123 North College Avenue, Suite 160, Fort Collins, CO 80524
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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

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Larimer County workplace injury attorney

The topic of unemployment, along with the benefits a worker may be entitled to after being laid off or furloughed, has been garnering increased media attention due to rising rates of unemployment and recent debate at the federal level. Although the spike of unemployment in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic has begun to decrease, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in June that the unemployment rate across most industries still more than doubles the rate of unemployment from the same time frame in years past. Given our current state of affairs in this country, it is important to consider how workers’ compensation may affect unemployed workers in Colorado.

Can I Receive Unemployment Benefits and Workers’ Comp Simultaneously?

This sudden rise in the rates of unemployment across the country has caused many families a lot of stress and worry, but how does this surge impact those currently receiving workers’ compensation? The number of nonfatal workplace accidents recorded in 2018 exceeded 900,000 according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Even though the number is sure to be lower in 2020 due to higher than normal unemployment rates and quarantining practices, many people receiving workers’ compensation may find themselves also being displaced by the pandemic.

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Fort Collins catastrophic injury attorney

You may have recently heard of catastrophic injuries for the first time, especially with regard to brain damage. Recent discussions within the NFL surrounding traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy—TBI and CTE, respectively have brought catastrophic injuries into daily discourse and increased awareness of such injuries, many of which are suffered in car accidents. As you may have guessed, catastrophic injuries are among the most severe a person can suffer, including—but not limited to—“… those causing permanent severe functional disability, and those causing severe head or neck trauma with no permanent disability.” While emphasizing head, spine, neck, and brain trauma, many debilitating injuries are included within this category, up to and including death. For victims seeking compensation, an experienced personal injury attorney can help determine if a catastrophic injury was caused by another party’s negligence.

Coping Strategies for Serious Injuries

Beyond the physical trauma, a catastrophic injury-induced loss of function or disability can cause serious, lasting mental anguish, and victims may find themselves experiencing the famous five stages of grief. Although not every victim of a catastrophic injury will necessarily experience all five stages, here is what the average victim may experience along with strategies for coping with the effects of their injury:

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Larimer County workplace injury attorney heatstroke

Summer is often regarded as the time of year when construction projects peak. Regardless of the type of project, orange barrels and caution cones will be a common sight across the country for the next several months. Although summertime may see many construction projects undertaken in earnest, it is also a time when outdoor workers and laborers face increased risks due to heat-related illnesses. According to Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) magazine, “Productivity decreases by about one percent for every degree the temperature rises above 77 degrees Fahrenheit.” In sweltering 90 degree days, this can lead to substantial reductions in productivity, but also serious heat-related injuries for workers. In Colorado, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in the event of a workplace accident. 

What Is Heat Stress?

Extended periods of time in a hot and sunny environment can lead to serious heat-related injuries, which may be exacerbated by heavy gear and equipment, manual labor, lack of airflow, lack of water, and more. Heat-related injuries can range from heat rash to the possibly lethal heatstroke, or sunstroke as it is sometimes called. Between these two lies a variety of other potentially dangerous conditions, and somewhere in the middle of the spectrum lies “heat stress.” Although heat stress itself is an umbrella term for several heat-related injuries, heat stress injuries share many symptoms. 

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Fort Collins personal injury attorney

From the many popular lakes, public pools, rivers, and mineral hot springs, Colorado boasts some of the most varied and exciting waterways in the country. Although pandemic precautions may cause some of these popular pools and swimming spots to operate below capacity—or even close entirely—numerous Coloradoans and their families will find themselves entering the water at some point this summer. Whether boating, kayaking, or swimming, these popular aquatic activities come with their fair share of risks.

You may be surprised to hear that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recorded an average of 3,500 non-boating related drownings each year from 2005-2014. Kids are common victims, with drowning listed as the leading cause of death for children ages 0-4. Nonfatal submersion injuries are also very common for young kids. Although they are nonfatal, these submersion injuries can lead to hospitalization, permanent disabilities, or loss of function due to a decrease in oxygen levels in the brain.

