Tag: personal injury

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.

Common Personal Injury Deposition Questions

Common Personal Injury Deposition Questions

A deposition is one of many tools that attorneys may use to uncover evidence during the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit. Your personal injury attorney will thoroughly prepare you prior to a deposition so you know exactly what to expect. What questions will you hear? Here are some of the most common personal injury deposition questions:

Employment Questions

Are you trying to recover lost wages from the at-fault party? If so, expect to hear a lot of questions related to your employment history. The defendant’s attorney will probably ask you to explain what you currently do for a living, how much you make, and how long you have held this position. You might also be asked to list the jobs you’ve held over the last 5-10 years and the reason you left each of these positions.

Medical History

The defendant’s attorney will also ask you questions about your medical history. The purpose of these questions is to determine whether you had any preexisting conditions that could impact your claim. The attorney will very detailed information about which doctors you have seen and what types of treatment you have received over the last 5-10 years. Answer each of these questions to the best of your ability and then add something along the lines of “That’s all that I can recall,” to protect yourself in the event that you accidentally left something out.

Life Impact

During the deposition, it’s very likely that you will be asked how your injuries have impacted your life. How have the injuries affected your day-to-day life? Are there any activities that you can no longer do because of your injuries? The attorney will also want to know whether your injuries have impacted the relationships in your life. For instance, many brain injury victims experience severe emotional and behavioral changes that make it difficult for them to maintain relationships with their loved ones. All of this information will be used to determine whether you should receive pain and suffering damages for your injuries.

Medical Treatment

Another topic that will be covered in your deposition is the medical treatment you received after you were injured. You will be asked to name the doctors you have visited, the treatments you have received, and the dates you received treatment. If you waited to seek medical attention or if there was a gap in your treatment, you will be expected to explain why you made these decisions during your deposition.

While discussing this topic, the defendant’s attorney may ask you a few questions that are designed to get you to say something that can be used against you later. For example, he may ask “But, you’re feeling better today, right?” Discuss how to answer this type of question with your attorney prior to the deposition. Remember, your attorney will be by your side so he can object to the questioning at any point.

If you have been injured, speak to a personal injury attorney at Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will guide you through every step of the legal process to ensure you know what to expect. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Common Settlement Tactics Used by Insurance Adjusters

Common Settlement Tactics Used by Insurance Adjusters

If you are a personal injury victim, at some point you will probably have to deal with an insurance adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company. An insurance adjuster is responsible for gathering evidence related to the incident, calculating the value of your claim, and negotiating a settlement with you. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters do not have your best interests in mind. Their goal is to get you to settle for as little as possible so they can save the company money. Here are some of the common settlement tactics used by insurance adjusters to accomplish this goal:

Recorded Statement

The insurance adjuster may contact you and ask you to make a recorded statement regarding the incident that led to your injuries. This may seem like a harmless request, but it’s not. If you agree to make a statement, anything that you say could be twisted around and used against you. Even something as minor as saying “I’m fine” when the insurance adjuster asks “How are you?” could be used as evidence that you are not really injured. Do not answer any questions or speak about your injuries until you have talked to an attorney.

Delaying the Settlement

Insurance adjusters are also known to delay the settlement by requesting information that they do not need in order to make an offer. By delaying the resolution of the case, the insurance adjuster hopes that you will become fed up with waiting and agree to accept a settlement that is lower than what you deserve.

Medical Authorization Forms

At some point, the insurance adjuster may ask you to sign a medical authorization form so he can obtain your medical records related to the accident. What he may forget to tell you is that by signing this form, you give the insurance adjuster access to all of your medical records, not just those that are associated with the accident. The insurance adjuster will use immediately begin looking for evidence that you had a pre-existing condition that limits the amount of compensation you are able to recover. Keep your medical history private—don’t sign anything without speaking to an attorney.

Be Nice

You may be surprised at how friendly the insurance adjuster is towards you, especially if you’ve been warned about negotiating with an insurance company. But, this is all an act. The insurance adjuster will continue to be nice to you so you don’t feel threatened enough to hire an attorney.

