“Meeting By Accident” ™ – Bell & Pollock, Experienced Denver Attorneys

“Meeting by Accident” ™ is special series created by Denver law firm Bell & Pollock, P.C. Along with our podcasts and videos, our “Meeting by Accident” ™ series provides a wealth of knowledge about a wide range of important legal issues. This feature gives you answers for the most commonly asked questions people ask when they are in an accident. These short useful commentaries address many common questions people have about auto accidents, workers compensation and other personal injury topics that matter to you. We’re proud to be your legal information center in Colorado and hope you explore our website.

The following “Meeting by Accident” ™ questions and answers are arranged by topic. More detailed information about workers compensation, auto accidents and many other topics is available on our website.

WORKERS COMPENSATION


AUTO ACCIDENTS

WORKERS COMPENSATION

Can the workers compensation insurance company refuse to pay for treatment even if the doctor they choose says it’s necessary? Unfortunately, yes, but only under special procedures designated by the Colorado Workers Compensation Rules of Procedure. When you are injured at work, you are treated by a doctor the insurance company selects. Sometimes that doctor will request a surgical procedure which the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for. The insurance company will submit what is called a “Contest of a Denial for Prior Authorization.” The Workers Compensation Rules (W.R.C.P. 16-10) set forth specific procedures on governing when, how, and upon what grounds an insurer may contest paying for procedures or treatment necessary to relieve injured workers from the effects of an industrial injury. When an insurer refuses to pay for medical treatment for medical reasons, the denial must be supported by report from a qualified healthcare professional explaining the reasons for the contest, including citations to applicable medical treatment guidelines and identification of information deemed most likely to influence reconsideration of the requested procedure. Your treating doctor only has a limited time from issuance of the denial to request reconsideration. If an Administrative Law Judge subsequently determines the denial of prior authorization to be unreasonable, you may request penalties against the insurer. You should contact the lawyers at Bell & Pollock, P.C. to ensure you receive all available medical treatment and benefits that are provided and available to you under Colorado’s Workers Compensation laws.
Back to Top


What jurors won’t hear – evidence of “insurance” at trial: At trial, jurors will not hear any evidence that the defendant has insurance or the amount of insurance. The defendant’s insurance company pays for the defendant’s attorneys, defendant’s expert doctors, and all costs of litigation. The reason most cases go to trial is because the defendant’s insurance company takes an unreasonable position and refuses to settle or pay the amount reasonably owed to the plaintiff; the defendant’s themselves – the individuals sitting the courtroom – have no say. Jurors will never hear who is orchestrating the litigation. This is because the Colorado Rules of Evidence prohibit it. Colorado Rule of Evidence, Rule 411, requires that such evidence be excluded from the trial except when it is offered for other purposes, such as proof of agency, ownership, or control or bias or prejudice of a witness. Accordingly, unless the defendant is employed by the insurance company, jurors will not hear any evidence regarding who is paying for the defendant’s trial expenses, or that the insurance company, not the individual defendant, will be responsible for paying the verdict.
Back to Top


Can I change my workers compensation doctor? When you are injured at work, the employer’s insurance company selects your doctor. If you are dissatisfied regarding the selection of physician to treat your work-related injuries, an injured worker has the opportunity to change their authorized treating physician. The Workers Compensation Rules of Procedure require the employer or insurer to provide injured workers with a written list of at least two physicians or two corporate medical providers who do not have common ownership. The Rules require this list be provided within seven (7) business days following the date the employer as notice of the injury. The employee must request a change of physician within ninety days (90) after the date of the injury. The requested change must be one of the physicians designated on the list. The Rules require specified procedure to effectuate the change.
Back to Top

AUTO ACCIDENTS

What happens to my case if the person who caused the accident doesn’t have enough or any insurance? – For insurance policies issued or renewed after January 1, 2008, Colorado law requires an insurance company to offer underinsured motorist coverage to a policyholder. Colorado Law requires the policy holder the right to obtain higher limits of underinsured motorist coverage in an amount equal to the insured bodily injury liability limits. C.R.S. 10-4-609. For instance, if an insurance company issues a $100,000 liability policy, they likewise have a duty to notify you that you may obtain $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage. The Courts have observed that an insurer’s duty of notification and offer must be performed in a manner reasonably calculated to permit the potential purchaser to make an informed decision on whether to purchase UM/UIM coverage higher than the minimum statutory liability limits….” Allstate Insurance Co. v. Parfrey, 830 P.2d 905 (Colo.1992). In the event you are injured and your insurance policy identifies less underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage than bodily injury (BI), you should contact the lawyers at Bell & Pollock, P.C. to review your policy to ensure all available insurance benefits are provided and available to you.
Back to Top


Colorado seatbelt laws – Under Colorado Law, specifically C.R.S. § 42-4-237, evidence that a plaintiff was not wearing her seatbelt is admissible at trial and will allow a defendant to argue for lower damages for “pain and suffering” endured by a plaintiff as a result of any injuries sustained in an automobile accident. The above Statute does NOT limit recovery for economic losses including medical bills.
Back to Top


Is texting while driving legal in Colorado? – No. Texting while driving is against the law in Colorado. Pursuant to a newly enacted Colorado State Law Ban on “Driving while texting” (D.W.T.), if you are caught D.W.T. you will face misdemeanor charges as well as a $50 fine. Moreover, if you are in an accident and you think the other driver may have been texting, make sure you report it to the investigating officer, the insurance adjuster, and your attorney.
Back to Top


