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fort collins burn injury lawyerIn an average year in the United States, approximately 210,000 vehicle fires occur, according to the National Fire Prevention Association, many of which happen in the wake of crashes. These fires claim hundreds of lives, injure thousands more, and cause nearly $2 billion in property damage.  

These disturbing numbers raise grave concerns about the severity, scope of injuries, and costs that occur when victims suffer serious injuries or death in car fires. Not only is the permanent scarring from burns a constant reminder, but the pain experienced, the medical care required, and the associated costs incurred can be unimaginable.

Car Crashes and Burns

A car accident alone is a terrifying experience, but the potential for sustaining serious injuries is worse. When considering the working parts of a vehicle, one can begin to understand how many different scenarios could play out and cause injury to an occupant. The first priority, however, is to safely get out of a burning vehicle. Unfortunately, unpredictable and fast-moving fires can cause injuries such as:


fort collins car accident lawyerHave you or a loved one been hurt in a situation where another car or truck collided with your vehicle? If so, would you really call the situation an “accident?” It is highly unlikely that the driver hit your car on purpose, so it might be an accident in that sense, but when a wreck occurs, intent and fault are two vastly different ideas. In fact, many people believe that using the word “accident” actually benefits insurance companies and lawyers who defend at-fault drivers. With this in mind, there are national efforts in motion to reduce the use of the word “accident” and to raise awareness regarding how the term can be misleading.

Making Assumptions Subconsciously

In recent years, several advocacy groups have come together to create a national campaign that discourages the word “accident” in car crash cases. Starting in 2015, Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets launched an online educational program and pledge drive intended to eliminate assumptions caused by using “accident.” According to Amy Cohen, who founded Families for Safe Streets after her son was hit by a car and killed in 2013, her son and others like him did not die in accidents. “An ‘accident,’” she maintains, “implies that nothing could have been done to prevent their deaths.”

Proponents of the terminology shift believe that calling a crash an accident gives the subconscious impression that nobody bears specific responsibility for the situation. In reality, most crashes are caused by someone’s actions, inaction, or negligence, which means that someone can and generally should be held responsible.


fort collins car crash lawyerThere is no question that a car wreck is a frightening experience. Unfortunately, this fear—along with the shock of the crash, adrenaline, and maybe a misplaced sense of blame—can cause problems for you as you consider the possibility of filing a personal injury claim for damages. While such feelings are normal after an accident, it is important to know how to set them aside and focus on keeping your composure. With this in mind, here are five things you should never do in the wake of a car crash:

Car Crash Mistake #1. Underestimating the Damage

This applies to both your body and your vehicle. Initially, the crash might seem to be a minor fender bender, but assuming the damage is minor might belie serious hidden problems. With your vehicle, for example, the frame might be bent, despite the external damage seeming trivial. Likewise, you might feel physically okay, but adrenaline could be masking more severe injuries that present themselves later. Have a mechanic check out your car, and be sure to seek medical attention as soon as you can after the crash to be sure you know how extensive the damage and your injuries really are.

Car Crash Mistake #2: Failing to Document the Accident Scene

Many accident victims believe that filing a police report or giving a statement to the police at the scene is sufficient for protecting their rights. This is not always true. While a police report is an important part of your case, you should do your best to document as much about the crash and the scene as you can on your own. Take pictures of the involved vehicles, any damage, and their positions. Collect names and contact information from potential witnesses, as well as all involved drivers. If you are too injured to do so yourself, ask someone else on the scene to help you.


CO accident lawyerIt is very well-known that distracted driving is dangerous. A driver who allows virtual goings-on to take his attention from the road around him is putting everyone in his vicinity at risk. Driving while manually using a cell phone is not only risky, but it is also illegal in Colorado in many instances. While drivers may use their phones for the limited purpose of voice calling or in an emergency situation, it is generally not legal to drive with a cell phone in hand. If a driver who causes an accident can be shown to have been breaking a traffic safety law, they may be automatically considered negligent in causing your injuries. The legal concept of negligence per se effectively provides a shortcut to proving negligence in this situation. Breaking a law that is in place to keep people safe certainly appears to reflect a disregard for the safety of others. If you were injured by a driver who appears to have been texting or manually operating their cell phone, we may be able to help you recover compensation.

Is it Legal to Drive While Using a Cell Phone in Colorado?

Colorado drivers are permitted to use cell phones only in very limited circumstances. First, it is legal to use a cell phone for voice calls. Voice calling without the use of hands, while possibly a bit distracting, does not require a driver to take their eyes off the road. What is not legal is to manually enter data, such as by typing, and transmitting, such as by actually sending a text. However, drivers who are minors are not permitted to use a cell phone even for the purpose of voice calling.

