Tag: personal injury

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.