Trial Results


Boulder County District Court; Boulder, Colorado

Outcome: Jury verdict for client. $860,000 including interest and costs. Final CU insurer settlement offer before trial: $10,000 for years before trial and $25,000 3 days before trial. The jury verdict was $850,000 higher than CU’s insurer’s longstanding settlement offer before trial.

Description: Client’s car struck by CU van. Client had serious spinal cord problems before the collision, which the client testified were aggravated by the collision. CU, through its attorneys hired by its insurance pool, denied that the CU van driver caused the collision. CU’s insurance pool attorneys also denied that the collision caused my client’s injuries. CU’s insurance attorney’s hired a neurosurgeon who testified that the collision did not cause my client’s injuries. The jury found otherwise.


Boulder County District Court; Boulder, Colorado

Outcome: Jury verdict for client. $302,130 including interest and costs. Final settlement offer before trial: $10,000. The jury verdict was $292,130 higher than the auto insurer’s final settlement offer before trial.

Description: Client’s car was struck in an intersection. Wrist and shoulder injury, with concussion. The person who caused the collision (defendant) denied that he had caused the client’s injuries. The defendant flew to Finland after the collision and attempted to avoid all responsibility for his running through a red light. Law firm succeeded after serious and sustained efforts in gaining service of process over the defendant under a unique quasi-in-rem jurisdictional argument.


Boulder County District Court; Boulder, Colorado

Outcome: Jury verdict for client. $185,000 including interest and costs. Final combined settlement offers by both defendants before trial: $28,000. The jury verdict was $157,000 higher than the combined auto insurers’ final settlement offers before trial. Although it is unusual for Colorado juries to award such damages, the jury here separately awarded the client’s wife, who was not involved in the collision, $17,500 for family losses known as loss of consortium.

Description: Client’s car sandwiched between two cars in a mid-block collision. The two other drivers (defendants) blamed each other for causing the collision. Soft tissue and ligament injury in back.


Jefferson County District Court; Golden, Colorado

Outcome: Jury verdict for client. $166,000 including interest and costs. Final settlement offer by Defendant’s insurer before trial: $15,000. The jury verdict was $151,000 higher than the auto insurer’s final settlement offer before trial. Although unusual, the jury separately awarded client’s husband, who was not involved in the collision, $5,000 for family losses called loss of consortium.

Description: Client’s car proceeded through an intersection on a green light but stopped when an ambulance passed in front of her car. Her car was rear-ended when she stopped for the ambulance. The driver who rear ended my client’s car (the defendant) denied that the collision was her fault, testifying that she was confronted with a sudden emergency. A claim of sudden emergency is an affirmative defense to a rear-end collision, and if believed by the jury, my client would have lost this case.

The defendant maintained that it was a low speed collision, and presented a physician-engineer expert witness who testified that this was a minor impact collision based upon the insignificant damage to both vehicles. The defendant also denied that she caused the claimed injuries. My client said the impact aggravated her severe, pre-existing neck degeneration, resulting in a cervical surgery.

This was an exceedingly difficult case for the jury to decide because both the liability and damages portions of the case were unclear. The ambulance in the intersection made it difficult to prove that the defendant driver was completely at fault for the collision. And my client testified that before the collision she suffered from serious degenerative joint disease in her neck. This Jefferson County jury listened carefully to both sides and ultimately agreed with my client and her doctors in this case.


Jefferson County District Court; Golden, Colorado

Outcome: Jury verdict for client. $118,000, including interest and costs. The defendant’s auto insurer made a settlement offer before trial of $2,500, followed by a final offer of $3,000 just before trial. The jury verdict was $115,000 higher than the insurer’s final settlement offer before trial.

Description: Client’s car first struck a car stopped in traffic in front of his, and then was rear-ended by the defendant’s car. The defendant denied that he was negligent and denied that the client was injured in the collision. The defendant claimed that the client was partially at fault for the collision, and that any injuries he claimed were a result of the first collision.

The defendant presented an Accident Reconstructionist Expert who testified that the impact was minimal. The client testified that his left shoulder was injured during the collision, requiring a rotator cuff surgery. The defendant then presented an orthopedic surgeon who testified that my client’s shoulder could not have been hurt in such a minor collision.

