Tag: Personal injury case

How Dram Shop Laws Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case

How Dram Shop Laws Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case

Over 10,000 people were killed in car accidents involving a drunk driver in 2015, and many more sustained serious, non-fatal injuries. These victims are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent, drunk driver that caused them harm. But first, victims should learn how dram shop laws affect their personal injury case.

Colorado’s Dram Shop Laws

Businesses should never serve alcohol to someone who is under the age of 21 or who appears to already be intoxicated. But unfortunately, many businesses do so anyways. Businesses that sell alcohol to minors or individuals that are clearly intoxicated can be held liable in the event that these customers’ injure or kill someone due to their impairment.

For example, let’s say a local bar knowingly serves a minor alcohol. After having a few drinks, the minor drives home and crashes into another vehicle, seriously injuring the driver. In this situation, the bar should have never served the minor alcohol since she is under the legal drinking age. According to the dram shop laws, the bar could be held liable for the victim’s injuries. This means the victim may be able to recover compensation from both the intoxicated driver and the bar that served her.

Colorado’s Social Host Liability Laws

It’s important to note that the dram shop laws only apply to businesses. If the minor in the example above had been drinking at a friend’s house, the dram shop laws would not be relevant, but social host liability laws could be.

A social host is anyone that serves alcohol in a private setting. Social hosts can continue to serve guests that are already intoxicated without facing legal consequences. However, they can be held liable for serving minors alcohol.

Take another look at the example above. Let’s say the underage driver had been consuming alcohol at an adult friend’s house instead of a bar. In this case, the friend could be held liable for the injuries caused by the minor’s intoxication because he shouldn’t have served her alcohol in the first place. Under these circumstances, the victim may be able to recover compensation from both the intoxicated driver and the driver’s friend.

Have you been injured by an intoxicated driver? You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. But first, contact Reisch Law Firm today to speak with our team of experienced personal injury attorneys about your rights and legal options. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How “Respondeat Superior” Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case

How “Respondeat Superior” Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case

One of the first steps in a personal injury case is determining liability. In order to identify who is liable for your injuries, it’s important to understand the concept of “respondeat superior.” Here’s what you need to know about this legal doctrine:

What is Respondeat Superior?

Respondeat superior, which translates to mean “let the master answer,” is a legal doctrine that states an employer may be responsible for the actions of his employee under certain circumstances.

When is an Employer Liable?

An employer cannot be held liable for something that an employee does during his private time. But, an employer is liable for the actions of his employee in the “course of employment.” Basically, this means that if an employee was on the clock and conducting business on behalf of the employer at the time of the accident, the employer may be liable.

It will not always be clear whether an employer is liable for your injuries or not. For instance, an employer is typically liable if one of his delivery truck drivers collides with another vehicle while making deliveries. Therefore, if you are hit by a delivery truck driver, you might automatically assume the employer is liable. But, if the driver was clocked out for a lunch break at the time of the accident, the employer is not liable. It’s best to let an attorney investigate and help you determine whether respondeat superior will come into play in your case.

Types of Cases Involving Respondeat Superior

This legal doctrine may come up in many different types of personal injury cases, but it is especially common in truck accident cases. Why? Truck accidents are often caused by negligent truck drivers. If a negligent truck driver injures or kills someone in a collision, the employer can be liable since the driver was on the clock and performing his basic job duties at the time of the accident.

Why does it matter who you hold liable for your injuries? Employers typically have more insurance coverage than their employees. This means if you can prove that the employer is liable, it may be possible to recover more compensation that you would have received if the individual was the only liable party.

If you have been injured, let a personal injury attorney step in and help you identify the liable parties. The personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm have years of experience representing clients who have been injured by negligent employees. To learn about your legal options, schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The 4 Rules For Giving a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case

The 4 Rules For Giving a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case

Sitting for a deposition in your personal injury case can be nerve-wracking. Your personal injury attorney will thoroughly prepare you prior to the deposition so you know what to expect. But, he may fill your head with a list of do’s and don’ts that leave you feeling overwhelmed. Don’t worry—prepping for a deposition doesn’t have to be complicated. According to the American Bar Association, there are only four simple rules that you need to remember when preparing for a deposition in a personal injury case.

Rule #1: Listen to the question.

Make sure that you listen to the entire question before you start to think of an answer and respond. Don’t interrupt the person who is asking the question or assume that you know what he is asking before he finishes. Be patient so you can hear and process every word that he says.

Rule #2: Be sure you understand the question.

Anything that you say during a deposition can be used as evidence in your case. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you understand the question before you begin to answer it. If you are not 100% sure that you understand a question, ask for clarification. You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed that you don’t understand something.

Rule #3: Think carefully about the answer.

Don’t immediately begin to respond to the question. It’s recommended that you give yourself at least five seconds to think over your answer before you start to respond. This will give you time to think carefully about what you are saying and how it will be interpreted by the other party. Many people fail to pause before responding because they don’t want to seem dishonest, but this should not be a concern. No one will assume that you are trying to think of a lie if you take a few moments to gather your thoughts before responding.