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Fort Collins accident lawyerEven though lockdowns and quarantines as a response to the coronavirus pandemic have kept many Coloradoans off the roads, the number of driving citations issued by law enforcement for speeding has not reflected this change. In fact, traffic tickets issued by police for exceeding the speed limit have actually increased with the implementation of statewide isolation orders.

While fewer people are currently on the road, incidents of reckless driving have paradoxically increased, according to the Denver-based news agency, FOX31. Not only do they report a rise in the number of speeding citations issued since 2019, but the number of car accidents has also spiked. The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) reported 6,550 car accidents in the first four months of 2019. Just one year later, this number skyrocketed to approximately 9,600 crashes in the same amount of time — a 70 percent increase in one year.

How You Can Protect Yourself

As restrictions begin to ease and lockdown orders come to an end, the roads will gradually begin to fill again. Since many drivers have not been on the roads for the past few months, there will be even more opportunities to get caught in an automobile accident. Cultivating strong, defensive driving habits now may keep you and your family safe even as the rate of accidents grows.

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Larimer County workers compensation attorney disability

Although Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ “Stay At Home” order officially expired on April 26, many counties and cities in the state have continued to observe restrictions on business in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus. For many Coloradoans, the return to normalcy will be a much longer time in coming as the Colorado Public Radio reports the COVID-19 pandemic “has erased one in 10 jobs in Colorado.” As heavily affected industries—such as restaurants, construction, and public works—begin to operate again and resume their projects, it may be more important than ever to be vigilant about safety. Workplace accidents occur even in the best of times and to the most cautious of employees. As a number of employees begin to return to work and employee density around construction sites, high-pace workplaces, and hazardous areas increases, accidents can occur. Therefore, it is important to understand disability and how it relates to workers’ compensation claims.

The Four Categories of Disabilities in Colorado

When dealing with the possibility of lost time or wages due to a workplace injury, it is imperative to remember not all injuries and their resulting disabilities are equal. The State of Colorado Department of Labor and Employment recognizes this and has defined four categories of disability under which injured workers can make claims. They are temporary or permanent, and partial or total disability as explained below:

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Larimer County e-scooter accident attorney

Like them, love them, or downright hate them, electric scooters will not be leaving Colorado anytime soon. By now, you have probably heard of Bird, Lyft, or Lime, three of the most popular e-scooter rental companies. Fundamentally, these companies do not differ much: Customers use a phone application to rent a scooter for a given amount of time by linking some form of online payment. In the last five years, these e-scooters have gone from fun novelty to a major mode of transportation. With such rapid implementation nationwide, this new mode of transportation has spread throughout the United States more quickly than current laws can keep up, leaving many states and cities with a patchwork of hastily adopted legislation. Although the technology of electronic transportation devices such as these is ever-changing, as with any motorized device, there is the potential for accidents with minor to serious injuries. Below are some answers to commonly asked questions regarding e-scooters that can help users stay safe and avoid collisions with other vehicles or scooters.

Current E-Scooter Laws

The legality of riding these electric scooters varies from county to county, even city to city. In Breckenridge, for example, e-scooter businesses are banned entirely, although “the ban does not apply to people who own their electric scooters,” according to KKTV. The city of Boulder also placed a moratorium on issuing business licenses to commercial e-scooter companies. However, the original pause expired in April 2020. While electric scooters do not currently face any form of state-wide ban, there are some regulations that riders should understand to help prevent a traffic accident.

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Larimer County hit-and-run accident attorney

Following a motor vehicle collision, the drivers involved are required to remain at the scene, render any necessary aid to those who have been injured, and exchange contact information with each other. Unfortunately, some drivers choose to flee the scene of a collision, and these hit-and-run car accidents can leave victims suffering from severe or fatal injuries. The Denver Post reports that, as of Thursday, May 28, 2020, the city of Denver has recorded 1,899 hit-and-run accidents since the beginning of the year, averaging approximately 390 incidents monthly. Drivers who have been involved in these types of accidents will want to understand the steps they can take to pursue compensation if the other person leaves the scene.