Again, a Jefferson County jury listened very closely to a difficult case and sided with the evidence presented by my client.


ALLSTATE INS. CO. v. COLLINS, 805 P.2d 431 (1991)

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc.

Outcome: Client prevailed. Allstate stamped “DENIED” on my client’s $700 medical bill, causing this lawsuit. Based upon this case, and an extensive companion case noted below, new law emerged making it much harder for Colorado insurers to DENY payment of medical bills arising from motor vehicle collisions.

Description: This lawsuit arose when my client’s auto insurer, Allstate Insurance Company, denied payment for his $700 cervical MRI bill. The MRI image revealed that the client had suffered a broken neck when another driver ran into him causing the collision. Allstate refused to pay for the critical MRI, claiming that MRIs were not “scientifically sound” diagnostic procedures. This case arose under the then-existing Colorado “no-fault” auto insurance laws.

From these humble beginnings, we never lost focus over the years. The matter progressed slowly up to the Colorado Supreme Court, after being initially tried in arbitration (lost), then on to the Boulder County District Court (lost), then on to the Colorado Court of Appeals (won), and finally up to the Colorado Supreme Court (won). The final result was an extraordinary, state-wide strengthening of Colorado law for those injured in motor vehicle collisions at the time. The Court of Appeals ruled in this case, and in a related companion case, that auto insurers were required to pay for their insured’s collision-related medical bills as then required by law, or face additional bad faith tort claims.

Up until these cases, auto collision insurers regularly denied required medical bill payments (some quite large) merely because state law limited the consequences for their unreasonable denials to a very small penalty, essentially a slap on the wrist. This case and another lead to overturning the “small penalty” limitation by allowing an injured person to present claims in Court showing the full consequences of their insurer’s payment denials including bad faith breach of insurance contract, loss of credit rating, and many other foreseeable damages stemming from the unreasonable denials.

Auto insurers, for the first time, faced serious consequences for non-payment of medical bills and − in short order − they started paying up, statewide.

See also: Farmers Group, Inc. v. Williams, 805 P.2d419 (1991) which was argued after Allstate v. Collins, above.



Boulder County District Court

I volunteered to represent a woman who was sued by a very large trucking corporation after she caused a collision. She was given a traffic ticket for running a stop sign (which she had done) and for driving without auto insurance (which she had also done). This woman was genuinely poor, and even though she made sincere efforts, she had difficulty providing daily necessities for her family.

On the day of the accident she was driving her small, decades-old car, at dusk. She drove right through a stop sign on a rural road, without stopping. No drugs or alcohol were involved. She and her car ended up directly in front of the oncoming semi when it crushed her car, and her.

It was a miracle that she lived. She was in the hospital for months. She did not remember much about the collision.

Having no car insurance and having received the ticket, she was sued by the trucking corporation’s insurance company. That insurer had paid to repair the semi truck’s front chrome bumper, which was scratched and dented, and the insurer demanded that she pay them back. She needed a lawyer to respond to (“Answer”) the lawsuit, she qualified for free legal aid, and I got the call.

After meeting with the client, I called the attorney for the trucking company who had filed the lawsuit. I said that she was unable to pay all at once, lawsuit or not. Didn’t matter, he said, they would take her to Court and get a judgement for their bumper costs. She was scared for her family.

trial1Having worked on many commercial trucking injury cases, I reviewed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations especially Part 393.11 directing that big semis “must” have reflective devices conspicuously positioned, as indicated in this diagram.

The insurer had pictures of the damaged bumper and the pictures confirmed that the required reflectors were absent. So did the police photos taken at the scene.

I meet with the client who simply said “no” when I suggested that she might consider filing a counterclaim for her injuries because the truck would be hard to see at dusk without the reflectors required by federal law. She said she just wanted a payment plan that she could afford (over a long period to time) to pay for the damaged bumper. I called, but the attorney for the insurer said “NO” to a payment plan; the lawsuit could not be settled and would proceed to trial.

The client then agreed to add a counterclaim for her severe injuries to her Answer in the lawsuit against her. Now, the risk to the insurer in trying the lawsuit they had originally filed was quite large. Their attorney dismissed their entire lawsuit leaving only her potentially large injury claim.

Notwithstanding, she directed me to dismiss her case, with the end result being that no money was found owing to anyone.