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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!

Causes of action for injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions include claims based on: a tortfeasor’s (the responsible party) individual liability for the tortfeasor’s own acts and omissions; vicarious liability; contract; an injury to another (i.e. derivative claims); based on wanton and wanton conduct; and the right of subrogation. Negligence is the most often pled cause of action based on a tortfeasor’s own acts or omissions that give rise to a personal injury claim arising out of a motor vehicle collision.

What is important to recognize, however, is that not only the other driver that collided with your car or the driver of the car you were a passenger in might have been at-fault, but the negligence of others who were nowhere near the accident when it occurred may give rise to a cause of action against them. Other persons or entities may also be vicariously liable for the negligence of the at fault driver, meaning they are liable simply because of the type of relationship they had with the at fault driver or because of a contract insuring you. Derivative claims are claims made by persons not based on injuries they suffered in the collision, but are based on their relationship to someone who was injured or killed in the accident and the damages sustained as a result of the effect of the accident on that relationship. A cause of action based upon the willful and wanton conduct of a tortfeasor is one for punitive damages, intended to deter and punish.

Claims made by or against a minor may be brought by or against the minor through a next friend, usually a parent or guardian. In cases where it appears that your damages may exceed the insurance policy limits of the at fault driver, it is suggested that you bring a claim against as many parties as can be named consistent with the facts, rules of ethics and the economic practicalities of the case.

You may ask why do this in cases where an insurance policy will cover both the at-fault driver and, for example, another party brought in under a theory of vicarious liability, but yet will provide the same amount of coverage regardless of whether just the at-fault driver was sued, or both the at-fault driver and the vicariously liable party were both sued. One reason is that the vicariously liable party,such as an employer or parent, may have assets to satisfy all or part of an excess judgment that the at-fault driver does not have. A second reason is that any party at risk of losing personal assets will have an incentive – that a judgment proof at-fault driver would not have – to put pressure individually or through excess counsel on the insurer to settle within policy limits by making telephone calls, writing letters and showing up at a settlement conference. This increases the chances of the case settling, with the insurer paying a higher amount. Also, in cases that do not settle under such circumstances, the insurer may be willing to provide its insureds with a protection letter providing coverage without limit in order to avoid a bad faith claim being asserted against it for not settling within policy limits.

While this is a lot of information, the main takeaway is that if you’ve been injured, there may be parties that are responsible for your injuries that you were not aware of and should be held accountable. The personal injury lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman know this and are here to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

On Monday, January 28th, Denver accident lawyer Steve Kaufman will argue in the Colorado Court of Appeals to uphold his approximately $500,000 verdict on behalf of his injured client against Shelter Insurance.  Mr. Kaufman tried this case with another Kidneigh & Kaufman Denver personal injury lawyer, Charlie Crichton, in August 2011 in Denver District Court.  On behalf of their injured client, Mr. Kaufman and Mr. Crichton argued that the client’s insurer, Shelter Insurance, did not sufficiently advise the client about uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in order to allow him to make an informed decision regarding whether to purchase or reject the coverage.

 

Prior to trial, Shelter Insurance offered nothing in settlement to our client.  After a four day trial, Denver accident lawyers Mr. Kaufman and Mr. Crichton obtained a verdict of approximately $500,000 for their client.  This award included underinsured benefits, double damages for Shelter’s unreasonable delay, attorneys’ fees, interest, and costs.

 

Currently, Shelter Insurance has filed an appeal, briefs have been filed, and Mr. Kaufman is scheduled for oral argument in front of the Court of Appeals on the 28th.  A decision by the Court of Appeals is anticipated shortly thereafter.

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We care about our clients: Denver Personal injury lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman treat each client like a person, not a case. We actually return phone calls and an attorney, and not just a paralegal, will be involved in handling your claim. One thing you can be sure of is that someone will always be there to help you through the process and you will always be able to talk to someone about your case.