Four Steps to Take After a Hit-And-Run

An automobile accident is enough to leave anyone dazed, and doubly so if the other party has left the scene. Here are four things you should do in the event you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident:

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Larimer County bicycle accident attorney

The summer months are approaching, and bicyclists are going to flock to the roads in Colorado. As such, it is worth reviewing the rules of the road regarding how drivers and cyclists are supposed to interact. Using a few safety strategies can help avoid any unnecessary bike accidents. However, it is impossible to control the actions of others on the roadway, and negligent behavior by drivers can lead to serious injuries for cyclists. If you were injured in an accident while riding your bike, it is important to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney as soon as your immediate medical needs are addressed. Seeking compensation in Colorado requires finding fault with the other driver or cyclist involved, so you will need strong representation from a legal team you can trust.

Rules of the Road

Since Colorado is an “at-fault” state, abiding by the traffic laws will help prevent you from being deemed at fault for a collision, and this can ensure that you will be able to receive the compensation you deserve. Unlike pedestrians, cyclists are expected to follow the same rules as drivers, with a couple of additions. Determining how you should ride your bicycle depends on where you plan to go on your next trip. 

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Larimer County auto accident attorney

Colorado’s relatively new Made Whole Doctrine serves to protect you from losing all or a significant amount of your liability claim benefits to an insurance company. It is important to understand how this law works so that you know you are getting the compensation that you deserve if you have suffered a personal injury due to another party’s negligence. Even though this law is designed to protect you, you still must work with a qualified personal injury attorney to pursue compensation in court and ensure that insurance companies are not violating any part of the Made Whole Doctrine.

Compensation Before the Made Whole Doctrine

Before the Colorado legislature amended state insurance laws to include the Made Whole Doctrine, health insurance companies or medical providers were allowed to subrogate (substitute themselves as the primary recipient of your personal injury claim) to guarantee that their costs were covered in full before you, the insured, received any compensation. As you could imagine, this caused a lot of problems. For example, if you were involved in a car accident and accrued medical bills that totaled $150,000, but you only received $100,000 in compensation from an at-fault driver's insurance policy or a personal injury lawsuit, the health insurance company could take the entire amount of compensation you received, and you would still be at a loss. Since the goal of compensating an injured party for his or her losses should not harm him or her financially, the Made Whole Doctrine needed to be implemented. 

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Larimer County auto accident attorney

Although other drivers’ actions are unpredictable, there are two things all motorists can do to help avoid auto accidents, including driving safely and properly maintaining their vehicles. Typically, people are often reminded to obey traffic laws, pay attention at all times, and to stay sober when driving. However, faulty or worn-out auto parts can also cause collisions with minor to serious injuries. Since Colorado is an “at fault” state, a driver who does not properly maintain his or her vehicle can be deemed at fault for negligent maintenance and upkeep. If you have been in an accident that involves broken or faulty vehicle components, you should work with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine your legal options, especially since these types of cases can be more complicated than your average fender-bender.

Essential Vehicle Maintenance

Although many people wait for warnings to appear on the dashboard or for other obvious symptoms before bringing their cars into a repair shop, some preemptive maintenance goes a long way. At least once a year, every motorist should make sure to have a skilled mechanic check the following:

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Larimer County workplace injury attorney

Every job comes with certain risks, and some occupations can be more dangerous than others. If you suffer a workplace injury in any type of industry, the consequences can be devastating. It is imperative that you seek proper medical attention quickly. However, Colorado has a specific timeline and method that employers and workers must follow regarding the choice of a medical provider. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can play a key role in this process, as they will be able to help you navigate the law and ensure that you receive the benefits that you deserve.

