or her is considered assault in the third degree.

These two examples illustrate how factors such as the intent of the crime, the victim, and the use of a deadly weapon could affect the charges that you face.

Vehicular Assault

A person can also be charged with vehicular assault in the state of Colorado. This crime is committed when someone’s reckless driving seriously injures another person. The defendant does not need to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs in order to be charged with this crime. As long as the defendant’s driving was reckless enough to cause a serious injury, he can face charges regardless of whether he was intoxicated or not.

Defending Assault Charges

There are a number of ways that a criminal defense attorney can defend you against assault charges. In some cases, an attorney may successfully get the charges dropped by arguing that you were using self-defense. But, sometimes an attorney’s goal will be to have charges reduced to a lesser crime. For example, an attorney may be able to have your first degree assault charges reduced to second degree assault if he proves you were not using a deadly weapon at the time the crime was committed.

Have you been charged with assault? Let a criminal defense attorney at Reisch Law Firm fight these charges. We will develop a unique defense strategy that can be used to reach the best possible outcome in your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.