What is the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for car accidents in Colorado? – In Colorado, under C.R.S. § 13-80-102, the Statute of Limitations, or more simply, the deadline for filing a lawsuit for personal injuries caused by another, is two years. However, if these old injuries were in any way caused by or as the result of the operation of a motor vehicle, the Statute of Limitations is extended to three (3) years. This extension is due in part to the serious and often long-term injuries caused by automobile accidents. Please visit our Radio Podcasts for additional information.
Back to Top


What is comparative negligence? – Colorado has a system in place which limits the potential recovery in lawsuits for plaintiffs who are also found to be negligent and contributing to their injuries. Under the Comparative Negligence Statute, C.R.S. § 13-21-111, a jury verdict in favor of a plaintiff is reduced by the percentage the plaintiff is determined to be at fault by the jury. Importantly, if the jury finds a plaintiff 50 percent or more at fault for his/her injuries, they recover nothing.
Back to Top


Presumption of negligence in rear-end accidents – In Colorado, there is legal presumption that when a driver of an automobile hits another vehicle in the rear, that driver was negligent. If the defendant cannot overcome this presumption at trial through the production of evidence showing he/she was not negligent, the Jury will be specifically instructed by the presiding judge that they must find that the defendant driver was negligent.
Back to Top


Dram-shop liability and drunk driving accidents – The Colorado Dram Shop Statute, C.R.S. § 12-47-801, applies to Bar Owners and “Social Party Hosts” and establishes when liability exists for people who are injured as a result of them serving/providing alcohol to another person. Under this statute, liability exists for alcohol licensees if they willingly or knowingly serve a person who is visibly intoxicated or under twenty one years old.
Back to Top


Trucking regulations – There a hundreds of special rules, known as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, that apply just to truck drivers and trucking companies. Truckers are required to keep detailed logs, undergo alcohol and drug testing, and meet special employment requirements. If you’ve been hit by a truck, an attorney is almost always needed to interpret these complex and voluminous regulations. Please visit our Trucking Injury Video Seminar for more information on how the FMCSRs relate to your case.
Back to Top


What is the family car doctrine? – What happens when a child gets in an accident with their parent’s car? What if a parent lets a driver with a suspended license borrow their vehicle? The family car doctrine or negligent entrustment tort may be used to hold parents responsible when their child gets in a car accident.
Back to Top


Medical payments coverage for car accident injury victims – If you are in an accident, even one precautionary trip to the hospital can cost thousands of dollars. Automobile insurance policies in Colorado now contain at least five thousand dollars in medical pay coverage, meaning expenses pursuant to medically necessary, trauma-related care may be covered, even if you have no health insurance. Under C.R.S. § 10-4-635, insurers are required to include med pay coverage in your policy unless you specifically waive that coverage in writing. Ask your insurer about med pay coverage today.
Back to Top


What is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage? – What happens if the person that hits you has no insurance? What if they don’t have enough to cover your damages? What if the person that hits you runs away and cannot be found? Your insurance policy may have UM/UIM coverage, designed to protect you against drivers who are uninsured or underinsured. A new Colorado statute, C.R.S. § 10-4-609, allows you to stack your UM/UIM coverage on top of any other coverage you may have, putting more money in your pocket and less in insurance company coffers. Bell & Pollock, P.C. recommends that you carry as much UM/UIM coverage as possible so that you are protected against irresponsible drivers.
Back to Top


How do I know if I have brain injury after a car accident? – Just because you don’t lose consciousness does not mean that you haven’t suffered a concussion or other head injury. If you experience symptoms like dizziness, blurred vision, lightheadedness, fatigue, headaches or other cognitive difficulty following an accident, seek medical care immediately. If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, you will need to consult with medical professionals and possibly undergo neuropsychological testing to prove your claim in a court of law.
Back to Top


Should I admit anything at the scene of an auto accident? – If you are involved in an accident, it is important to be polite and calm. However, being apologetic or admitting fault at the scene can come back to haunt you later down the road. Admissions by a party are an exception to the hearsay rule. The statements you make to others at the scene of an accident are admissible in court. Don’t try to pacify another driver by stating you are at fault when you are not. If you are confronted by another party to an accident, politely decline to discuss who is at fault. We find many people are in shock and traumatized at the scene. Wait until you have had sufficient time to collect your thoughts as to what exactly happened before making a statement.
Back to Top

Straightforward advice from Colorado attorneys

Don’t wait to take action after an accident in Colorado. Contact a lawyer you can trust to protect your best interests. Contact Bell & Pollock. With more than 25 years of experience, Colorado accident lawyers Gary Bell Jr. and Bradley Pollock know how to successfully handle a wide range of legal matters.

Don’t take chances with your future. Take back control. You have too much riding on the outcome of your case. This may be your only opportunity for justice. Seize it! Call (877) 744-5900 or (303) 795-5900 anytime 24 hours a day and schedule a free case evaluation. We’re ready and eager to take on your case. We know that the work we do today means so much to so many people for many years to come. That’s why we work so hard for injury victims just like you.

Bell & Pollock – “Champions of the People.”