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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage, often referred to as UM/UIM coverage, is insurance you buy from your automobile insurance carrier to pay you benefits in the event that you are in an accident and the at-fault driver has low, or no insurance of their own. Colorado law requires that all automobile insurance companies offer such coverage unless it is waived by a person named on the policy. UM coverage is for the situation where the at-fault driver has no insurance. UIM coverage applies when the driver has some, but not enough insurance to cover all of your injuries. If you did not waive it, you have at least $25,000/$50,000 in coverage. The $25,000 is the most that one person can recover in an accident. $50,000 is the total amount the insurance company will pay for injuries suffer by more than one covered person who was also injured in an accident. Do not be confused by the shorthand; “$25k/$50k” is not $25k in UM and $50k in UIM. It is the single person/total person limit of either UM or UIM coverage per accident.

Do not be fooled either. You are not entitled to $25,000 (or whatever the limits are) automatically. Your insurance carrier will ask you to prove that you are entitled to what you are claiming. If you are in a car accident and your medical bills are $60,000, and the at-fault driver only has $50,000 in coverage, you should be entitled to at least $10,000 in UIM payments. In fact, you are entitled to more than just your medical bills. You are also entitled to pain and suffering, lost wages, and damages for any physical impairment or disfigurement because Colorado law allows you to recover these kinds of damages if you win a lawsuit. Your insurance carrier must include them when paying you on a UM/UIM claim.

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United States v. Enrique Rivera De La Cruz,
703 F.3d 1193, Case No. 11-5114 (10th Cir. 2013)

Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I’ve got a wonderful feeling,
Everything’s going my way.NEW Oklahoma_0

Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’, from the musical Oklahoma, Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II, © 1943 by Williamson Music.

 

One morning in February of 2011, three Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were staking out Gill’s Truck Wash in Tulsa, Oklahoma looking for Juan Guel-Rivera who they suspected was in the United States illegally. Guel-Rivera was believed to work at the truck wash so the agents arrived before it opened.

A car with dark tinted windows drove up to the truck wash. One of the  three agents got a one to two second glimpse of the driver and believed it might be Guel-Rivera so they stopped the car. Enrique Rivera De La Cruz was the driver of the car, his brother Armando was in the front-passenger seat, and De La Cruz’ wife, mother-in-law and sister-in-law were in the back seat. As Armando, his sack lunch in hand, exited the vehicle, the agents ordered De La Cruz to turn off the vehicle, to place the keys to the car on its roof and to exit the car. De La Cruz did as he was told but Armando attempted to run away.

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medmal1_0A medical malpractice or medical negligence case is a case brought against a health care provide alleging they did something below the standards of care that resulted in injury or death.  A medical malpractice claim is a civil case as opposed to a criminal case. A criminal case is brought by the local, state or federal government to prosecute crimes against the state or federal government, or society as a whole.

Often, the first questions clients ask a lawyer are: (1) do I have a case; and (2) what is my case worth? There is significant effort involved in answering these questions.

In order to establish a medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate (1) the physician owed plaintiff a legal duty of care; (2) breach of the duty of care; (3) injury to the plaintiff; and (4) and that the physician’s breach of the duty caused the plaintiff’s injury.  Day v. Johnson, 255 P.3d 1064, 1068-69 (Colo. 2011).

The medical malpractice case must be rigorously evaluated, not only for the merits of the case but also for it’s potential damages.

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Brian_Blog_0_0Business activity involves risk.  It is the owner’s willingness to take a gamble, to accept risk that gives him the opportunity to make a profit.  No one starts a business expecting to fail.  However, not all businesses are profitable.  Even those that are profitable sometimes stumble:  a claim by a disgruntled customer; the failure of a product that was purchased and resold; an employee whose negligent actions hurt others.  The possibilities are numerous and can impact even the careful, responsible business owner.  For that owner, or for the entrepreneur starting a new business, sooner or later the question arises:  How can I protect my personal or family assets from claims against the business?  The knee jerk response is:  form a corporation—form a limited liability company (LLC).  Everyone knows that will protect me.  Right?  The answer, as is typical in legal matters is:  it depends.

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