RECENT FIRM VERDICTS: STANDING UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT
Personal injury law is about more than just numbers. It’s about helping injured people obtain compensation for their losses — and, in some cases, helping them achieve vindication when they’ve been accused of doing something wrong. This month we spotlight two recent cases that demonstrate our commitment to justice for our clients.
COLORADO SPRINGS VERDICT: 35X WHAT INSURANCE COMPANY OFFERED
In a Colorado Springs courtroom this month, a jury awarded more than $35,000 to a 23-year-old woman injured in a four-car pileup that wasn’t her fault.
The plaintiff was represented by attorneys Jonathan Drucker and Alexander F. Beale of the law firm of Franklin D. Azar & Associates.
The 2019 crash happened on a busy street at rush hour. The Azar client was rear-ended by another vehicle; the impact pushed her car into the one ahead of her, which then collided with a fourth vehicle. The Azar client was treated for soft-tissue damage and other injuries caused by the crash.
Although the motorist who rear-ended her was cited by police for careless driving, he denied that he was responsible for the crash, blaming it on the Azar client. He claimed that she had collided with the car in front of hers before he hit her vehicle. His insurance company also disputed the reasonableness of her medical costs. The defendant’s final offer to settle her claim before trial was $1000 — far less than the bills she had incurred.
“It came down to the credibility of our client,” says attorney Beale. “The defendant’s insurance company accused her of not being truthful and causing the crash. We went to trial so that she could tell her story.”
The Azar attorneys presented evidence and witnesses corroborating that story. The jury found the defendant 100% at fault in the crash and awarded the Azar client $11,759.85 in economic damages (her medical expenses) and $23,519.70 in noneconomic damages, for a total of $35,279.55. Those are impressive numbers, amounting to 35 times what the insurance company offered to settle the case. But they are also a measure of our client’s complete vindication in the matter — the best of all possible outcomes when you’re in the business of fighting for the rights of injured people.
INJURED VETERAN’S VICTORY OVER INSURANCE COMPANY
A three-year running battle between a military veteran and his insurance company over the extent of his injuries from a car crash resulted in a Denver jury verdict this month, ordering the company to provide additional compensation to the plaintiff to deal with long-term costs associated with the accident.
The plaintiff was represented by the law firm of Franklin D. Azar & Associates.
The case is the result of a 2019 crash on a rural road in the eastern part of El Paso County. The Azar client, a man in his late thirties and a veteran of multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, survived a T-bone impact by a vehicle that failed to heed a yield sign. He sustained broken ribs and a head injury and was transported by Flight for Life to a hospital, where he stayed for several days.
The other driver was cited for failure to yield. The Azar client, who had little memory of the incident, filed a claim to address his medical bills and other damages and received $250,000 from the other motorist’s insurance, the maximum limit of his policy. However, concern over a need for future care because of the head injury also led the client to file a claim under his own insurance policy’s underinsured motorist coverage. The man had suffered a previous traumatic brain injury during his military service, which raised the prospect of significant complications from the subsequent head trauma.
The insurance company offered $15,000 to settle the case before trial. “The company took the position that he had already been fully compensated,” says Azar senior attorney DezaRae LaCrue. “But there were real concerns about his future care and whether he could do certain activities after an injury like this.”
At trial LaCrue and the Azar legal team presented evidence regarding the circumstances of the crash, the resulting injuries, and the likelihood of future medical needs. The jury awarded the plaintiff close to $35,000 in damages; with interest and costs, the total judgment is expected to be around $75,000. LaCrue says her client was pleased with the result.
“My guy is a soldier,” she says. “He wants to get on with his life, and we want to make sure he has the means to do that.”
WINTER DRIVING TIPS EVERY COLORADO DRIVER SHOULD KNOW
Anyone who’s weathered a Colorado winter knows something about our unpredictable climate, from abrupt heat waves to jarring temperature drops, sudden gales and blizzards, ice storms followed by flashmelts — and sometimes all of the above in one day. Like all winter sports, driving in the Centennial State’s colder months takes preparation, savvy, and patience. Here are some useful driving tips for getting safely through the storms ahead.
1. Know your vehicle — and its limitations. With the advent of antilock brakes and traction control, many of the old rules about winter driving, such as pumping your brakes in a skid, no longer apply. But drivers still need to know what kind of technology they’re equipped with, and what it can and can’t do. In the depths of winter, many mountain roads shouldn’t be attempted without all-wheel drive, high clearance, and/or tire chains; and, contrary to some drivers’ beliefs, even all-wheel drive can be useless if you happen to be on a friction-free stretch of ice.
2. Bring the right tools. At the very least, you should have an ice scraper and snow brush, proper winter clothing, and cell phone (no texting, please) along for the ride. For long-range trips, blankets, food and water, an emergency kit, any needed medications, and a snow shovel should be on board, too, and keep plenty of gas in the tank to help keep the fuel line from freezing.
3. Brush up on visibility. Slippery roads aren’t the only problem. A major hazard in many winter driving situations is limited visibility, thanks to blowing snow and the icing of windshields and wiper blades (which should be replaced every year). Incredibly, drivers often compound the problem by not bothering to clear their windows (particularly their back windows) before hitting the road, figuring the defroster will eventually take care of it. Taking a few extra minutes to scrape and defrost before setting out greatly increases your prospects of being able to see what’s going on around you and avoid a crash.
4. Don’t be a statistic. Cars that offer keyless ignitions and remote starting features have compounded a common problem — people leaving cars to “warm up” in closed garages, which can lead to potentially fatal levels of carbon monoxide overpowering drivers or other family members. Never leave your car idling in a closed garage — or, for that matter, idling unattended in your driveway, which could be in violation of local “puffer” laws and encourage car thieves.
5. For serious winter driving, get serious winter tires. All-season tires are intended to competently handle a variety of middling road conditions. But “all-season” doesn’t mean “all-winter.” If you expect to be routinely facing extreme winter conditions, such as heavily snow-packed roads, you should talk to your tire store about tires that are specifically designed to offer superior traction in snow and ice. That means having to switch tires in the summer in order to extend the life of your winter grippers, but if you are facing months of serious snowfall and frosty nights, it could be worth it.
6. Easy does it. In icy winter conditions, accelerating, braking, and maneuvering through traffic should all be done at a gentler pace, with frugal use of the gas pedal and the brake. Don’t gun it from a stoplight, unless you like spinning your wheels futilely. AAA recommends that “the normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds,” to give you more time and distance to brake if needed. Going slower takes longer, but it greatly increases your chance of actually getting somewhere.
7. Use your momentum. It’s best to avoid flooring it to get up a hill or jamming on the brake going downhill; if you let the car’s own weight help to regulate your speed going up and slow you coming down, there’s less chance of a skid. It’s also important to turn off the cruise control in wet or snowy conditions, since it can cause surges of acceleration at inconvenient times and lead to hydroplaning or worse.
8. Avoid unnecessary trips. If the weather alerts are screaming about an impending blizzard, ask yourself one question: Is this trip really necessary? Sometimes the safest option in extreme weather conditions is to put another log on the fire and wait for the plows to make things a bit more bearable.
The Car Accident Lawyers At FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise in serious injury cases have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-9032, or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.
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