Whether you are searching for a medical provider for yourself or a loved one, it is extremely important to take time to research the potential provider prior to receiving medical treatment from that person. The vast majority of people will see multiple medical providers throughout their lifetime and while many of these visits will be routine well-check exams or for the common cold, many of them will be for far more serious ailments. Researching your medical provider beforehand will ensure that he or she is qualified to handle these serious medical issues just as competently as the simpler ones.

When most patients think of “researching” a potential medical provider, they think of asking a friend, family member, or current physician for a recommendation. While this is certainly an important step in the process, and one I would recommend, it does not inform you of the potential provider’s disciplinary background, whether he has ever been deemed by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners to be unfit to practice medicine, or if he has been the subject of previous litigation related to his practice of medicine. While not all this information may be available to the public, much of it is and can be found on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website: https://www.colorado.gov/dora. This site is very simple to navigate and will allow you to enter a provider’s first and last name to obtain any available public disciplinary information on file regarding the provider. More often than not, you will see no disciplinary action on file and can rest assured that your chosen provider is competent to treat you. However, with the minimal amount of time it will take you to perform the search, it is an important and valuable step in your research process.

In addition to the above, I would encourage you to meet with the medical provider in-person prior to signing on as his or her patient. It is important for you to feel that your provider knows you as a person, and not just a patient. It is equally important for you to actually like your provider and feel comfortable describing your medical concerns in detail with him or her. The good news is that there are more than enough medical providers to choose from and if you don’t click with one, you will have no trouble finding someone better suited for you.

Lastly, when dealing with a serious medical issue, always get a second opinion. Even if you have the utmost confidence in your doctor and a terrific rapport, no one provider knows everything and you have nothing to lose by seeing someone else and getting his or her thoughts on your diagnosis and provider’s proposed treatment plan. The health of you and those you care about it not something to take lightly, so take the time to ensure you are receiving the best medical treatment available to you.

While negligence will likely be the principal cause of action for most cases arising out of a motor vehicle collision, it may be necessary to plead other associated causes of action. For example, the Federal Tort Claims Act provides the cause of action based on the negligence of a federal governmental employee. A claim involving the negligence of a state, county, city or political subdivision employee is brought under Colorado’s Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA) to the extent that act waives sovereign immunity pursuant to C.R.S. §24-10-106(1). If you are bringing a claim under the CGIA, it is important that you file a written notice pursuant to C.R.S. §24-10-109 within 182 days after the date of the discovery of the injury. This must be done regardless of whether you knew then all of the elements of the claim or cause of action. Failure to file a written notice within the 182 day time frame will bar any action you may have had.

Usually claims involving the negligence of a public employee under the CGIA are brought against the employee’s governmental employer under a vicarious liability theory. However, the CGIA also allows claims to be brought individually against the employee when the employee acts willfully and wantonly in causing the injury. But, think twice before alleging as part of a cause of action that a public employee acted willfully and wantonly, since if proved the employee’s governmental employer is not itself liable for or obligated to pay on behalf of its employee a settlement involving the employee or judgment against the employee. Furthermore, if a plaintiff does not substantially prevail on a punitive damage claim against a public employee, the court shall award attorneys’ fees
against the plaintiff and/or the plaintiff’s attorney.

A claim for wrongful death is a cause of action that is made in conjunction with the negligence or other cause of action regarding the cause of death. This cause of action includes claims for the survivors’ economic losses and certain non-economic losses. A punitive damage claim can also be made in lieu of having to prove non-economic damages, a cause of action for solatium can be pled that entitles the plaintiff to non-economic damages in a fixed amount. During the first year following death, only the spouse may make a wrongful death claim, unless the spouse elects to allow the decedent’s heirs to join in the claim or to pursue the claim without the spouse. A survival cause of action also should be pled to recover the loss of earnings and expenses, such as medical expenses, the decedent incurred prior to death.

Cell Phones and Driving

As 2016 begins, it is safe to say that the majority of drivers on the road not only have a cell phone, but that cell phone is always in the car with them. With this in mind, I would urge all of those drivers who this applies to, to put your cell phone away each and every time you start your car. In short, STOP using your cell phone while you’re driving! Each year, over 300,000 car accidents occur as a result of drivers using their cell phones, both talking and texting, instead of paying attention to the road. With this many accidents and serious injuries, including fatalities, being caused by cell phone usage while driving, it is time that those of us on the road start taking driving seriously again. The average car weighs 2,000-4,000 pounds and there is no way to safely operate one without giving your full attention to the task at hand. Whether you have been driving for many years or only a few months, the importance of paying attention to the road and the traffic around you is not something that requires less attention over the years.

