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Larimer County motor vehicle accident lawyerA person’s ability to work and support themself is paramount to their independence and, often, their self-esteem. For someone who is proud of the work they do and the life they have built, being unable to work because of an accident caused by a negligent driver can bring major life changes. You may worry about how you will support yourself and your family after having your ability to earn income taken from you. While nothing can restore you to your way of life before the motor vehicle accident, there may be compensation available that can make up for your lost future earnings. Those with short-term injuries can recover compensation for their lost wages - as can those with permanent injuries. 

The policy goal behind personal injury compensation is to leave you in the same position you were in before a negligent actor injured you, at least to the extent that money can make up for the harm inflicted. A skilled lawyer can fight for you to receive the best possible settlement or award. 

Compensation for Lost Future Earnings

Generally, car accident victims who have suffered permanent disabling injuries will be eligible to recover the entire amount that they would have earned throughout the course of their lives. Calculating this amount can be a challenging task. Numerous variables can affect a person’s lifetime earnings. Were you in line for a promotion and a big raise? Do you have other health issues that may have caused you to retire prematurely? 

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Larimer County motorcyle accident lawyerEven when a motorcycle rider is intensely cautious, they cannot always prevent accidents caused by negligent drivers of larger motor vehicles. A motorcyclist may not be seen by a driver who is operating inattentively, at an excessive speed, or otherwise engaged in a negligent driving practice. Catastrophic injuries may be inflicted on a motorcyclist, who lacks the protection of an enclosed vehicle. 

Rather than enjoying modern protections such as seatbelts, airbags, and the security of a metal structure surrounding them, motorcyclists typically bear the full force of a crash impact. While helmets and other gear offer some degree of protection, such measures are frequently insufficient to prevent grievous bodily harm. A motorcycle accident may inflict substantially life-altering injuries, both to the physical body and to the mind. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, an attorney may be able to recover compensation on your behalf. 

Common Harms Associated With Motorcycle Accidents

Harms commonly associated with collisions between a motorcycle and a car include: 

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Recovering Compensation After a Pile-Up

Posted on in Car Accident

Larimer County car crash lawyerPile-ups can be scary, especially if you were one of the first vehicles to get involved in the crash. You may have been hit by one car and forced into another, then hit again. You may even have been trapped in the center, watching helplessly as other drivers came from behind and kept adding to the large-scale car crash. One of the more difficult aspects of recovering compensation after a pile-up is finding out who exactly is liable when multiple drivers made mistakes that contributed to the crash. 

Understanding Who May be Liable to You

If a driver’s negligence caused or worsened your injuries, that driver may be liable to you. In the context of a large crash involving multiple vehicles, this could mean that multiple parties are liable to you. In fact, it is likely that you have a claim against more than one driver.  

If only one driver on the road is careless and causes a crash, odds are, they will not manage to hit more than one or maybe two careful drivers before coming to a stop. Pile-ups often happen when one careless driver causes a collision while sharing the road with other careless drivers, who cause more collisions. 

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Larimer County car crash lawyerJust as nothing you post on the internet is ever really gone, nothing you post on the internet is ever really private. There is a saying - three people may keep a secret if two of them are dead. If you post something that you make visible to two people, you should assume that way more than two people could see it. While you are injured after a car accident, you may find yourself wanting to use social media even more than you usually do. You might be home from work and unable to do much physically, driving you toward digital entertainment. Plus, making a quick social media post can be a convenient way to keep your loved ones updated on how your recovery is going. However, a misstep on social media could derail your case. You should speak to your lawyer about what you should not do on social media while your case is pending. 

Tips for Cautious Social Media Use During an Open Case

There are a few guidelines that may help head off any potential social media-induced problems in your case. Tips include: 

  • Avoid injury details - It is best to avoid discussing the specifics of your injuries and subsequent recovery. Medical terms can be tricky, and there is always a risk that you will misunderstand, poorly explain, or misstate something your doctor or care provider told you. The defendant’s lawyer will pick up on any inconsistency. 

