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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

Lyons Gaddis Announces Death of Partner Anton V. Dworak

Anton Dworak

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our colleague and friend, Anton Dworak.  He was recently diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a very rare and fatal condition, and passed away on August 3rd at the age of 54.  Anton leaves a significant hole in our firm, this community, and the Colorado legal scene. 

Anton began work at Lyons Gaddis in 1999.  He became a shareholder on January 1, 2004, and served on the firm’s management committee and as the firm’s President.  He was Past-President of the Boulder County Bar Association and a Vice President of the Colorado Bar Association.  He was also a member of the tax, business, and estate planning sections of each association, and assisted Bar Association members as a volunteer on the Professionalism Committee.

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Dissecting the LMU Emu

Dissecting the LMU Emu

In the last decade or so my favorite genre of commercials on television has undoubtedly become commercials for home and auto insurance. I will literally back up the DVR to see how I have become my parents by bundling my home and auto insurance. Whether it’s Flo, the LMU Emu, the Geico gecko, or the Patrick price/Rogers’ rate, boring insurance companies have gone over the top to seem clever, and it’s worked. But not a single one of these companies actually advertise one detail about what they are selling. Deciding what coverages and how much you need of each is never mentioned. And, like bad red wine, the policy you’ve had since you were twenty years old has not aged well.

I know that this sounds like an insurance agent working for your business. I’m not, nor am I qualified to sell you anything. But what I can tell you is that as a lawyer working with people who have been seriously injured, I have looked across the table at too many people learning too late that the auto carrier of the person who injured them doesn’t come close to covering their damages. Those same people often learn that the coverages they opted for multiple years ago to save a few premium dollars don’t help them either. Your car insurance, like your car, needs maintenance from time to time. You should check what coverages you have and what they actually cover. Call your agent and ask what coverages are available and in what amounts. Ask yourself, what do I have to lose if I am seriously injured, or what if I injure someone seriously? If the answer makes you shudder, you don’t have enough coverage.

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Are My Injuries Serious Enough to Make a Claim?

personal injury

There are times when a person is so severely injured in an accident there is no question whether or not to file a personal injury claim. The amount of money, time, and misery experienced because of the accident makes the need for compensation obvious.

But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, even with injuries, victims aren’t sure whether a claim is necessary.

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What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Crash

Motorcycle Crash

3 Things You Should You Do After a Motorcycle Crash?

Motorcycle crashes tend to be devastating and result in significant injury. The moments after a motorcycle crash and the days and weeks that follow are challenging. What you do during this time affects your physical and mental recovery, as well as your opportunity to receive compensation for your injuries.

In many cases, the person or people involved have no choice but to put all of their other concerns on hold and seek immediate emergency medical attention after a motorcycle crash. But following the initial assessment and emergency response, there are several things you can do to improve the odds you’ll receive compensation for your medical treatment, loss of income, and the pain and suffering you endured due to your injuries.

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Should I File a TBI Claim?

brain

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can have catastrophic consequences. These types of injuries change can often change a person’s life forever. TBIs can affect a person’s ability to work, drive, interact with friends and family, and lead what was previously their normal daily life.

One of the most common causes of a TBI is auto accidents. According to the CDC, there are more than 5 million Americans with TBI-related disabilities and many of them endured these injuries in vehicle accidents.

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Should I Accept a Settlement Offer from an Insurance Company after an Accident?

Accident

If you’ve recently been injured in an automobile accident, chances are you’ve received a call from the insurance company. Insurance providers representing negligent drivers are quick to contact accident victims. Their goal is to convince injured parties to settle out-of-court and usually for far less money than they’d receive if they waited.

In nearly every case, this initial insurance settlement offer is unfair and it’s an attempt to avoid paying you what you deserve. But is it ever smart to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company if you’ve been injured in an accident?

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Colorado Water Right Abandonment List

shutterstock 356451788

The State of Colorado prides itself on its system of water management. Situated in the arid American West, a once novel priority system was established for equitable water distribution. This prior appropriation system allows the delivery of water to senior users basing the order of use on priority date, not location or proximity to the water source. This system is aimed at allowing water to flow to its most valuable use, preventing speculation, while maximizing beneficial use. The Decennial Abandonment List represents one of the system's checks to make sure that water stays in use.

If you have a water right that appears on the Decennial Abandonment List or would like more information on the process, the best course of action is to hire a water professional to defend your right from abandonment. Consider hiring one of the Lyons Gaddis water team for the best results. 

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What If I Was Hit by an Uninsured Motorist

vehicle accidents

In an ideal world, vehicle accidents would never happen. And if they did, everyone involved would have enough insurance coverage for all the damages that are caused. In reality, this is not the case and many people are involved in crashes caused by the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

What should you do if this happens to you?

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Paycheck Protection Program: Keeping Employees Employed

Lyons Gaddis COVID-19 Alert

This Alert is one in a collection of articles created by Lyons Gaddis in our effort to get important information to our clients regarding the effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States.  This Alert focuses on the SBA Payckeck Protection Program recently announced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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ALERT: COVID-19 and Contract Issues

Lyons Gaddis COVID-19 Alert

This Alert is one in a collection of articles created by Lyons Gaddis in our effort to get important information to our clients regarding the effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States.  This Alert focuses on clients dealing with contract rights and obligations in the wake of the spreading coronavirus. Parties to a contract should confer with counsel regarding the particulars of your contract and your specific situation.