Many people have the opinion that they are “good at texting and driving.” There is simply no such thing. If you are driving and also using your cell phone, there is a good chance that at some point you will cause an accident that will most likely injure you, someone you love, or someone that you have never even met but who’s life you will significantly affect. At the very least, being at fault for any accident will almost certainly cause you an extreme amount of frustration as you deal with making a claim with your insurance company, handling the repairs to your vehicle, paying for the repairs and your higher insurance premium, etc. The point is that it simply is not worth it to use your cell phone while driving.

Think about every text or phone call you have made while driving and really ask yourself if it couldn’t wait until you were out of the car. 99% of the time, that call or text can wait. In the rare case that it truly cannot, then all you have to do is pull into the nearest parking area and safely use your phone. It really is that easy. The truth is that no one really needs to use their phone while driving. You don’t need to check your Facebook, Instagram, or email when you’re in the car, all of this will still be there when you reach your destination. For those of you who are driving with your kids in the car, think about the example you want to set for them. Eventually they too will be out on the road and need to understand the importance of not using a cell phone while driving.

So the next time you get in your car, don’t tempt yourself. Put your cell phone someplace that is out of reach so that when you’re at a stoplight and itching to check your phone you won’t be able to.

No Fault vs Tort

Colorado has Changed from a No Fault to a Tort System

No Fault Benefits were part of every car insurance policy issued or renewed in the State of Colorado before July 1, 2003. This meant that if you were injured in an automobile accident, the insurer of the car you were in was responsible for paying your medical and rehabilitation bills, wage loss, and essential services. This was true even if the other person was at fault and the person driving the car you were in did absolutely nothing wrong.

Policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2003, do not provide No Fault coverage and a “Tort” system governs. This means that your health insurance will be responsible for paying your medical bills in the event you are injured in an accident, unless you have chosen to purchase med pay coverage under your auto policy.

Regardless of whether you have health insurance or med pay coverage, a claim can be made against the other driver for medical and rehabilitation expenses, wage loss, and essential services, but only where the other driver was at fault. However, in cases where your medical and rehabilitation expenses have been paid by your health insurance, it is likely that your health carrier will want to be reimbursed out of your recovery from the other driver based upon a subrogation clause in the policy.

Frequently, an attorney will be able to negotiate a reduced payment to your insurer on its subrogation claim. For policies issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2009, you will have med pay coverage (unless you signed a written waiver) and your auto carrier will have no subrogation rights in your recovery.


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Uninsured and UMC
by shansby under CC BY  with wpseopix.com


Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage is the cheapest and most valuable insurance you can buy.

This is because it protects you and your family. If you are in an accident and the other at fault driver did not have insurance, then your own UM coverage kicks in.

In other words, your own company stands in the shoes of the other driver and is liable to you for such things as your pain and suffering as well as loss of enjoyment of life.

Everyone has UM coverage unless they specifically reject UM coverage in writing, which no one should ever do. It is in addition to other benefits you may have to protect you, such as med pay coverage.

UM coverage also includes Underinsurance (UIM) benefits, which pays you when the other party has insurance, but it is insufficient to cover all of your damages.

Best of all, making a claim for UM/UIM benefits will not cause your rates to go up. In cases of accidents, insurance premiums only go up for at fault drivers.

Insurance companies are often reluctant to tell you about your UM or UIM benefits when you are in an accident or to pay you a fair settlement under this coverage for your injuries.

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Many people who have been injured in an accident are afraid to see a lawyer because they are worried about the cost.

This shouldn’t be the case.

At Kidneigh and Kaufman, we work on a contingent fee basis. This means that we only get paid if you receive a recovery on your case.

In other words, if you don’t receive compensation, you owe us nothing for our fee.

This is really a good system since you are not paying out-of-pocket as you go along.

And, your lawyer only gets paid for getting something done for you.

Since your lawyer only gets paid for results, there is no incentive to drag your case out, or to mislead you into thinking you have a good case when you really don’t.

Most importantly, the contingent fee system enables people who otherwise could not afford a lawyer to recover for their injuries and what they’ve had to endure.

Car AccidentPlease place this in your car with the insurance card and registration

DO NOT move your vehicle unless it presents a danger to you or others.

Tell the other driver not to move their vehicle.

Call the police at the scene (unless snow alert conditions – then file a counter report). DO NOT let the other driver talk you out of it!

Write down the other driver’s name, address, work and home phone numbers, and the vehicle owner’s name, address, and phone numbers

Find out the other person’s insurance information: name of company; policy number; agent’s name and phone number.

Note the make, model, and license number of the other vehicle.

Record the names, addresses, and work and home phone numbers of witnesses!

Notify your own insurance company as soon as possible, even if you are not hurt or at fault.

Take pictures of your car’s damage and any visible injuries you have.

It is a good idea to keep a small notebook and pen in your car at all times so you’ll be able to write down all the necessary information you’ll need in the event of an accident.

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