Selecting a Medical Practitioner

Colorado law dictates that either an employer or his or her workers’ compensation insurance company has the right to choose a designated medical provider. In most cases, a victim of a workplace injury must be given a list of at least four physicians or corporate medical providers to choose from if available. This is to prevent a victim from not having any say in the matter. To ensure that the selections are at least somewhat diverse, one of the doctors on the list must have distinct ownership. This means that an employer cannot just present a list of providers who are under shared ownership and at the same location.

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Larimer County auto accident attorney

If you have been in a car accident there are a variety of steps you should take to protect yourself in the immediate aftermath. You must first seek emergency medical attention if necessary, then report the accident and exchange insurance information with the other driver. You may be wondering what to do next if your vehicle is significantly damaged. The window of time after an accident can be stressful, but taking the right steps during this time can ensure that you are properly compensated for property damage, as well as any injuries you suffered in the collision. By receiving legal assistance from a personal injury attorney, you can be sure that you will be properly compensated for all of your damages.

What Are Colorado’s Total Loss Laws?

“Totaling” or “totaled” are words that often get used as slang for vehicles that are not functional or are undrivable, but drivers may not understand what these terms actually mean. To "total" a car means to declare it a total loss, which dictates how you and your auto insurance provider will move forward. A car does not have to be a complete wreck to be totaled. Instead, the cost of repairs must exceed a certain threshold, which may differ from state to state. In Colorado, that threshold is 100 percent. That is, Colorado legally requires insurers to declare a vehicle a total loss if the estimated repair costs would exceed the market value of that vehicle.  

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Larimer County workers compensation attorney overexertion

A workplace accident can occur even when proper protocol is followed. Whether you work in a physically taxing job such as construction, or you are in an office setting, it is important to understand the protection that you have under workers’ compensation laws. In general, all companies in Colorado are required to carry workman’s comp insurance to cover their employees in the event of an accident. Some injuries are relatively minor, while others can result in permanent disability or even death. If you were hurt while performing your job, you may need significant rehabilitation, or you may be unable to continue working at your full potential. That is why it is imperative that you consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn your options regarding benefits. 

What Is “Overexertion”?

You do not need to suffer from a severe injury like a broken bone to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. A large percentage of the workers’ comp claims in this country are filed under overexertion, which occurs when a person feels acute pain either from repetitively using the same muscle or from pushing their body past its limits. Some cases of overexertion, like frequently lifting of heavy objects resulting in severe back pain, are obvious, while others are much more subtle. For example, if you believe that your job leaves you chronically fatigued, and you injured yourself because of that, you could claim that you suffered from overexertion. The subtlety involved in many of these potential claims might be contested by your employer’s insurance company, which is why it is essential to have legal representation when making a workers' comp claim. 

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Larimer County car accident attorney

Every driver in Colorado is required to carry car insurance in case of an accident. If you or a family member are involved in a vehicle collision, it can be difficult to maintain a clear mind and understand exactly what your policy covers. Most policies function similarly, so the guidelines here will likely apply to you in many ways. However, even when you have a general understanding of your auto insurance policy and relative confidence in determining what the other party’s policy covers in an accident, it is imperative that you obtain sound legal advice from a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights.

Legal Aid When Seeking Damages

Before diving into what your and another driver’s insurance policies cover in a crash, it is important to understand how vital legal guidance can be after you or your loved one are involved in a car accident. In many cases, determining which driver is at fault is not that simple. A police report might not accurately describe what happened, or there may be other mitigating circumstances, like a nearby construction zone. Even if there were just minor injuries and vehicle damage, a skilled attorney can help you establish liability for the collision, and they can negotiate with insurance companies and help make sure that you receive the compensation you need and deserve. That is why it is essential that you contact an attorney first before talking to any insurance company, including your own. 