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Colorado River Administration Changes

Lake Mead

The Colorado River serves over 40 million people across seven states and Mexico, and the basin has been experiencing historic drought conditions since 2000, according to the Department of the Interior.  The Upper Colorado River Commission, formed in 1948 to help the “Upper Basin” states of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah administer the Colorado River Compact, unanimously agreed Wednesday, December 12, 2018 to enter into three agreements addressing drought contingency planning.  The agreements, in conjunction with a similar set of agreements currently being negotiated between the “Lower Basin” states of California, Nevada, and Arizona, are intended to increase water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead.  The Lower Basin states have been given a deadline of January 31, 2019 by the federal government to complete their agreements, or risk federal involvement in the matter. 

The agreements approved by the Upper Basin states address increased collaboration between the states and the Bureau of Reclamation to manage reservoir releases in the basin, increased allowable storage in Lake Powell if such water is available for storage as a result of conservation efforts in the Upper Basin States (Lake Mead is located in the Lower Basin), and increased cooperation between the Upper and Lower Basin states regarding water conservation and increased storage in Lake Mead.

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The Holidays Are Coming Up!

Holidays

I hear it from my family and friends earlier every year:  “Can you believe the holidays are coming up?’  I know it’s just the middle of September and we’re going to be in the 90’s all week, but I did see the Halloween decorations on the shelves at Walgreens.  So, it’s only a matter of time before that gives way to an aisle filled with Christmas stockings and red and green m&ms.  I just received my first invitation to a holiday party last week.

And what goes better with holiday festivities than lots of wine and spirits?  If you are the hosting one of these gatherings, should you be worried about your responsibility for the person who has had too much to drink?  If that person gets in his car and winds up hurting someone are you responsible?  Assuming this is purely a social event, the answer is no – sort of.  Under Colorado Revised Statute 12-47-804 a social host cannot be held responsible for injuries caused by a person who became intoxicated at your party.  The exception to the rule is if the host “knowingly served any alcohol beverage to such person who was under the age of twenty-one years or knowingly provided the person under the age of twenty-one a place to consume an alcoholic beverage.”  This liability extends even to minors who may sneak a beer for friends while mom and dad aren’t watching.  So remember, eat drink and be merry, but make sure everyone is twenty-one.

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Use it or Lose it

Godbehere Kara small

“Use it or lose it” is often colloquially used to describe the prior appropriation doctrine for water rights in Colorado.  Nowhere is that phrase more accurate than when it comes to the decennial abandonment list.  CRS § 37-92-401(1)(a) requires the Division Engineer to maintain a tabulation of water rights and priorities in their Water Division, but also to “prepare decennially, no later than July 1, 1990, and each tenth anniversary thereafter, a separate abandonment list comprising all absolute water rights that he or she has determined to have been abandoned in whole or in part and that previously have not been adjudged to have been abandoned.”  The next issuance of this decennial abandonment list will happen in 2020, and there are some important considerations of which water users should be aware before that list is issued.

Water rights can be abandoned in whole or in part.  The Division Engineers office may physically inspect diversion structures and/or diversion records, if kept, to determine if water rights have actively been used over the past ten years.  They may be placed on the abandonment list if they haven’t been used at all, but also if they have only been used in amounts less than the decreed amount. In addition to non-use, the water right owner must intend to abandon the right.  See CRS § 37-92-103(2), also Beaver Park Water, Inc. v. City of Victor, 649 P.2d 300 (Colo. 1982). This is a very important element to note in the abandonment process, as the burden is on the water right owner to show they did not have an intent to abandon, if they wish to have their water rights removed from the list. Pursuant to CRS § 37-92-103(5)(a), any water right owner who wishes to protest inclusion of their water rights on the abandonment list must file a protest no later than “June 30, 1992, or the respective tenth anniversary thereafter” (so for the upcoming 2020 abandonment list, no later than June 30, 2022).  The forms for protesting inclusion of water rights on the abandonment list can be found here: https://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm?Form_Type_ID=10

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But the Bills are Due Now

Bradley Hall

Medical Payments Coverage in Colorado

In the last two newsletters (Are You Putting Yourself at Risk by Saving on Your Car Insurance – Part 1, Part 2) I wrote about how it is important to have enough liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect you from the harm you may cause or the harm you may incur when involved in an auto collision. Both of these auto coverages protect you in the long run, but are almost never paid until medical treatment is complete. Even though you may have plenty of insurance to reimburse you for damages incurred, medical bills start coming almost immediately after the accident. If you don’t have health insurance this can create real problems.

Under Colorado law an automobile insurance company is required to offer up to $5,000 of medical payments coverage when you initially purchase your auto insurance policy. Medical payments coverage pays up to the limit of coverage for every person in your vehicle and it pays on an ongoing basis. There are no deductibles and no co-payments, and it pays regardless of who is at fault for the collision. Many carriers offer medical payments coverage up $25,000 per person and some will offer as high as $100,000 per person.

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Are you Putting Yourself at Risk By “Saving” on your Car Insurance? (Part 2)


Submitted by Bradley A. Hall

Last quarter, I wrote about how you are able to protect yourself and your family members from injuries caused by uninsured and underinsured negligent drivers. But what if the shoe is on the other foot? What if you are now the defendant who ran the stop sign, looked down at the wrong time, or committed some other act which injured another driver, pedestrian, or even one of your own passengers? Do you have enough liability insurance to cover the injured parties’ damages? If not, your personal assets, including your ongoing income, may be at risk.

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Serving The Entire State Of Colorado
Map and Directions


Longmont Office

515 Kimbark Street, Second Floor
Longmont, CO 80501
Phone: 303-776-9900 
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Louisville Office

950 Spruce Street, Unit 1B
Louisville, CO 80027
Phone: 720-726-3670 
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Glenwood Springs Office

818 Colorado Avenue, Suite 201
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
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