 

We obtain the maximum recovery we can: As Denver accident lawyers, we make it our job to try to understand what each client is going through and have successfully received more than $65 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients from insurance companies and corporations. We’ve successfully handled all kinds of personal injury cases and obtained the compensation necessary to help people get back on their feet financially and emotionally following an accident. We’ve helped people who’ve had surgery after a car accident, or a slip and fall at the grocery store or on ice at their apartment.

 

We go above and beyond for our clients and are willing to take cases other attorneys won’t: We’ve helped families whose lives have been turned upside down due to defective products like a heater exploding and birth injuries caused by medical malpractice. The truth is we are willing to go above and beyond for our clients and because we look at each case individually, we have many times taken cases other attorneys have turned down and even cases where our client received a ticket – and We Have Prevailed! We’ve even forced insurance companies to pay 6 to 10 times their policy limits when they denied and low-balled claims.

 

Kidneigh & Kaufman is your Denver personal injury lawyer.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email us. As we like to say, “Our Door is Always Open,” and you are under no obligation to do anything. There is no charge for an initial meeting and, in most cases, we work on a contingent fee basis, meaning we only get paid if you obtain a recovery. Come meet with us and learn more about the Kidneigh & Kaufman difference.

 

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If you’ve been injured in an accident recently, you likely know by now the insurance company is not on your side.  You’ve probably experienced difficulty getting the adjuster to call you back, have property damage that still hasn’t been dealt with, and mounting medical bills you don’t know how you’re going to pay.  You shouldn’t have to deal with these issues on top of treating your physical pain and trying to get well.  Denver accident lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman can help assist you with these matters, as well as obtain compensation for your personal injuries.

 

In this regard, Denver accident lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman can assist you with:

1.  Obtaining compensation for your injuries and lost wages

2.  Getting your car damage paid for

3.  Finding a medical provider to treat you

4.  Getting your medical bills paid

5.  Dealing with the insurance companies

6.  Understanding your insurance coverage

7.  Evaluating your claim

8.  Obtaining necessary documentation to settle your case

9.  Understanding the law as it applies to your claim

10.  Deciding on whether to accept a pre-suit offer or file suit

In addition to helping you with your personal injury matter, Denver accident lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman can also help assist with your criminal defense matters.  Call us today for a free consultation.

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For over 30 years, the lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman, PC have helped injured people obtain settlement for their personal injury cases.  As Denver accident lawyers we can assist you in the following areas:

Personal Injury
We handle all types of personal injury cases.  This includes any auto, motorcycle, truck, or other motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, bicycle and pedestrian accident, animal bites and attacks, sexual assaults, product caused illnesses and injuries, medical malpractice, insurance bad faith and coverage issues, disability, wrongful death, brain damage from fetal distress or other accident, injury or loss of limb from machinery, and any other case involving injury, impairment, or disfigurement.

Automobiles, Motorcycle & Truck Accidents
We help those persons who have been injured as a result of any type of motor vehicle accident, including automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, cargo vans, and RV collisions.  This also includes any pedestrian or bicyclist involved in a collision with a motor vehicle.

Slip and Fall Injuries
Our attorneys can help if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident.  These accidents often occur in parking lots or on common sidewalks or walkways as a result of a landlord or building owner’s failure to keep the area free of ice and snow. Similarly, slip and falls occur regularly in grocery, department, and convenience stores.  Again, these often happen due to the store’s failure to routinely check the store floors for spills or other debris. If you sustain a slip and fall injury, we can help.

Defective Products
Whether it be a design or manufacturing defect, failure to warn of a possible hazard, or a breach of warranty, Kidneigh and Kaufman, PC will help you hold those who make dangerous products responsible for your injuries.  We got our start going after Procter & Gamble because women suffered toxic shock syndrome by using their tampons, and have handled cases against the makers of exploding heaters, defective doors, and other dangerous products.

Brain Injuries
There are many different types of brain injuries, ranging from the obviously traumatic to the seemingly minor. Brain injuries often occur as the result of an auto accident, slip and fall, assault, or medical malpractice.  We understand the complexity of trauma to the brain and know that any type of head injury can result in cognitive and neurological impairment that affects every aspect of your daily life.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims
All too often the injured victim of a negligent driver is not fairly compensated due to the driver’s lack of insurance or inadequate policy limits.  Our attorneys can help determine if there is uninsured or underinsured coverage to help cover your losses and provide you with maximum compensation.

