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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

An Advocate's Advice: 7 Lessons Learned Over a Lifetime in the Law

Stairs

After 45 years of handling several thousand disputes, there are some recurring lessons to be learned about achieving the best results. While every case is unique, the roadmap to a successful result includes a set of common waypoints. As you face a dispute, whether litigation, mediation, arbitration or even negotiation, these seven “trade secrets” will help ensure that you have the best chance of success:

1. Identify Your Goals. You wouldn’t start a road trip without knowing your destination. Similarly, make sure you know where you are driving your case. What do you want to achieve in the case? Write it down. Be specific. Share those goals with your lawyer at the outset of representation. Disputes are emotional, time consuming, and issues become murky as the case proceeds. Clearly identified goals can keep you, your lawyer, and your case on track.                                                                                                                                                                         
2. Demand Attention from Your Lawyer. Many Lawyers are like emergency room doctors; they practice triage. Very few attorneys have the luxury of representing a single client. Your attorney must divide their time between multiple cases, where the most serious issue of the moment takes all the attention. That means even though your lawyer wants to focus solely on your case, they may be getting pulled in many other directions at the same time. To you, your case is the most important, to your attorney, treating every case as their most important can be an insurmountable hurdle. To keep your case in priority and at the forefront of your attorney’s mind, schedule specific times to call or meet with your lawyer to review your case. Yes, these calls and meetings can cost money, but it creates both urgency and open discussion about the best way to achieve your goals.                                                                                                              
3. Establish Trust. You must trust your lawyer and your lawyer’s advice. If you don’t, find another lawyer. Strategic decisions will be left to your attorney, even if you don’t agree with every point of strategy, you must trust that your attorney is making their decisions in your best interest. The dispute resolution process is difficult and often stressful for both you and your attorney. During the process of resolving your claim you may get advice that you internally disagree with. If you do not trust your lawyer, conflicts will develop. These conflicts can derail a favorable resolution.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. If the first three points did not drive this point home, allow me to reiterate: like any relationship, communication is KEY! Cases are all about information, facts, data and opinions. The more factual data you can provide your lawyer, the better chance you have of achieving your goals. Let your attorney decide what is relevant. As your case progresses you will get fatigued, sometimes you just want to turn the issue over to someone else – you are sick of it. That is understandable, but it is critical that you continue to communicate with your lawyer. Usually, there are few other ways for your lawyer to get the information needed. We may be good at what we do but we do not read minds.                             

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Watch Out for Falling Tree Branches

Submitted by Blair Dickhoner.

We are all familiar with the age-old philosophical question – “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

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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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