Rule #4: Make it short and sweet.

It’s not a good idea to ramble on and on when answering a question. Respond in short, clear sentences so nothing that you say can be misconstrued. If you give a lengthy response, the other party may hear something of interest and begin asking you follow-up questions that he would have never asked if you hadn’t volunteered the information. Avoid these unnecessary complications by keeping it short and simple.

So you see, preparing for a personal injury deposition doesn’t have to be as challenging as it once seemed. But, it’s still in your best interest to work with an experienced attorney who will be by your side during the deposition to protect your rights.

If you have been injured due to another person’s negligence, seek legal representation from Reisch Law Firm at once. Our personal injury attorneys will guide you through every step of the legal process. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How A Pre-Existing Condition Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case

How A Pre-Existing Condition Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case

Many different factors could impact the amount of compensation that you are awarded in your personal injury case. One of these factors is a pre-existing condition, which is an injury or other type of health condition that existed prior to the accident. Here’s how a pre-existing condition could affect your personal injury case:

Failing to Disclose Pre-Existing Conditions

Personal injury victims must inform the insurance company of any pre-existing conditions, regardless of whether or not they are related to the injuries you sustained in the most recent accident. If you fail to disclose a condition and the insurance company finds out, the insurance adjuster may question your honesty, which could impact how much they are willing to offer you.

Recovering Compensation With A Pre-Existing Condition

It’s often more difficult—but not impossible—to prove that you are entitled to compensation if you have a pre-existing condition. The key is being able to prove that the at-fault party either:

  • Caused the symptoms of your pre-existing condition to return or become worse, or
  • Caused a new injury that is unrelated to the pre-existing condition

Your attorney will rely on your medical records to prove that one or both of the above statements is true. For example, let’s say you were treated by a doctor for severe back pain five years ago. If you have not been treated for back pain since this time, and are now claiming that your back is injured again, this should be enough to prove that the symptoms returned because of the accident.

However, if you had been treated every few months for back pain since the injury first occurred, it will be harder to recover compensation. In this case, the only way to recover compensation would be to provide medical records that prove the injury you have been treated for over the last five years is worse now than it ever was before.

Claim Denial

Sometimes, a pre-existing condition may cause an insurance company to deny your claim. If you are unable to prove that the defendant caused your symptoms to worsen or a new injury, the insurance company may deny your personal injury claim, which means you would not be offered any compensation.

If you have a pre-existing condition, speak to the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. We will ensure that your pre-existing condition does not prevent you from recovering the compensation that you are entitled to after an accident. To schedule a free consultation, call 303-291-0555 or fill out this online form.

Documents to Use As Evidence in A Personal Injury Case

Documents to Use As Evidence in A Personal Injury Case

If you want to recover compensation for your injuries, having the right evidence is key to building a convincing case. Begin gathering these documents as soon as possible so you can use them as evidence in a personal injury case:

Police Report

If a police report was filed, it’s important to get your hands on this document so you can use it as evidence in your claim. Police reports are common types of evidence in car accident cases, because one or more of the drivers involved will call 9-1-1 to request that a police officer comes to the scene. When he arrives, he will talk to witnesses and examine physical evidence before writing a report that identifies the liable party and explains the events leading up to the accident.

To request a police report, you can either contact the police department by phone or see if there is a way to request a report online.

Medical Records

Request a copy of your medical records so you can prove that you immediately sought treatment after the accident and the extent of your injuries. This is a crucial piece of evidence that can make or break your personal injury claim. If you don’t have all of your medical records, it will be nearly impossible to convince the insurance company that you deserve compensation for your injuries.

Journal Entries

It’s recommended that you begin to keep a daily journal immediately after you have sustained injuries. Everyday, write a brief entry that describes the symptoms you are experiencing, how you feel emotionally, and how the injuries have impacted your life. This is often introduced in personal injury cases to show the pain and suffering that the victim has had to endure as a result of her injuries.

Employer Statement

Some injuries are so severe that the victim is forced to take time off of work in order to recover from them. If this happened to you, it’s imperative that you request a statement from your employer that outlines the days you were absent from work. Providing this employer statement will help your attorney negotiate for compensation for your lost wages.

If you have been injured, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will help you understand what documents you will need to provide to strengthen your case. Then, we will immediately begin negotiations with the insurance company. Schedule a free consultation by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Can Gaps in Medical Treatment Affect Your Personal Injury Case?

Can Gaps in Medical Treatment Affect Your Personal Injury Case?

Personal injury attorneys often warn their clients that compensation is never a guarantee because there are so many factors that could affect the outcome of your case. One of these factors is gaps in medical treatment after an accident. How will this affect your case? Here’s what you need to know:

Types of Gaps in Medical Treatment

There are two types of gaps that the insurance company may use against you. The first is a gap between the time that you were injured and the first time you received medical treatment. In this situation, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were not sustained in the accident, because if they were, you wouldn’t have waited so long to get treatment.

