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Every year, nearly 30 million school age children participate in youth sports throughout the United States, and according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control this number is only increasing. Whether it is your elementary school child participating in youth soccer or t-ball for the first time or your high school athlete playing tacking football or being a member of the cheerleading team, every parent wants to ensure their child is safe from sports related injuries. While, it’s nearly impossible to keep your child from sustaining an injury during the many years spent playing youth sports, it is possible to keep your children from suffering from the almost 50% of youth sports related injuries that the CDC considers preventable.

One of the most common injuries suffered in youth sports is simply through overuse. This is particularly true among middle school and high school age children, who are attending multiple practices throughout the week and often several games on the weekend, doing the same repetitive motions over and over. Because overuse injuries can be more difficult to spot than acute ones, such as a broken arm, torn acl, etc., it is important to watch for signs of pain in your child that can signify an overuse injury. These signs may include pain when walking, favoring certain body parts, weakness, and inability to bear weight. If you notice something is off with your child, the best thing you can do to help avoid a serious injury is to have your child take a break to rest and heal. While most kids will not want to do this, continuing to play will only worsen the injury and lengthen the amount of time missed. As the parent, you must take charge and make decisions that may leave your child and even the coach upset, but remember that your child’s health and safety takes precedence over a missed practice or game.

While overuse may be one of the more common causes of injury, the majority of parents tend to be most concerned with their child suffering a concussion injury. Of course, when we think of concussions and the types of sports most likely to result in your child getting one, football is the first sport to come to mind. With more and more information coming out regarding the relatedness between playing football and suffering from long term brain diseases, many parents are voicing their legitimate concerns about whether youth football is safe for their children to play anymore. Similarly, these same parents may allow their children to play flag football, but not tackle until they are older, if even at all. In an effort to address these concerns, the Heads Up football program has been introduced to help teach player safety when playing and reduce the number of concussion injuries.

While the decision to allow your child to play youth football is solely a parental one, it is important to note that football is not the only youth sport that results in head injuries. Both soccer and basketball rank as the number 1 and number 2 highest risk sport for concussions for girls, with gymnastics on the rise. Youth sports is an excellent way for your children to exercise, stay healthy, be part of a team, and learn about competing and being a good sport and thus, the point is not to scare parents away from allowing their children to participate in youth sports, but to be aware of the risks involved and make an effort to learn the best ways to combat and reduce those risks.

Holiday Safety Tips

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time for decorating, celebrating, and spending time with loved ones. Whatever holiday you celebrate this season, it’s especially important to be mindful of safety this time of year. For many of us, it’s a holiday tradition to decorate the house, whether it be with a Christmas tree, a Menorah, or outdoor lights strung on trees or the house. When thinking about where to put your tree, be sure to place it far away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, radiators, holiday candles, etc. And for those of you that enjoy a real tree, always keep it well hydrated. Not only does a dry tree look bad, but it’s a real fire hazard. If your holiday tradition includes lighting the candles on the Menorah, or for those of you who simply enjoy burning holiday candles, be sure to never go to bed with candles still burning. Unfortunately, thousands of fire related injuries occur every year as a result of candles. To ensure this does not happen in your home, remember to never leave a candle burning unattended, keep candles on flat surfaces, and most importantly, keep candles out of reach of children.

When putting up holiday lights, take the time to check for any damaged bulbs and ensure that the bulbs you purchase have been lab tested and are safe for both indoor and outdoor use. Just as important as making sure your bulbs are in working order, is being cautious when actually hanging them, particularly on the outdoor perimeter of your home. You will likely be using a ladder, and when doing so, always make sure to wear the proper footwear to avoid slipping or falling and that the ladder is firmly on the ground before climbing up. You should never try to hang your lights, or use a ladder, during inclement weather and of course, make sure your ladder is in good working condition and is not worn or damaged. And, just like holiday candles, please turn off all your holiday lights before going to bed.

The holidays are also a time of travel for many of us. Whether it’s traveling to visit family out of state or simply driving to holiday parties, it’s important to be extra careful on the roads this time of year. When driving long distances, make sure you have performed the necessary maintenance on your vehicle to ensure it’s functioning properly. Always keep an emergency kit in your car in the event you do experience vehicle trouble or are involved in an accident. Depending on where you live, you’re likely to be driving on snow and ice covered roads so exercise caution and adjust your speed accordingly. In celebrating the festivities this season, many of us will enjoy an alcoholic drink (or several). If so, make sure you have a designated driver and never drive impaired. With the abundance of Uber and Lyft drivers available, it’s easy to make the right decision.

Happy Holidays!