Medical Malpractice
If you’ve been injured as a result of a medical professional’s treatment falling below the standard of care, this is negligence and you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries.  Whether it be a preventable adverse outcome or a failure to act, our legal team can help determine liability and hold the medical professional accountable.

Bad Faith Claims
An insurance company owes you the duty of good faith and fair dealing.  Therefore, if an insurance company wrongfully denies your claim or delays payment to you long after their investigation has been completed and payment deemed owed, you may have a claim for bad faith.  Attorney Steve Kaufman is experienced in handling bad faith claims and has argued and won them at the trial and Appellate court levels.

Insurance Claims
In cases of insurance coverage disputes, we can help review the specific facts of your case and all the relevant policies to determine if you have been wrongfully denied coverage.  Due to the complexity of insurance coverage issues, we understand that it’s not always about the black and white language written in the policy, but often about what you were told by the agent you trusted to guide you, what waivers of coverage you may or may not have signed, and sometimes even the coverage of those persons you resided with at the time of your accident.

Social Security
If you have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from working, you may qualify for social security benefits.  Whether it’s submitting your initial application for benefits or appealing a denial of benefits, our attorneys can provide you with the help and direction you need.

Disability Claims
Insurance companies regularly deny meritorious disability claims.  If you purchased a disability policy and are now fighting with the insurance company to provide the coverage you paid for, we can determine if you have a case and help you obtain the benefits you are entitled to.

Workers’ Compensation
We help workers who have been injured on the job learn their rights, obtain medical treatment, and receive compensation for their lost wages and permanent injuries.

At Kidneigh & Kaufman we understand your needs and will work as your Denver accident lawyer.

KandK

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.

 

     Everyone thinks they know that there are too many frivolous lawsuits because too many unscrupulous lawyers are looking for an easy way to get rich.  Yet, if you were to stop and think about this logically, you would realize there is no way that this even makes sense.  This is because lawyers that handle personal injury cases work on a contingent fee basis, meaning they get paid a percentage of their client’s recovery.  However, if the client receives nothing, then the lawyer gets nothing.  Consequently, because the lawyer is not getting paid by the hour no matter whether the case is a meritorious one or not, there is no reason for an attorney to take a frivolous case since he will have ended up putting in a lot of time for no money when he cannot achieve a settlement for his client.

      But you say the insurance companies will just pay to get rid of the case, even if it is frivolous.  The truth is, insurance companies and corporations fight these cases like crazy, which is why people hire lawyers in the first place!  Think about it, when is the last time you can remember an insurance company or corporation ever doing anything for anyone voluntarily where there was not an underlying profit motive, especially when it involves money.

 

      Of course, everyone’s poster child for the frivolous case is the McDonald’s hot coffee case.  But it pays to know the facts, and the facts are that

 

  • McDonald’s coffee was heated to 180 to 190 degrees, which was at least 40 degrees hotter than the coffee most people drink at home.
  • Full thickness 3rd degree burns to skin will occur in 2 to 7 seconds when liquid contacts skin.
  • The injured lady suffered suffered full thickness burns to her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas, which required skin grafting.
  • More than 700 coffee burns had been made against McDonald’s prior to this incident.
  • McDonald’s never warned about its coffee’s extremely high temperature or that its coffee when coming into contact with skin can cause 3rd degree burns.
  • The lady was willing to settle for $20,000, an offer which McDonald’s rejected.
  • The jury’s award of $200,000 for injuries and pain suffering was reduced by the judge to $160,000.
  • The jury’s punitive damage award of $2.7 million was reduced by the judge to $480,000.

 

      As a result of this lady bringing her so called “frivolous lawsuit,” McDonalds reduced the temperature of its coffee, which has lessened the risk of 3rd degree burns for all of us when we drink McDonalds’ coffee.  So the lesson is, when someone starts going on about all the frivolous lawsuits, ask yourself what their agenda is, because it just doesn’t make sense.

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