Frequently Asked Questions
We have more than 100 years of combined experience in representing clients through a variety of cases and areas of practice. Below we have answered some questions that clients often ask, but feel free to contact us with any others you may have.
Based on our experience, it is in your best interests not to speak with the insurance company until after you have hired an attorney. The reason is that, although the insurance company may sound courteous and helpful, insurance companies will document and record telephone conversations with you in an attempt to gather information or obtain statements from you that may de-value your case. Insurance companies may attempt to have you sign blanket medical releases so that they can obtain your entire medical history. The insurance company will try to use this information to point to other instances where you have seen doctors in an attempt to say your current injuries were not caused by the accident. Similarly, any statements they obtain from you will be used to lower your recovery. The insurance company may also attempt to offer you an unreasonably low settlement in a way that seems fair and equitable. In our experience, any offer they make you will be substantially less than any value you can obtain after hiring an attorney with the know-how to deal with them. The insurance company may also make you a settlement offer before you know the full extent of your injuries.
One of the first considerations in selecting an attorney is their track record. Research the firm and find an attorney who you are comfortable with. Is your case a smaller “fender-bender”, or a more complex matter involving multiple vehicles and substantial injuries? Find an attorney who is prepared to give you the representation you need based upon the facts of your case. When selecting a lawyer, find out if you will be dealing directly with the attorney or simply a staff member.
From an interpersonal perspective, find an attorney who you’re comfortable with. Your lawyer should be willing to make the time to properly meet with you, listen to your concerns, and take the appropriate action. The lawyers at Larson Larimer Schneider, P.C., are able to handle both complex injury matters as well as the “fender bender” cases. There is an old saying in the legal field: There’s no such thing as a small case, only attorneys who are too small to take them. From a tiny slip and fall case to a major car accident to an injury caused by a defective product, there is no case too big or small for us. Let Larson Larimer Schneider, P.C. be the lawyers to aggressively represent your interests while treating you with the care and compassion you deserve.
During our initial meeting, we will spend as much time as is necessary to become familiar with the specifics of your case. During this meeting, it is useful if you already have the accident report and insurance information of the other driver as well as your own. If you have already sought medical treatment, that medical provider’s information will also be helpful. During our initial meeting, we will provide you with information about your legal rights, the strength or weaknesses of your case, details about the case process, and determine whether we will accept your case. There is never a charge for our initial consultation on a personal injury case.
If you decide to hire our firm and we decide to take your case, our law firm generally will work on your personal injury case on a contingent fee basis. This means if we do not recover money damages, we do not get paid. Our payment is contingent upon you receiving a settlement or a verdict.
Costs are different than attorneys’ fees. Costs are expenses that are associated with your case, and include things such as copy charges (e.g., to obtain a copy of the police report or medical records), expert witness fees, filing fees for the court, and investigation fees. Ultimately, the client is responsible for all of the costs associated with pursuing a settlement or taking a case to trial. If we accept your case, we will typically advance minor costs such as copy fees and filing fees. Whether we are able to advance larger expenses such as expert witness fees depends on the facts of each case. We will discuss all of this with you when you first come to our office and throughout each stage of your case.
Whether someone has a strong personal injury case varies from incident to incident. Whether someone has a case is a fact-specific inquiry. If you would like to know more about whether you have a case or not, please call Larson Larimer Schneider or fill out the case evaluator under “Do I Have Case?” link above. While we cannot make any guarantees about whether your case will be successful, one of our experienced attorneys will be glad to speak with you about your case and your potential of recovery.
If you’ve suffered personal injuries because of someone else’s negligence, there are several ways you might be entitled to compensation. The first is what is known as “economic damages,” and includes reimbursement for lost work, loss of future ability to work, repayment of your medical bills, future medical bills, and out-of-pocket expenses associated with your injuries. You might also be entitled to “non-economic damages,” which include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, and things that are difficult to put a dollar value on. Depending on the facts of your case, your spouse may also be entitled to compensation for your loss of services and love during the time you are incapacitated.
Just as it is difficult to determine whether you have a case without speaking to an experienced attorney, it is difficult to know how much your case is worth without knowing the particulars about your case. Considerations that affect the value of your case include the degree of injury sustained, what type of work you have been doing (and are no longer able to do due to the injuries), and how your injuries will affect your life from this point forward. The attorneys at Larson Larimer Schneider are experienced at evaluating cases and determining their value.