The second type of gap in medical treatment is the time between your first and second visit to a doctor. This could affect your ability to recover compensation in some cases. For example, let’s say you visit a doctor immediately after the accident and are told to come back for a follow-up visit in one week. If you wait two months to return to the doctor, this is a huge gap in your treatment. The insurance company will have access to your medical records, so they will see that the doctor requested a follow-up visit in one week, but you chose to wait a month. This shows the insurance adjuster that you did not follow doctor’s orders, which means you could have made your injuries worse because you failed to do what you were supposed to do.

Provide Explanations For Gaps

To prevent these gaps from lowering the amount of compensation you are able to recover, it’s important to provide explanations for any gaps in your medical treatment. For instance, if there was a death in your immediate family, let the insurance company know that this is why you had to push back your follow-up appointment with the doctor. If you went to get a second opinion after your first visit with your doctor, make sure you provide these records as well so the insurance company sees that you were still seeking treatment elsewhere during the gap between the first and second visit. If you don’t have an explanation for any gaps in your treatment, the insurance adjuster will most likely point these gaps out during negotiation process.

Insurance companies will use any excuse they can find to lower the value of your claim, but the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm won’t allow this to happen. Contact our attorneys today if you have been injured due to the negligent acts of another person. Schedule a free consultation 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 Respond to the First Settlement Offer

How to Respond to the First Settlement Offer

If you have been injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, at some point you will most likely receive a settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance company. In fact, it’s estimated that around 95% of personal injury cases are settled outside of the courtroom, so it’s important to know how to respond to the first settlement offer.

First, consider the timing of the offer. Some insurance companies will attempt to settle with you as quickly as possible after the accident. This may sound appealing, but if you settle shortly after you have been injured, you may not even know the true value of your claim. It takes time to gather evidence related to the case and determine the cost of your medical expenses. If you don’t have all the information yet, you won’t know if it’s a fair offer or not. It’s also important that you never accept a settlement without consulting with an attorney. If you haven’t even had time to contact an attorney, it’s best to wait to get his advice.

You should also consider the insurance policy limits before responding to the first offer. If a negligent truck driver has an insurance policy limit of $100,000 and you are only being offered $10,000 despite the severity of your injuries, it may be possible to get a better offer.

Most of the time, the first settlement offer will be low, so don’t let this take you by surprise. If you would like to submit a counteroffer, an attorney can help you put this request in writing. The counteroffer should include evidence that proves the defendant was liable and information related to your injuries. Prove why the counteroffer is reasonable by discussing the medical expenses you have incurred and the pain that you’ve experienced as a result of the injuries.

Although most first offers are low, you should never automatically reject the first offer without reviewing it. In cases where there is a significant amount of evidence proving liability and serious injuries are involved, the insurance company may want to avoid going to trial at all costs. Therefore, the insurance adjuster may make a fair first offer in an attempt to resolve the case outside of the courtroom.

Have you been injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm as soon as possible. It’s in your best interests to talk to our attorneys prior to accepting a settlement offer. Schedule a free consultation by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How Do You Know if You Have a Personal Injury Case?

How Do You Know if You Have a Personal Injury Case?

So, you’ve been injured in a car crash, slip and fall, or some other type of unexpected accident. Many of your friends and family members may have recommended that you contact a attorney to discuss your case. But, how do you know if you have a personal injury case? Here are the three keys to every personal injury claim:

Negligence

First, consider whether the person who is responsible for your injuries was negligent. But, what exactly is negligence? People have a “duty of care,” which means they have a legal responsibility to avoid doing any harm to someone else. If this duty of care is breached, the person is said to be acting negligently.

For example, drivers are expected to operate their vehicles as safely as possible to protect other motorists on the road. A driver who decides to operate his vehicle while intoxicated is breaching his duty to other drivers by driving impaired and putting them in harm’s way.

To put it simply, the defendant is negligent if another reasonable person in the defendant’s situation would have known that his actions could potentially harm another person.

The Negligence Caused Injuries

The presence of negligent behavior is not enough to make a strong personal injury case. You must also be able to show that the negligence directly caused your injuries. Using the example above, the drunk driver may be negligent, but he would not be liable for your injuries if he was not involved in the accident. Even though his decision to drive while impaired was negligent, it did not lead to your injuries, and therefore the defendant is not liable.

However, if the drunk driver collided with you because he was too impaired to operate his vehicle, his negligence directly caused your injuries.

Damages

Finally, you will have to be able to prove that the injuries sustained in the accident caused you harm. Did you incur medical expenses? Did you have to take time off of work in order to recover from the injuries? Did the injuries cause you a great deal of emotional and physical pain? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be able to recover compensation for the harm you have suffered as a result of your injuries.

Identifying these three elements of a personal injury case can be difficult, which is why it’s always in your best interests to discuss your case with an attorney. Contact Reisch Law Firm today to determine if you have a valid personal injury claim. Schedule a free consultation by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.