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Fort Collins car crash attorneyThe only thing worse than getting hurt in a motor vehicle accident is having to deal with the party who caused to accident trying to lie their way out of it. You know that you had the right of way, but the responsible driver is making the same claim. Unfortunately, this is a very common situation. Much as most criminal defendants plead “not guilty” even if they were caught red-handed, quite a few drivers accused of causing a wreck will refuse to admit fault. Of course, like their criminal counterparts, these careless drivers rarely get their way. The truth does often come out, although it may require a skilled investigation by a well-qualified lawyer. Our firm can help you gather the proof you need to recover compensation whether the liable driver wants to cooperate or not. 

Proving Which Driver Was At Fault for Your Crash

If you spoke to the other driver at the scene, you may or may not have been able to get a “read” on them. If you get the sense right away that they are going to try blaming the accident on you, it is very important that you call a lawyer right away - ideally that same day. Some types of evidence need to be collected, documented, or preserved almost immediately. The evidence your lawyer might use to show that the other driver is lying could include: 

  • Crash site photos - Pictures of the accident scene taken shortly after the accident can provide some of the most compelling evidence regarding which driver was at fault. The positions of, and damage to, both vehicles can usually demonstrate who hit who fairly clearly. However, these photos need to be taken shortly following the crash, while both damaged vehicles are still sitting where they came to rest. If you are too badly injured to get out and take these pictures yourself, you will need someone who can. 

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Ft. Collins child injury lawyerWhile children are young and still developing, the impact of being hit by a car or involved in a motor vehicle accident can have a lasting impact. When an adult who is already settled in a career is badly or permanently injured, it is fairly easy to quantify damages like lost wages and lost future earnings. It can be harder to quantify the harm done to a child whose future is yet unknown. 

Yet children are just as entitled as adults to receive full and complete compensation for the harm that another party has carelessly caused to them. If your child has suffered a lasting injury caused by a negligent driver, our attorneys can help you fight to receive the compensation your child needs. 

How to File a Claim for a Child

Children cannot file a lawsuit on their own behalf. A legal representative will need to be appointed to handle the child’s claim. This is usually the child’s parent or another responsible adult in the child’s life.  If the responsible party offers an acceptable settlement on behalf of the child, it will likely need to be approved by a court before it is finalized. 

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Fort Collins workers' compensation lawyerDepending on where you get your information, you may have read some false information about workers’ compensation. If most of what you know about workers’ compensation was told to you by your employer, friends who have never personally used it, or popular media, odds are that you are familiar with at least one of a few common myths. Having the correct information about workers’ compensation is the key to making sure that you are adequately compensated after a workplace injury. After learning what is true about workers’ compensation and what is a myth, you may be ready to go ahead and file a claim and our attorneys can help. 

Workers’ Compensation Myths and Facts

Many of the myths going around about workers’ compensation have some truth to them but are still inaccurate. Some half-truths and myths you might have heard about using workers’ compensation include: 

  • You could get fired - Some injured workers say that they will not file a claim out of fear of losing their jobs. However, retaliating against an employee who uses workers’ compensation is illegal. If your employer tries to fire you, you could bring a wrongful termination claim. A successful wrongful termination claim could get you your job back in addition to lost wages, reimbursement for legal fees, and more. 

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Fort Collins personal injury lawyerIn most rear-end collisions, the driver in the rear vehicle is almost automatically considered at fault. Usually, rear-end collisions occur when the driver in the back was tailgating and could not stop in time, or failed to factor slippery road conditions into their stopping distance. However, there are instances where the driver in front is completely at fault for causing a rear-end collision. If you are in the odd position of having been forced to hit the vehicle in front of you, you may be able to recover compensation from the driver who actually caused the car accident. Because these circumstances are rare - although not nearly as rare as one might think - proving that the driver ahead was at fault may be challenging. You will need a skilled Colorado personal injury attorney to help you gather and submit the evidence you need. 

When is the Front Driver Responsible for a Rear-End Collision?

