The Insurance Company offered Me a Settlement. What Should I do?

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If you were recently in an auto accident and have not yet had the chance to obtain a personal injury attorney, the insurance company might offer you a settlement in order to close your claim before you have had a chance to fully evaluate your injuries and your options. If you accept the settlement, you may be accepting an amount far lower than what you are entitled to.

Settlements are not offered without an absolute release on your behalf. This means that you cannot accept the settlement and cash the settlement check without giving up your rights to further payment from that insurance company. Depending on the permanency of your injury, the extent of your injury, past and future medical bills, and any lost wages that you may have incurred, it is important that a personal injury attorney evaluate your case prior to your accepting a settlement agreement.

If you’re being offered a settlement on an auto accident case and do not know if the settlement is fair, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin to discuss your options.

Halloween Safety – Staying Safe While Trick-or-Treating

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Halloween is only one week away and soon the streets will be filled with trick-or-treaters dressed in their costumes as they go door-to-door in their quest for candy. Unfortunately, kids and families must share these streets with drivers who may be distracted or under of the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you are out trick-or-treating this year, be aware of cars on the streets. Drivers may have a hard time seeing children, especially small children or children dressed in dark costumes, particularly in areas that do not have adequate street lighting.

All pedestrians have the duty to exercise reasonable care to maintain their own safety. This year, take the following precautions to help stay safe:

  • Travel in groups;
  • Travel with at least one adult;
  • Stick to streets with good street lights;
  • Carry flashlights (turned on), glow sticks, or light-up jewelry;
  • Wear colorful costumes;
  • Trick-or-Treat early in the evening when there is still sunlight; and
  • Stay on sidewalks and only use crosswalks to cross the street;
  • Be mindful of cars that may be exiting or entering driveways.

What is UIM Coverage?

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If you’ve recently been in an auto-collision, you may have been asked whether or not you have “UIM” Coverage.

UIM or “Underinsured Motorist Insurance” (also sometimes called just “UM”) covers your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages if your damages exceed the amount of coverage that the at-fault driver has. For example, if you are seriously injured in an auto-collision and have $150,000 in medical bills, and the at-fault driver only had coverage for $25,000, you have $125,000 in damages that exceed the at-fault driver’s coverage. If you have your own UIM Coverage in the amount of $300,000, you can make a claim to have your UIM Coverage pay all of your damages in excess of the at-fault driver’s policy up to your own policy limits.

UIM Coverage is important because many drivers in Colorado only carry the state minimum amount of insurance coverage – $25,000. If you are seriously injured by a driver who does not have adequate insurance coverage, you need to have your own coverage to protect yourself. Don’t leave yourself and your family at risk of an underinsured, or uninsured, driver!

Insurance Companies Use Your Facebook Against You

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If you’ve been injured and are involved in a claim against an insurance company, be aware that the insurance company will be looking at everything you post online in order to deny your claim! They will use all of your posts, tweets, and pictures to claim that you aren’t injured.

Setting your Facebook page to “private” doesn’t protect you. During a lawsuit, the insurance company may try to subpoena your entire Facebook page and Twitter account, even asking for all of your passwords and usernames so they can see anything private that you may have done.  And it’s legal!

If you’ve been in an accident, the safest thing for you to do is to de-activate your social media accounts during the claims process.  In the very least, be mindful of what you post, watch what others are “tagging” you in, and remember, social media is public!

Unavoidable Ice – Tips to Keep You Safe

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With colder weather, holidays, and ski season soon approaching, we will also be encountering dangerous icy conditions. Falling on ice is one of Colorado’s most common winter injuries and reasons for bringing a lawsuit. It takes less than two seconds from the moment that you slip to when your body hits the ground, leaving you vulnerable to serious injuries and broken bones.

Businesses in Colorado which are open to the general public have a duty to protect their patrons from dangerous ice build-up. When you’re out and about this winter, remember these following tips:

  • Stay on designated sidewalks and walkways.
  • Wear appropriate winter shoes with good traction.
  • Only walk in well-lit areas.
  • If you notice dangerous ice, tell an employee.
  • Walk slowly and keep your center of gravity over your front leg.
  • Keep your arms free to help you balance. If you are carrying heavy bags, ask an employee to help carry them to your car.

Ghosts on Trial: Haunted House Lawsuits

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When your haunted house visit leaves you with more than just nightmares.

Now that it’s October, signs of fall are popping up all over Denver. Leaves are changing, pumpkins are popping up on front porches, and advertisements for haunted houses are appearing.
If you’re one of many haunted house patrons, you may love the fear and suspense that comes from these attractions. But not everyone leaves haunted houses unafflicted. If you come away feeling harmed, don’t blame the ghosts, clowns, and zombies, accordingly to recent court decisions.

In a recent lawsuit, an adult became frightened while visiting a local haunted house and attempted to flee the house to get away from a saw-wielding employee. During his attempted escape, he fell and injured his arm. The man then sued the haunted house. The lawsuit was eventually thrown out of court with the judge noting that “the point of the [haunted house] is to scare people.”

In another lawsuit, an adult sued a haunted house for emotional distress after seeing what she described as excessively gory and frightening scenes during the tour.

Being frightened is an inherent risk, and often the whole point, of visiting a haunted house. When a customer visits an attraction and becomes injured, either physically or emotionally, due to an inherent risk, it is difficult to recover damages. It is only when the haunted house unreasonably increases the normal inherent risks of a haunted house that they can become responsible for injuries. For example, if a large quantity of fake blood on the floor caused slippery conditions that led to a slip-and-fall injury, this may be actionable. However, simply the fright caused by such a scene would be considered an inherent risk.

If you venture out into one of Denver’s many frightening haunted houses this October, make sure you know what you’re signing up for.