There are a few notable exceptions to Colorado’s cell phone rules, mainly pertaining to emergency situations. Drivers may use their cell phones if they need to reach out to public safety officials, and if an emergency arises. Emergencies are dangerous situations. The definition of an emergency includes situations where the driver:


CO injury lawyerThe law in Colorado regarding which companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance and who is eligible to use it is relatively straightforward compared to some other states. Any company in Colorado that has at least one employee within the state is required to use the workers’ compensation program, meaning that there is generally no reason a worker in Colorado should not have access to these critical benefits when they are needed.

Workers’ compensation is an incredibly important program. No matter what line of work you are in, there is nearly always a chance that you will suffer an injury related to your career. Even white-collar employees who mainly sit behind a desk to perform their job duties may suffer an injury, whether due to a defective office chair or repetitive stress, as is the case with many who develop carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have been injured due to your work and are in need of workers’ compensation benefits, an attorney may be able to help you obtain the temporary or permanent benefits you need.

Who Is Considered an Employee for Workers’ Compensation Purposes?

Determining who is or is not an employee for the purposes of workers’ compensation benefits is generally, but not always, fairly straightforward. The rule in our state is that anyone who is paid by a company for work they perform is presumed to be an employee of the company issuing the paycheck. Employees are eligible for workers’ compensation whether they are full-time, part-time, or a family member of the business owner.


The Prevalence of Road Rage Explained

Posted on in Car Accident

CO accident lawyerRoad rage incidents are greatly on the rise and have been for over a year. These emotion-driven incidents can result in deadly accidents or even intentional assaults. Drivers with road rage may be unable to make logical decisions after considering the probable consequences of the course of action they are contemplating. Road rage drivers who cause an accident with injuries may appear calm very quickly after the car accident, or they may continue behaving aggressively until forced into compliance by the police. While many drivers who harm someone out of anger quickly regret their actions, their victims are left with injuries that could affect their way of life for years to come. If you have been injured in a road rage incident, you may be entitled to recover significant compensation from the driver who caused your injuries. An attorney may be able to guide you through the process of filing a claim and collecting the finances you are owed.

Understanding Why Road Rage is Rising

The explanation for the current rise in road rage incidents is multi-faceted. Many relate back to the pandemic when most individuals worked from home for the first time and the roads were generally clear for those still required to commute. Essential personnel who never stopped commuting to work may have become conditioned to the low flow of traffic seen at the height of lockdowns before office buildings began to reopen.

For a person accustomed to making their daily commute in ten minutes due to the absence of normal traffic, the return of heavy rush hour traffic may have been immensely frustrating - now their commute takes 30 minutes. Although their commute may have also taken 30 minutes prior to the pandemic, readjusting can be difficult. However, this is by no means an excuse to take out the frustration of a slowed commute on other people who happen to also be caught in the same condensed traffic, as is a common explanation for road rage incidents.


Top 4 Causes of T-Bone Collisions

Posted on in Car Accident

CO accident lawyerT-bone collisions can be particularly risky for the occupants of the struck vehicle. A modern vehicle’s “crumple zones” are located at the front and rear of the vehicle, offering some degree of protection against rear-end or head-on collisions. The passenger doors offer little in the way of shielding against the impact of a t-bone collision, making it a very commonly deadly type of accident. These car accidents occur when two drivers cross paths at a perpendicular angle, and the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another. Because one driver must run their vehicle directly into the broad side of another vehicle to create a t-bone collision, these accidents would generally be quite easily avoidable if the at-fault driver is properly looking in the direction in which his vehicle is moving. If you have been injured in a t-bone collision, it is quite likely that the other driver was negligent in causing the accident. An attorney may be able to recover financial compensation on your behalf.

Common Negligent Mistakes Drivers Make in Causing T-Bone Collisions

It is quite hard for a driver who has caused a t-bone collision to argue that they were using an appropriate degree of caution to prevent an accident. Common careless mistakes leading to t-bone collisions include:

  • Running lights or stop signs - T-bone accidents frequently occur at intersections when one driver fails to stop for a red light or a stop sign and collides with a driver who was lawfully proceeding through the intersection.
  • Inattentiveness - Whether caused by distraction, commonly related to cell phone use, or simple absentmindedness, inattentiveness to surrounding traffic is a common factor in t-bone collisions.
  • Failing to yield right-of-way - Even when a traffic light is green, drivers are still required to observe another driver’s right-of-way in certain situations. When drivers fail to yield right-of-way, whether to a vehicle that was already in the intersection, or one coming in from the main road, there is a substantial risk of a t-bone collision.
  • Road rage - Disputes regarding who has right of way may escalate into a road rage event, sometimes causing a phenomenon in which both drivers attempt to proceed at the same time. In these instances, both drivers may share in the fault, but the less-at-fault driver may still be able to recover what portion of compensation the law allows.

It is important to work with an attorney who can conduct an independent investigation to seek out proof of the at-fault driver’s carelessness.


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? 


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: 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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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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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Longmont, Colorado 80501 |
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Boulder, Colorado 80303 |
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Loveland, Colorado 80537 |
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