Rear-end collisions caused by the driver in front tend to fall into one of a few common categories, including:  

  • Cut-offs - Another driver has been riding your bumper for the last five miles. They finally get around you, but now they are angry that you slowed them down. For “revenge,” they whip into your lane and illegally brake-check you. You have no chance of stopping in time to avoid hitting them. Here, the driver in front is at fault for the accident. 

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Larimer County Car Crash LawyerSome people prefer not to deal with the police at all, even if they are positive they have not broken the law. This is understandable. However, if you have been involved in a traffic accident, notifying law enforcement is a necessity. In Colorado, drivers who have been involved in a collision are required to report it promptly. Even if the accident was minor - or it seems minor until your neck starts hurting the next day - filing a police report can protect you. Trying to file a claim for compensation is going to be a lot more difficult if you did not call the police right away. While you may not want to, it is crucial that you make the call. Your next phone call should be to a lawyer. 

Colorado Law Requires You to Call the Police After an Accident

According to state law, drivers who have been involved in a motor vehicle collision that causes injury or property damage must immediately report it to law enforcement. The only way you can legally avoid calling the police after an accident is if the collision was so minor that there is no damage at all to either vehicle. 

It is best to call 911 if anyone is hurt or in further danger, or if your cars are blocking the road and cannot be moved. You can call the non-emergency number if it seems that everyone is unharmed, out of danger, and off the road. 

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colorado car accident lawyerA hit-and-run accident can be very frustrating, but there is greater hope of being able to identify the responsible driver based on damage to their vehicle. When another driver forces you to crash your car without actually hitting you, it can be trickier trying to identify them. It can also be even more frustrating knowing that the driver who caused your accident got away with not so much as a ding on their car, while you are left injured on the side of the road. There are still strategies an attorney can use to help you recover compensation for a miss-and-run collision. Identifying the liable driver may not be as impossible as it seems. Even if it does prove impossible, you may still be able to recover compensation using your own uninsured motorist insurance. Our firm can help you explore your options and discover the best way to get the compensation you need. 

What is a Miss-and-Run Accident?

A hit-and-run is when another driver hits you and then flees the scene. A miss-and-run is when another driver almost hits you, forces you to crash, and then flees the scene. Common types of accidents that fall into the miss-and-run category include: 

  • Near head-on collision - Maybe the other driver was trying to pass, or maybe they were just in the wrong lane. Either way, you had to swerve off the road on short notice to avoid a head-on collision. Instead of hitting another vehicle, you hit a tree or wind up in a ditch. 

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larimer-county-drunk-driving-accident-lawyer.jpgDuring the summer, people tend to gather for outdoor events. People have barbecues, picnics, get-togethers at the lake, and bonfires. Summer holidays like the 4th of July tend to be some of the most popular drinking days of the year. While summer can be a lot of fun, it can also be dangerous when it comes to being on the roads. Fatalities and injuries associated with drunk drivers increase during the summer. Because drunk drivers can be so erratic in their movements, there is little that sober drivers can do to protect themselves against those who are intoxicated. If you have been injured by a drunk driver or have lost a close family member to a drunk driver, you may be entitled to recover compensation. 

Why There Are More Drunk Drivers in the Warmer Seasons

There are a number of reasons that drunk driving tends to spike in the summer. These reasons include: 

  • School break - High school and college students are typically on break during the summer. With no schoolwork to worry about and plenty of free time on their hands, teens have plenty of opportunities to party. Although teens are off, their parents still have to work and leave their teens unsupervised. 

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fort collins work injury lawyerSince 2018, Colorado has specifically extended Worker’s Compensation protection to undocumented workers. While it may be illegal for a U.S, company to employ undocumented immigrants, if they do, and one gets hurt, the injured worker is just as entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation as a U.S. citizen. If being undocumented is holding you back from pursuing compensation after a workplace injury, it should not. While seeking Workers’ Compensation may be intimidating for undocumented individuals, you should know that you have rights. Our law firm has handled workplace injury claims for undocumented workers before, with great success. If you were injured at work, we may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve. 

