Denver attorney Gregory A. Hall has been representing injured persons since 1995 in state and federal court. Mr. Hall represents people injured in auto, bus, motorcycle, pedestrian and bicycle accidents. He handles products liability cases and claims involving wrongful death, outrageous conduct, intentional infliction of emotional harm, defamation, insurance bad faith, fraud, assault and battery.
DO YOU NEED TO RETAIN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?
Have you or a loved one suffered a serious injury caused by another’s negligence, recklessness, or willful conduct? If so, then your case may warrant the effort and cost involved with filing a personal injury lawsuit. Regardless of what anyone tells you, pursuing a personal injury claim is serious business and requires a huge commitment. The goal of the legal system is to force the party who caused the harm to make the injured person whole by paying the injured person money damages. This is what is called justice. However, as much I would like to help you get back to where you were before you got hurt, getting money rarely makes the injured person whole. The one thing that would make the person whole, getting his or her health back, is not something the legal system can accomplish. All I can do is to make your financial situation better. That is how the legal system works.
There are several reasons why pursing a claim can be challenging, both for the client and the lawyer. For years insurance companies have bombarded the public with misleading advertisements about frivolous lawsuits. This propaganda has contributed to judges, juries, and even some doctors, being predisposed to the mindset that a person who files a lawsuit is either exaggerating his or her injuries, or is just greedy and trying to get rich quick off an unfortunate set of circumstances. Even without this manufactured bias, a personal injury lawsuit takes a lot of work because the injured party has the burden of proof, which means the plaintiff has the obligation to present evidence proving two things:
- That the person who injured you is legally responsible for your injuries; and
- The value of your damages. The defendant, the person who hurt you, does not have to do anything except try to destroy your case.
Proving damages can be problematic if the largest component of your claim is for pain and suffering, as opposed to lost wages or medical expenses. To prove medical and pain and suffering damages, the plaintiff typically offers expert witness testimony from the plaintiff’s treating physician. However, this is not as straight forward as it may seem at first blush, since many physicians charge exorbitant expert witness fees, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many litigants to put on their case. It is not uncommon for plaintiffs to feel frustrated and overwhelmed by the legal system which they turn to obtain justice, because a plaintiff must face the enormous task of putting on his or her case. A Colorado personal injury lawyer can help you shoulder that responsibility, but it is a shared responsibility between lawyer and client. There are simply things that the client must do to prepare the case that the lawyer is not able to do.
If you have been injured in Colorado by someone else’s negligence or intentional conduct and you answer yes to any one of the following questions, you may have a viable claim and should consult with a Colorado personal injury lawyer:
- Have you missed at least five days of work?
- Were you hospitalized?
- Have you had surgery?
- Has your injury left you unable to perform your regular job?
- Has your injury has caused a permanent impairment?
- Have you obtained medical treatment over a several month period?
PITFALLS TO AVOID IN SELECTING A PHYSICIAN
There are many potential pitfalls in filing any personal injury lawsuit, but a catastrophic mistake to avoid is selecting a physician who does not or will not support your legal needs. This is particularly difficult in a medical malpractice claim, since physicians are often reticent to testify against another physician, even if the malpractice is obvious. You need a physician who not only provides good medical care but who is also willing to attend to your medical-legal needs in the form of preparing cogent written reports and providing expert testimony. Before committing to a physician, make sure the physician will assist you if you file a lawsuit and find out what the physician will charge for expert witness fees. Some physicians charge such hefty expert witness fees that it makes it impossible for you to pursue a claim. Most physicians are all to happy to provide care to someone who has the means to pay for their services, but just make sure that after the physician has been remunerated for providing you treatment, that the same physician will not abandon you when you need legal support.
You should know too that there are a many physicians who have earned the description of being an “insurance doctor”. Insurance doctors have demonstrated biases against persons who file a personal injury lawsuit because your lawsuit is in reality filed against the insurance company who provides insurance to the person who hurt you. Insurance doctors have a conflict of interest stemming from the substantial income they earn for providing expert testimony for the insurance companies. Insurance doctors routinely offer expert testimony against persons like you, who file lawsuits. In most, but not all instances, it makes sense to avoid treating with an insurance doctor.