One of the reasons for hiring an attorney is to take the stress out of your life. We strive to make this process as stress-free as possible. Once you hire our firm, we do a couple of things right off the bat: We make sure you are getting the medical treatment you need. We obtain copies of the accident report and any other evidence that might be important to your case. We then investigate all potential insurance coverage and notify any insurance company involved that we represent you. Once notified, the insurance companies will no longer contact you directly and will direct their communications through our office. We will also explain that it is important that you not sign any documents that an insurance company gives you, and that you should not agree to a recorded statement without having your attorney present.
Once we have determined what types of injuries you have, and which doctors will be able to help you recover as quickly as possible, we will monitor your treatment with the doctors. We obtain your medical records and bills, and submit those to the insurance company with a letter explaining why the insurance company should pay for your damages. This settlement effort is called a “demand letter,” and is submitted to the insurance company in an effort to avoid trial. This demand letter essentially outlines to the insurance company what will be presented if the case went to trial, including our theory of liability, your injuries and medical treatment, and how this incident has affected your life.
After submitting the demand letter with supporting documentation, we will make a demand to the insurance company for a dollar amount that takes into consideration the particular facts and injuries involved in your case. If the insurance company is unwilling to settle, we will have a discussion with you about whether we should file a lawsuit on your behalf. During this discussion, we will have a conversation about whether it makes sense to take the case to trial, the costs of trial, and time involved to proceed in this manner. We outline the fairness of the settlement offer, but the decision whether to file a lawsuit will always be up to you.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, we have to serve the defendant(s) with a Summons and Complaint. The Complaint details the legal and factual basis for filing the lawsuit. The Summons requires the defendant(s) to respond to the Complaint. The defendant’s response to your legal and factual allegations is called an Answer.
After the Complaint and Answer, the discovery phase begins. The parties are allowed to ask written questions of each other to obtain information for trial. Each side has the opportunity to ask live questions under oath of the witnesses as well, in an event called a deposition.
After discovery has been completed, each side prepares for trial. Prior to trial, the parties will usually meet with an independent third-party, who will attempt to settle the case in a proceeding called mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, the case will go to trial. The entire process could take anywhere from six months to a year-and-a-half from the date of filing the Complaint.
Personal Injury Lawsuits FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions pertaining to personal injury claims. Additional information on specific types of personal injury claims can be accessed by selecting the options under the “Practice Areas” tab.
Before hiring an attorney, you should research the firm and lawyer who will be handling your case. Inquire about the attorney’s education, experience, and training. Ask whether he or she has handled cases similar to yours and about the outcomes. Personal injury law varies by state, so make certain the attorney you hire is knowledgeable about the law of the state where the injury took place. Also, be sure to discuss in detail the fee agreement. Your trusted personal injury lawyer in Denver offers services for a standard contingent fee that is lower than many firms offer.
We offer a free initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. During this meeting, we will ask you to provide detailed information regarding your case, including the cause of your injury, your condition, any related treatment you have may have undergone prior to that date, etc. We will devote the time necessary to understanding and discussing with you all information that is relevant to your claim. It is very helpful if you can bring to the initial meeting any accident or incident report describing the incident, insurance information, including claims numbers, contact information, and adjuster information, photos, and copies of your own insurance policies. After discussing the above information with you, we will either be able to determine whether we can accept your case or will ask you for an opportunity to perform further research. The initial consultation is also an opportunity for you to ask the attorney any questions you may have about the firm and our services.
We will advance the costs associated with the processing of your case. These costs may later be repaid from your recovery. Other out-of-pocket expenses, such as the cost of filling a prescription, are the responsibility of the client. In the event that you are unable to afford related out-of-pocket expenses while you await the resolution of your case, the experienced attorneys at Larson Larimer Schneider may be able to assist you in securing legal funding. For more information about these options, please view our Medical and Legal Funding page.
In personal injury matters, the at-fault party will typically be represented by insurance adjusters and attorneys who the at-fault party’s insurance company has hired. These people are experienced in employing aggressive tactics to defend claims and minimize any loss to the insurance company. It is in your best interest to hire an attorney who is knowledgeable about the strategies that representatives of the insurance companies use and who has experience negotiating with those individuals. Larson Larimer Schneider specializes in personal injury claims and our attorneys have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies and litigating against the attorneys they hire.
The final decision to settle a case is entirely the client’s. We understand that this can be a daunting decision. The lawyers at Larson Larimer Schneider will discuss with you the fairness of the insurance company’s settlement offer and the potential risks and advantages of moving forward with a lawsuit. We will be available to answer any questions you may have.
Catastrophic Injury FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions about catastrophic injury claims. Additional information on this topic can be viewed by accessing the Catastrophic Injuries summary under the “Practice Areas” tab.
An injury that significantly alters the victims life, whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally, can be considered catastrophic.