How Can I be Sure That I am Eligible to Receive Workers’ Compensation?

Look no further than Colorado Revised Statue section 8-40-202. The law in this state explicitly states that for the purposes of Workers’ Compensation eligibility, the term “employee” includes foreign nationals. There is no distinction between those who are lawfully present in the country and permitted to work and those who entered the country unlawfully and are not legally eligible for employment. Therefore, all that matter is that you are, in fact, an employee working for and being paid by an employer. 

Can My Employer Argue That I Should Not Recover Certain Damages Based on My Undocumented Status?

Absolutely not. Employers in Colorado have unsuccessfully tried to deny compensation for lost wages or disability because they cannot legally work in the first place. If you were injured while working, you are losing wages and future earnings because of your injuries, not because you technically are not eligible to work. Colorado state courts have routinely shot down arguments that lost wages should not be paid to undocumented workers. 

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larimer-county-car-accident-attorney.jpgWhat you do not do after a car accident is just as important as what you do. Taking the right steps is important, but so is avoiding the wrong steps. Doing the wrong thing after a negligent driver crashes into you could end up costing you. There are a few common mistakes that car accident attorneys see over and over again, all of which could potentially reduce the amount you can recover or even prevent you from winning your claim. Calling a lawyer immediately is never the wrong answer when you have been hurt in a crash. You may not be thinking clearly after being injured in such a sudden and potentially traumatic way. Insurance companies may take advantage of this by contacting you quickly, possibly while you are still recovering in the hospital. It is better to have legal counsel take over sooner rather than later. 

5 Actions You Should Never Take in the Aftermath of a Car Wreck

From the moment your vehicle comes to a stop, your course of action can affect your ability to recover complete compensation. A mistake could be very costly. If you were hurt in a car accident, make sure you do not: 

  • Apologize - If you are normally a polite person, your first instinct may be to apologize to the other driver regardless of whose fault the accident was. This can be a big mistake - your well-intentioned apology could be construed as you admitting fault. 

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larimer-county-car-accident-lawyer.jpgAfter a car accident, you may not feel up to tackling the legal side of the aftermath right away. You probably want to rest and recover. You may even still be in the hospital if your injuries were very serious. However, there are certain types of evidence that need to be collected promptly. That is where a good lawyer comes in. An attorney can take over the process of investigating and collecting evidence very quickly. It is important that you do not wait too long to get in touch with a lawyer. Some physical evidence at the crash scene may be cleaned up or washed away by the weather very quickly. Other evidence, like witness reports, tend to rapidly diminish in quality and reliability. Ideally, you should make the call to a law firm like Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. on the day of the accident if you are able to. 

What Time-Sensitive Evidence Needs to Be Preserved Quickly?

Some types of evidence will still be available a week later. If your vehicle was totaled, there may not be a huge rush to go document all the damage. For other types of evidence, the window to preserve it is much shorter. Types of time-sensitive evidence that need to be gathered quickly after a car accident include: 

  • Debris - Debris from a car accident is likely to be removed from the road in a hurry. Being able to prove where the defendant’s bumper landed in relation to where pieces of your broken windshield wound up could be important in proving whose fault the accident was. The sooner someone gets to the crash site the better. 

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ft-collins-workplace-injury-lawyer.jpgNo matter what line of work you are in, there is always the potential for a workplace injury. Whether you do your job sitting at a desk or on a construction site, no worksite is completely safe. While in Colorado, you do not need to prove that your employer was negligent in causing your injuries, a large percentage of workplace injuries could have been prevented by a more safety-minded employer. It is not always the conditions of the work site alone that lead to injuries. The true causes of workplace injuries are often much more difficult to spot than a stray live wire. If you were injured in the workplace, Workers’ Compensation is most likely available to you. An attorney can help you determine how best to pursue compensation. 