Back to School Safety Tips

With the summer coming to a close and school quickly approaching, it’s important to start thinking about how to keep your kids safe as they head back to school. If you are lucky enough to live within walking distance of your child’s school then you likely spend a lot of time with your child walking, biking, or using a scooter going to and from school multiple times a week. While this is a great opportunity to spend time with your child and also get exercise, it’s also a good time to review safety rules with your child. If you walk to school, let your child know the importance of always walking on the sidewalk and using the crosswalk when crossing the street. If a sidewalk is not available to walk on, teach your kids to walk facing traffic so they are visible to oncoming vehicles. For younger children, it is helpful to review looking both ways when crossing the street to see if cars are coming and to make sure all cars have come to a complete stop before crossing in front of them. For older kids who are attached to their cell phones, make sure they know to pay attention to traffic and not be looking down, using their phone when crossing the street.

If your child bikes to school, be sure a helmet is always being worn and that it is properly fitted. A secured helmet is imperative in the event of an accident. Teach your children the rules of the road and ensure they know to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and to get off their bike and walk it in the crosswalk. For those kids who ride the bus to school, make sure you have made certain that they know how to get to and from the bus stop on their own or that you have dropped them at the stop and know they are safely there.

Safety extends to school hours as well, particularly for younger children who are constantly climbing on and jumping from playground equipment. Make sure they know to stay on their age assigned playground and only play on equipment they have proven to be competent playing on. For older kids, talk with them about safety when leaving school grounds during off periods and for lunch. This is especially important for teenagers who may have recently started driving and are giving friends rides. They need to understand the responsibility that comes with driving and be 100% committed to driving safely and text-free. In this regard, parents are the best examples of safe driving, so be sure to be an attentive driver and keep your phone put away!

Jury Duty

While very few people actually want to get picked for jury duty, it’s truly an experience that those who do get chosen come to appreciate.  Because nearly every person who had served on a jury will tell you how beneficial the experience was, it’s too bad that the majority of people will do just about any thing to get out of jury duty.  So next time, you get a summons in the mail to appear for jury duty, try to view the situation differently that you normally would and think about how if you are chosen to be on the jury, you have the ability to truly make a difference in other people’s lives.

Jury participation is critical for our legal system and ensures a fair verdict.  Jurors, not judges and lawyers, are the ones who actually decide guilt and damages.  Thus, being a present and thoughtful juror matters as well.  The parties involved in the trial are real people whose lives will be affected greatly by the outcome of the trial and they are relying on you to pay attention to the arguments and follow the law.  Too often, jurors use this opportunity to advance their own agendas and beliefs.  While it’s difficult to separate your personal opinion, it’s imperative that as a juror you remain impartial and follow the law.  To do otherwise, directly causes injustice to the case parties.

 

Just like voting and paying taxes are an obligation of U.S. citizenship, so is jury duty.  However, rather than viewing it as an obligation and something to be dreaded, get excited that you have the opportunity to participate firsthand.

Vote!

With election day being a mere 4 days away, now is the time to make sure you’ve researched the issues and decided who and what you will vote for.  Whether you’re a democrat or republican, it’s essential you vote and make sure your voice is heard.  Those who don’t vote often argue that they’re just one person and their vote doesn’t really matter.  The truth is that every single person’s vote counts and in fact, in 2000 the presidential election truly came down to a couple hundred votes in Florida.

 

Moreover, the right to vote is a great privilege and it wasn’t so long ago that not everyone had this right.  For many years, women, minorities, and those under 21 were denied the right to vote.  A lot of hard work and sacrifice went into ensuring equal opportunity voting and you should be proud to go down to the polls on November 6th (or cast your vote early by mail!) and cast your vote.

 

Lastly, even if you don’t consider yourself a particularly political person, there’s surely something you strongly agree or disagree with and it’s important you support the candidate or proposition that aligns with your views.  Election outcomes truly do affect you and your family and you do have the power to make a difference.

 

Happy Voting!

Vote

Halloween Safety Tips

In honor of Halloween 2012, our blog post today is a list of helpful tips to keep your family safe while enjoying the holiday:

-If you have young children, it is imperative that an adult supervises their trick or treating. If it’s a large group of kids, it’s a good idea to have 2-3 adults to keep track of everyone.

-Monitor the candy they are getting and make sure they do not eat anything until you have had a chance to go home and look through it.

-For kids old enough to trick or treat without adult supervision:

-make sure they carry a fully charged cell phone, are traveling with a group, and understand the importance of staying together as a group.

-set a curfew and plan a route beforehand so you know where to go if they are not home on time.

-have your child take a flashlight and place reflective tape on any costumes that may be hard to see when dark.

-explain the importance of staying on main streets with other trick or treaters and not cutting through alleys or parks.

-When purchasing a costumes make sure it is made of flame retardant material and fits properly to avoid any trip and falls.