The most common types of catastrophic injuries caused by accidents include burns, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and severe broken bones.
Most accidents are not cut and dry, however even if you were partially at fault, you can file an injury claim. Hiring an experienced catastrophic injury attorney in Denver Colorado will help to solidify your case and ensure you are eligible for the maximum amount of compensation.
Insurance Bad Faith Claims FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions about insurance bad faith claims. Additional information on this topic can be viewed by accessing the Insurance Disputes summary under the “Practice Areas” tab.
Colorado Law requires insurance companies to act fairly and in good faith. As part of the insurance company’s duty to act fairly and in good faith, they are also prohibited from unreasonably denying or delaying the payment of your claims. Colorado law includes an Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act that prevents insurance companies from committing or performing the following:
• Failing to use reasonable standards in investigating your claim;
• Failing to affirm or deny coverage within a reasonable time;
• Refusing to pay your claim without conducting a reasonable investigation;
• Attempting to settle your claim for less than a reasonable amount;
• Failing to promptly settle your claim where liability has become reasonably clear.
In addition to these requirements, insurance companies are also required to:
• Investigate your claim for benefits;
• Not deny your claim based on surmise, speculation, or conjecture;
• Not deny your claim without substantial justification;
• Refuse to pay insurance benefits when due;
• Promptly communicate with you about the status of your claim;
• Be honest with its insured and third-party claimants;
• Provide you with factual reasons for why the insurer is denying or delaying any payment of benefits;
• Not “low ball” it’s insured for unreasonably low amounts.
In addition to an insurance company’s obligation to act in good faith, Colorado has recently passed unique law prohibiting insurance companies from unreasonably denying or delaying the payment of benefits to its insured. C.R.S. 10-3-1115, 1116. This statute not only provides that an insurance company is liable to its insured for damages when it unreasonably delays or denies payment of benefits, but also specifies the damages as twice the benefits that were unreasonably delayed or denied.
The requirement of your insurance company to act in good faith and to not unreasonably delay or deny the payment of your covered benefits applies to all types of insurance coverage, including auto insurance, home owners insurance, property insurance, health insurance, etc. If your insurance company is not complying with the above requirements or you believe that they are unreasonably delaying or denying the payment of your benefits, please contact an attorney at Larson Larimer Schneider. Our attorneys are experienced in insurance law, insurance coverage, and laws relating to bad faith.
We can review and analyze the conduct of your insurance company, advise you as to whether their conduct violates Colorado law, and advise you of your potential remedies.
If your insurance company has failed to comply with the above obligations, you may have claims for breach of contract and/or breach of fiduciary duty under Colorado law. A breach of fiduciary duty claim may arise where an entity (i.e. an insurance company) has assumed responsibility to act for your benefit and fails to do so in good faith. In some cases, you may have additional claims for bad faith, negligence, and violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
In these types of cases, you may be able to recover as much as three times the amount of benefits the insurance company owed to you, interest on the insurance benefits, attorneys fees, costs, and punitive damages to punish the insurance company and deter similar behavior in the future.
Defective Product Lawsuits FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions about defective product lawsuits. Additional information on this topic can be viewed by accessing the Defective Products summary under the “Practice Areas” tab.
Under Colorado law, the at-fault party must pay your medical expenses. In a defective products case, the at-fault party may include the manufacturer, designer, and/or retailer of the product. Because a lawsuit to recover compensation for your medical bills may take time, your health insurance carrier may cover medical expenses related to the defective product while you await the resolution of your case. If you do not have health insurance, Larson Larimer Schneider, P.C. may be able to assist you in securing medical financing so that you can obtain the medical care that you need. Please visit our Medical and Legal Funding page for more information on how our firm can help with this process.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a defective product, you may be able to file claims for negligence, negligent design, breach of express or implied warranty, and strict products liability.
In defective products cases, plaintiffs generally may be able to recover damages for economic loss, non-economic loss, and physical impairment. Economic damages include compensation for past medical expenses resulting from the defendant’s negligence, future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, impaired earning capacity, and related out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages on the other hand are intended to compensate the injured party for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconveniences associated with the incident in question, and emotional distress. Compensation for physical impairment and disfigurement may be awarded for physical disabilities, scars, loss of limb, burns, etc.
If your health insurance company has covered any of the costs of treatment associated with your injury, it will likely have a right to reimbursement under the terms of your insurance policy. Many health insurance providers have subrogation rights, or rights to pursue third parties who cause loss to their insured for which the health insurance company has paid. Generally, medical expenses incurred as a result of a defective product and paid for by your insurance carrier will be reimbursed by the at-fault party’s insurance provider or from any settlement recovered from the at-fault individual.