Common Safety Concerns in the Workplace

Some of the greatest dangers in the workplace are the hardest to notice. A few safety concerns you may be faced with in your workplace include: 

  • Lack of training - If you are using any kind of potentially risky equipment or working in a hazardous environment, adequate training is everything. You should be taught how to safely use every piece of equipment you work with, as should your coworkers. Something as simple as a mechanical floor cleaner can become hazardous if you are not given clear instructions on how to control it or shut it off in case of an emergency. 

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fort-collins-car-accident-lawyer.jpgRollover accidents can be some of the most deadly, and the most terrifying to live through. A rollover accident is not an overly common event. It takes significant force or a steep enough hill to send a car rolling. These accidents tend to involve major carelessness or even recklessness on the part of the at-fault driver. Rollover accidents can be devastating for everyone involved, including the loved ones of those inside the car. If you were injured in a rollover accident caused by an unsafe driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. As rollovers often involve severe injuries that will require ongoing care, it is important that you let a lawyer help you calculate the amount you deserve before you consider an insurance company’s offer. 

What Careless or Reckless Behaviors Cause Rollover Accidents?

There are some environmental factors that play into the likelihood of rollover accidents. For example, we have a lot of steep hills here in Colorado that can turn a simple run-off-the-road accident into a rollover. But the people who bear the responsibility for rollover crashes are those who cause them. Some dangerous actions that can cause rollovers include:

  • Excessive speeding - Extreme speeds can create the force necessary to tip a car and cause it to roll. Even on a perfectly flat road, a collision at the right angle can flip a vehicle. 

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CO injury lawyerYou probably more or less know what to do after a routine car accident with another driver in a personal vehicle. However, if the driver who caused your accident was a city or state employee in a government vehicle, that can really throw a wrench in things. Government vehicles are of course insured like any other vehicle on the road should be. However, the process of dealing with the aftermath may look a bit different. Everything from reporting the crash to filing a claim and recovering compensation may involve just a slightly different procedure. The safest thing to do is to work with an attorney who is experienced in handling personal injury claims against the government before. Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. has this type of experience, and we are not intimidated by the idea of going up against the state.

Examples of Government Vehicles in Colorado

The term “government vehicle” is fairly broad. A government vehicle could be a:

  • USPS truck
  • A vehicle used by a public university
  • Firetruck, police car, or ambulance
  • Garbage truck
  • School bus
  • Street sweeper

These are just a few examples. Any vehicle operated by any city, state, or federal employee in the course of their job duties may count.

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CO injury lawyerNeutral third-party witnesses can make or break a motor vehicle accident case. People who just happened to be nearby when you were hit by a negligent driver and do not know either party can provide some of the strongest and most believable evidence in your case. Should it come to a trial, juries tend to put a lot of trust in bystander witnesses as they have absolutely nothing to lose or gain and no reason to lie. They can also provide a different, outside perspective on what happened from their own point of view. If you are able to, it is a good idea to flag down potential witnesses after the accident. Both the police and your attorney will be highly interested in what they have to say.

Why Are Eyewitnesses Important After a Negligent Driver Causes an Accident?

There are two sides to every story. Your version of events and the careless driver’s version of events are likely to be quite different. The driver who hit you is likely to make excuses or even outright lie in an effort to escape liability. Witnesses can be very helpful in a number of ways, including:

  • Unbiased account - Both you and the other driver have a strong interest in getting the court or insurance companies to accept your own version of the story. You want to win financial compensation, and the other driver or their insurance company does not want to pay you. Witnesses have no interest in the outcome of the case, so are more likely to be believed.
  • Better perspective - You may not have even noticed the other vehicle until it hit you. A witness may have observed the other driver doing something careless or reckless, like rapidly weaving in and out of traffic or texting. It is possible that outsider witnesses noticed something you did not that could help you prove your case.
  • Influencing police reports - When witnesses stick around to talk to the police, the statements they give often help the police form a judgment about who caused the accident.

Approaching Witnesses After an Accident

If you are able to remain at the scene after an accident, it is a good idea to get the attention of any bystanders who may have seen the accident. Politely asking them to wait for the police to arrive can be helpful. You may encounter witnesses who are unwilling to stay put or give a statement, but you may be pleasantly surprised at most people’s willingness to assist.