Don’t let these settlement tactics affect the outcome of your personal injury claim. If you have been injured, contact Reisch Law Firm at once. Our attorneys will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf so the insurance adjuster does not have the opportunity to use these tactics on you. 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.

Common Personal Injury Terms You Should Know

Common Personal Injury Terms You Should Know

Personal injury victims often feel lost when talking to attorneys about their situation. One of the reasons why they feel this way is because of the many legal terms that attorneys use when discussing personal injury cases. If you feel as if your attorney is speaking a different language, it may help to become familiar with some of these common personal injury terms:

Damages

When you hear the word “damages,” you may think your attorney is referring to your physical injuries or property damage. But in the legal world, the term damages is actually used to describe monetary compensation that can be recovered in a personal injury case.

Contingency Fee

Has your lawyer mentioned that he works on a contingency fee basis? Most personal injury attorneys do. This means that you will not be responsible for paying any attorneys’ fees unless your attorney is able to recover compensation by reaching a settlement or winning a trial verdict. If your attorney fails to recover compensation for you, he will not be paid for his legal services.

Loss of Earnings

Some injuries are so severe that the victim is forced to take time off of work in order to recover. In other cases, the victim may be required to change to a less physically demanding job or give up working altogether. In these situations, the victim may be able to recover compensation from the defendant for her loss of earnings.

Negligence

This is a term that you will probably hear from your personal injury attorney a lot. Legally speaking, negligence is the failure to exercise a reasonable level of care. In simpler terms, it means that a person is acting in a careless manner. Negligence is often the reason why people are injured in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall incidents, and many other personal injury cases.

Statute of Limitations

The state puts a time limit on how long victims have to file a personal injury case. In Colorado, personal injury victims have two years from the date of the injury to file a case. The only exception to this rule is if the victim was injured in a motor vehicle accident. These victims have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. After this time has passed, the victim loses the right to take legal action against the party that has caused him harm.

Have you been injured? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our experienced attorneys will always work closely with you to ensure that you understand everything that is going on in your personal injury case. Schedule a free consultation today 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.

What You Need to Know About Modified Comparative Negligence Laws in Colorado

What You Need to Know About Modified Comparative Negligence Laws in Colorado

The amount of compensation that you are able to recover for a personal injury may be affected by the modified comparative negligence laws in Colorado. What are these laws? How will they affect your settlement or verdict? Here’s everything that you need to know:

The Basics of Comparative Negligence

In order to recover compensation in a personal injury claim, you must be able to show that the defendant caused your injuries. But in some cases, it’s possible that both you and the defendant contributed to the cause of your injuries. For example, if you slip on a puddle of water inside a retail store and injure yourself, you may try to recover compensation from the property owner because he allowed this hazard to exist on his property. However, let’s say you were distracted by a cell phone at the time of the accident. If you could have easily avoided the accident by paying attention to where you were walking, you may be partially at fault.

In these cases, the defendant and plaintiff will each be assigned a percentage of the blame. In the above example, the property owner may be assigned 80% of the blame whereas the victim may receive 20% of it. The percentage of blame that is assigned to you is important because it will affect the amount of compensation that you are able to recover.

How Modified Comparative Negligence Laws Affect Compensation

Your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault that has been assigned to you. Let’s say that the total compensation awarded to you was $10,000 in the above slip and fall example. Because you were found to be 20% at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 20%, or $2,000 and you would only receive $8,000.

However, some victims may not be able to recover any compensation at all if they are partially to blame for the accident. This occurs in cases where the victim is found to be over 50% responsible. Because the victim is assigned more of the blame than the defendant, the victim is not eligible for compensation.

The concept of modified comparative negligence can come into play in any type of personal injury case. It’s important that you work with an attorney who knows how to prove that the other party was at fault and that your contribution to the cause of the accident was minimal.

Have you been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Seek legal representation from Reisch Law Firm today. Our team of attorneys can gather the evidence needed to prove that you were not at fault for the accident so you can recover the maximum amount of compensation. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.