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Larimer County motorcycle accident injury attorney

Operating a motorcycle in any state requires a certain level of responsibility, and this can often exceed the level of care needed to safely drive a passenger or commercial vehicle. Motorcyclists should be sure to follow all state laws. These laws are in place to help keep motorcyclists and their passengers safe and to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents. Many of these regulations might seem like common sense, but it is important for motorcyclists to be aware of considerations that do not necessarily apply to car drivers. It is imperative that you familiarize yourself with laws and safety procedures before you hit the open road, and this can help you prevent crashes and serious injuries.

Colorado Motorcycle Laws

Even if you already consider yourself a cautious motorcyclist, it is best to fully understand the laws that you must follow. You should bear the following three categories in mind:

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Larimer County car accident attorney

While many people believe that pedestrians always have the right of way when crossing the street, the truth is that pedestrians are not infallible. They can make mistakes just like drivers do, and this probably occurs more often than you might think. In fact, many pedestrian accidents and pedestrian deaths in Colorado over the last few years have been clear cases that illustrate the pedestrian was at fault. In other cases, the collision may involve a combination of fault by both the driver (or drivers) and the pedestrian. Below are some circumstances in which a motorist may not be at fault, and a pedestrian may be liable for any damages and injuries.

When the Driver Is Not at Fault

Pedestrians might believe that if they are hit by a car, it will almost always be the driver’s fault. However, a driver may not be at fault if all of the following can be proven in court:

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Larimer County self-driving truck accident attorney

Just last month, the Colorado company Outrider announced it has received $53 million in investments to kickstart its autonomous truck fleets. While Outrider’s fleets will be used mostly in truck yards and not on the highway, at least not right away, there are plenty of other well-funded self-driving truck companies that are on their way to putting whole fleets on the roads across America. What does this mean for you? You could see trucks without drivers passing you by on the highway within a year or two. Without even considering the economic impact of this fact, it is worth noting the possibility of personal injuries from self-driving truck accidents

How Safe Are Self-Driving Trucks?

Companies in the self-driving vehicle manufacturing industry insist that autonomous trucks, which are often operated and maintained through SaaS (software-as-a-service) from remote locations, will not only increase productivity and efficiency but also improve the environment and highway safety as well. However, early results from self-driving experiments with other vehicles, such as numerous crashes over the last two years involving Tesla vehicles using autopilot, suggest that these automated means of transportation that lack human intervention might be far from perfect, and this means they will not be completely safe.

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Larimer County workers compensation attorney coronavirusNow that the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared COVID-19 (coronavirus) a pandemic, this pervasive virus brings with it a slew of legal concerns. One such concern is whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you contracted coronavirus while working. The answer to this question is complicated. However, if you take certain factors into consideration, you will have a better understanding as to whether filing a coronavirus workers’ comp claim is an option for you.

Does Coronavirus Qualify You for Workers’ Comp?

The average cold and flu typically do not necessitate workers’ compensation claims, since they are usually not serious and can be handled with paid time off or sick time. However, coronavirus is more complex. This highly contagious pandemic can mean life or death for some people. Even if you contract an infection while working, but your symptoms are mild, you could still transmit it to family and friends who might be more susceptible to life-threatening conditions resulting from the virus. In that sense, it is more dangerous than most illnesses that you might contract at work.

Since this virus is so new, the insurance and legal professions are rushing to catch up with the times. Some workers’ comp policies are being amended in light of the coronavirus. Employers and employees alike are reinterpreting the policies already set in place. Some states, specifically Washington, are already requiring workers’ compensation benefits for those exposed to the virus while at work.

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Larimer County car accident attorney

Studies show that approximately nine people die and 1,000 more are injured every day in the United States from motor vehicle accidents resulting from distracted driving. This is a serious issue, so much so that nearly every state has laws against distracted driving. With that in mind, it is important to know and recognize the types of driving distractions and understand how they can lead to car accidents.

Distracted Driving Categories

Driving distractions can be divided into three categories, with most distractions overlapping in more than one category. The three main types of driving distractions are:

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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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3835 W. 10th Street
Greeley, Colorado 80634 |
970-460-2220
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Longmont, Colorado 80501 |
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