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CO accident lawyerWaiting too long to call a lawyer after you have been injured in a car accident could be a costly mistake. Making this common mistake could make recovering financial compensation more difficult. It is quite common for people to think about it for several days or more before finally deciding to reach out to an attorney. People may initially think they can handle their claim alone, only to discover that the process is much more complicated than they thought. The best possible course of action after a car accident is to call an attorney as immediately as is possible. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the easier it may be for them to uncover the evidence they need to prove your case. An attorney can also help you avoid making further mistakes that could impact your case. Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. is always ready to start protecting your interests as soon as we hear from you.

Why Calling a Lawyer Quickly is Important

Obviously, calling a lawyer immediately is not possible in all cases. Those who have sustained major injuries may not be in any condition to make phone calls until after they have been stabilized or treated at the hospital. The important thing is that you call once you are safely able to do so. You should not wait to reach out for legal help for reasons such as:

  • Preserving crash site - Some of the most important physical evidence you will need is at the scene where the accident happened. It is best if your lawyer is able to get to the crash site quickly before it has been disturbed too much. Evidence like broken glass can be swept away. The damaged vehicles are likely to be towed. Tire tracks vanish in the rain. Having an attorney to go investigate the same day is ideal when possible.
  • Avoiding insurance tricks - Car insurance companies love to take advantage of people their clients have injured. Especially when you are in a vulnerable state, it can be very difficult to avoid falling into one of their traps. You will start getting calls from insurance soon, so it is best if you can simply tell them to call your lawyer instead.
  • Getting instructions - Your attorney is likely to have specific advice for your particular situation that can help you avoid potential pitfalls. Each car accident situation is unique. It is always better to have a legal professional who is familiar with the claims process to guide you.

Even if it has been a couple of days since your accident, an attorney can still help you. However, the sooner you call the better off you may be.

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CO injury lawyerA car insurance company is first and foremost, a business designed to make money. Earning a profit is their number one goal. Offering you fair and full compensation after one of their customers injures you is contrary to that goal. In nearly all cases, that means they are not going to do it unless someone - usually your lawyer - forces their hand a bit. This is why the other driver’s insurance company is going to be very eager to talk to you as soon as possible after the accident. You may not even be home from the hospital when you start getting phone calls. Generally, their goal is to get to you before you can get to a lawyer. They know they are more likely to “win” when they deal with an unrepresented party. This means that contacting an experienced attorney is rather urgent when you have been hurt in a car accident. Insurance representatives can be very convincing.

What Tactics Might Insurance Companies Use When Dealing With an Unrepresented Party?

Ideally, you should avoid talking to the other driver’s insurance company other than to give them your lawyer’s contact information. They may attempt to cheat you out of a fair settlement using tricks like:

  • High-sounding offer - The dollar amount of their initial offer might sound good, but that is usually only because you have not been able to do the math yet. $50,000 might sound great until you find out that your hospital bill alone is $35,000, physical therapy could be another $5,000 and you are going to lose three months' worth of wages while you recover. Also, your vehicle is still totaled. Now that offer does not seem nearly as good.
  • Disarming friendliness - The first representative who calls you about a potential settlement is not going to try launching into adversarial negotiations. They are going to ask you how you are feeling and doing as if that is their main concern. You may be taken aback by how kind and caring the representative seems. This is generally just a ploy to get you to let your guard down so that you are more likely to trust them.
  • Accusations - On the other hand, you should also not be surprised if it sounds like they believe the accident was your fault. No matter how obvious it may seem that the other driver was at fault, their insurance company may be desperate to pass all or some of the blame onto you. They may even imply that they have some type of “evidence” that you did something to cause the crash.

Even if you are normally a shrewd business person, you are not fully yourself when you are injured and in pain. It is much fairer to let an attorney take on the insurance company for you.

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

123 North College Avenue, Suite 160,
Fort Collins, CO 80524

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Greeley, Colorado 80634 |
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