-If your child is wearing a mask, check that the eye holes are big enough to clearly see out of and that there is proper ventilation.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Halloween

Settling a Minor’s Case

At Kidneigh & Kaufman we have been very successful in handling personal injury matters for minor children who have been injured. Most commonly when a minor gets injured in an accident, it is his or her parent who initiates the filing of a claim and who gives authority to the attorney throughout the settlement process.  While a minor’s parent has the authority to settle the minor’s claim, approval is often sought by a probate court as well. 

 

Probate court approval is generally sought at the insistence of the tortfeasor’s insurance company or if the net settlement is $10,000 or more.  If this is the situation, the Petitioner’s attorney should file a Petition to Settle Personal Injury Claim and possibly a Petition for Appointment of Conservator as well- although a conservator is not mandatory.  It’s important that the Petitioner’s attorney file the documents seeking approval as it would be a conflict of interest for the tortfeasor’s attorney to do so.

 

The rationale behind seeking probate court approval is to ensure the minor’s settlement funds will be preserved for the minor when he or she reaches the age of 18 or 21 (the age of access varies among probate courts) and is able to access the money.  This protects against any misuse of the settlement funds by someone other than the minor.  If the probate court approves the settlement then the funds will be placed in a restricted account, often through the court itself.  However, in certain situations, the Petitioners may request a certain sum of money be received initially and not placed in the restricted account for payment of past due medical bills, future medical treatment of the minor, or other care that is necessary prior to the age of access.  If appropriate, the court may allow this.

 

For more information regarding seeking court approval for a minor’s settlement, see Colorado Probate Procedure Rule 16.

Probate

Wrongful Death

In Colorado, a statutory right of recovery exists against a tortfeasor who causes the death of another.  The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Colorado is two years and begins to run on the date of the decedent’s death.  This type of claim is governed by the Colorado Wrongful Death Act and C.R.S. 13-21-201(1) and states that only certain parties are entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.  These persons are the decedent’s spouse, “heir or heirs”, or the “designated beneficiary.”  However, if the decedent is single and has no children, the surviving parents are entitled to bring a lawsuit.

 

It’s important to know that in the first year following the decedent’s death, only the spouse is entitled to make a claim.  The three exceptions to this are 1. if the spouse files a written election to include the heir or heirs in the claim; 2. the decedent is single and has no children or designated beneficiary; or 3. the decedent is unmarried but has heirs.  If an action is not filed in the first year, then in the second year following the decedent’s death, either the spouse, heir(s), or designated beneficiary may file a lawsuit.  In the event, the heir(s) file a separate lawsuit during this second year, the spouse and/or designated beneficiary has the right to join the action within 90 days of the filing.

 

In order to prove a wrongful death case, the claimant must prove that the tortfeasor negligently caused the decedent’s death.  Like other types of actions in Colorado, there is a cap on non-economic damages.  Currently, the cap is $341,250 and applies on a per-claim basis, not a per-defendant basis.  However, in a wrongful death case arising from a medical malpractice, the non-economic damages cap is $300,000 per the governing Health Care Availability Act.  Economic damages are also available and while there is no cap, such damages can only be recovered by the decedent’s dependents, most often the spouse or minor children.

 

Kidneigh & Kaufman is experienced in handling wrongful death cases and our attorney are available to answer any questions you may have.

wrongful death

In Colorado, and many other states, proper liability insurance is required to drive a car.  In fact, since 1997, Colorado has maintained a database that lists specific individuals and whether they hold the proper amount of insurance.  Because motor vehicle accidents are common, dangerous, and expensive, the goal of the database program is to decrease the number of uninsured drivers on the road and thus the expenses caused by these accidents.  This database is available and often reviewed by traffic courts, government agencies, and law enforcement personnel.

 

The minimum amount of bodily injury liability insurance required in Colorado is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.  $15,000 per accident is mandatory for property damage.  While not mandatory, underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is also extremely important to purchase in order to protect yourself and ensure you are taken care of in the event you are injured in an accident and the at fault party has minimum or no insurance.  You should also be aware that a policy holder must be advised about uninsured and underinsured coverage, given the option to purchase it, and can only waive this type of coverage in writing.  If not waived in writing by the policyholder, the minimum limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident will apply to the policy.

 

Lastly, if you are ever in a situation where you receive your bill for your insurance premium and feel it is incorrect, be sure to pay your premium in a timely manner to ensure you are covered and then  dispute the bill.  Please do not put yourself in a situation where you do not pay your premium, lose your coverage, and then get in an accident without any insurance coverage.  You can always get a refund from the insurance company if they did indeed charge you too much for your premium, but you can’t go back in time and get coverage for an accident that occurred during the period of time you refused to pay your premium because you were disputing the amount.

car insurance

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