Queener Law Featured in VoyageDenver
We are thrilled to see Queener Law featured in VoyageDenver! What an honor!
We love their insightful questions that prompt us to think a bit more about how we got here and why we have made the choices we made along the way. The life of a business owner is full of forks in the road and choices. It is always important to look back and evaluate the road already traveled to help make the right decisions for the one ahead. We are also extremely happy that our client-centric focus came through. We purposefully keep out hometown feel and insist that our clients speak to a partner every time. We want to make sure our clients know how important they are and how dedicated we are to their cases. It was very exciting to hear that the editors wanted to see Queener Law featured in VoyageDenver to give us a chance to share that view with the community.
Check out the feature here!
Call us any time for a free consultation or to refer your friends or family members in need of help. No more being tossed around from attorney to attorney or case manager to case manager. At Queener Law, you will be in the capable hands of a partner and paralegals from start to finish. Your case deserves undivided attention, and so do you.
Getting Your Medical Bills Paid the Right Way
“The insurance company said they’d pay all my medical bills. Now they only want to pay a fraction of what I owe!’ We have heard this complaint almost daily in our decades of practice. What’s the reason and who’s the culprit? Of course, every story like this begins with the fact that car insurance companies are designed to collect premiums and not pay out. But that is not the only conspiracy happening here. Hospitals and medical providers have found ways to use the car insurance system to increase profits, as well. In a recent article in The New York Times, the master plan of hospital billing is broken down into the following steps:
1. Medical Swag
When you are in a wreck, the first thing the EMS or ER staff will do is slap on that age-old neck brace. Often, that neck brace either came free as medical sales swag or was bought in bulk at a rate of a few bucks each. When you get your medical bills in the mail, you find out that your insurance paid $100-plus and you owe an additional $20 bucks or so after insurance. You could get the same brace at your local pharmacy for much less. But when your chart is flagged for a car accident, out comes the medical swag. And in the end, all of this gets paid by the car insurance company… out of your settlement.
2. The Cover Charge
When you are taken to the emergency room, you get a bill. That we know. But did you know that this bill is just for use of the room? In essence, that bill is a “cover charge” for entry. In addition to that fee, which may vary depending on how emergent or traumatic your injury may be, there is a separate fee for every material used and every person who walks into the room. In many cases, you’ll even get a completely separate bill just for the use of a doctor, a necessary component of your emergency room visit. This bill, again, may vary based on what the hospital determines is the severity of your injury. Two guesses what they label car accident victims as in order to increase their bill.
3. Impostor Billing
Not only can you get billed for every person who walks in the room, but you may also receive a bill for people who you have never met. Medical billing allows for “consult billing,” even when the physician never consulted with the patient themselves. If a radiologist simply stops an orthopedist in the hallway for a second look at your x-rays, you get billed. These are not common charges, but we see them often in cases like auto accidents where the hospital anticipates deep pockets.
4. The Drive-By
In more serious cases, where post-ER treatment is required, you can get billed even before your first visit. For instance, if your injury requires physical therapy, a therapist can enter the room just to discuss your future therapy visits, and you will receive a bill for that conversation. A full assessment or actual therapeutic treatment is not required for the hospital to bill for it.
We have added this prong because it is so prevalent and crushing to your in-pocket compensation while filling the hospital’s bank account. Hospitals allow representatives from Avectus or other lien companies to enter patients’ rooms, although they have no medical training or degrees and have not received consent from the patient or relatives. Their only purpose is to have medicated and shocked accident victims sign forms promising to pay the hospital’s bill in its entirety, regardless of whether they have health insurance. Why? Because the hospital does not want to take the contractual discount with the health insurance, and instead wants to take as much as possible from the auto insurance policy, in addition to all of your other medical bills.
The End Game
Why do we care so much about what the hospital is doing if the car insurance company is paying in the end? Why should you care about what money goes where? An auto insurance policy is like a bank account. Everything that comes out of it – including medical bills – reduces the amount in the account. In other words, every penny the hospital takes is one less for you. If your hospital bill is inflated simply because you were in an auto accident, your compensation for the injuries you sustained will go to the hospital rather than to you. If the auto policy available is only $50,000 and your hospital bill is $40,000, there is very little money left to pay remaining bills, reimburse your lost wages, or cover your future medical needs. And that’s if you don’t come out with a $75,000 bill and only $50,000 in automobile insurance. What can be done to stop this? Short of changing legislation, simply put, you need an attorney. Our office has decades of experience forcing hospitals to use health insurance and refusing to pay their liens if they are on notice and ignore us. We not only fight the insurance company on your behalf, but we also hold the hospitals to a high ethical and economical standard, refusing to let them dig into the policy that was meant to compensate you. Be aware and proactive with your health and your future. Work with a firm that has no blind side. We see the attacks coming, and will head them off at the start.
Wheelchair Injuries on Ice
Require two-wheeled assistance to get around? When it snows, this world is not for you. We all know the feeling of waking up to the gorgeous snow, a feeling that quickly shifts to the grind of warming the car, scraping the windows, and pulling on snow boots over your suit or uniform pants. What we do not all experience is sliding into our wheelchair, looking out the window, and realizing we are stuck. When your wheels are not your alternate method of travel, but are instead are your only vehicle for point A to B travel, even a little snow and ice on the ground can be a hurdle the likes of which champion horses struggle to jump. We’ve all seen the memes of what living on one side of the road versus the other can mean in Colorado when it comes to snow accumulation. Now think differently – think what it means to live in someone else’s shoes… err, wheels.
Even when a sidewalk or ramp has been shoveled, the tiniest patch of ice can send your neighbor slipping into the road, off the path, and into danger. The easiest act for able-bodied folks in the snow is getting to the car. Most of the work is the shoveling, scraping, and salting. When you’re in a chair, none of this is possible. Many people are in wheelchairs because of already complicated health issues, weakened hard and soft tissue structures, and other tenuous health conditions. A fall, especially in the cold, can bring on complications very quickly. Yet so can missing doctor’s appointments or being unable to get to work where money is earned to pay for medical treatment. Whether you’re excited about snow days or grumbling over how the mess on the roads makes a mess of your schedule, pause. Think about whether your neighbors or community members use your sidewalk to get around. Salt it. Think about whether your neighbor is wheelchair bound. Shovel and salt theirs. And if there is anyone in your circle, whether neighborhood, friend, or work life, go clean and scrape their car, shovel and salt their ramp and sidewalk. And while you’re at it, do the same for any older friends or new moms. Bring the family! Make a game out of it! Yes, you’ll be late for work. But you’ll help others get to their jobs, and you’ll save them from harm.
Current State of Denver Roads
If you haven’t seen the signs or the persistent social media posts about Vision Zero, then you have definitely seen changing road shapes around the Denver Metro area. Extra bike lanes are going in, barriers between motor and bike lanes are building up, speed barriers are popping up, and speed limits are dropping. This is all part of Denver Public Work’s efforts to stamp out traffic collisions and deaths, bringing the later to “Zero.” According to the City and County of Denver, an auto collision has a 40% Chance of causing serious or fatal injury at 30 mph. That stat, however, skyrockets to 73% just by increasing the speed to 40 mph. In the Denver city limits, as of October 12, 63 people have died in collisions, and since 2016, 41% of those were due to speed. Fatalities have continued to increase every single year for the last nine years. Of the 63 fatalities so far this year, 2 were cyclists, 17 were pedestrians, 15 were motorcyclists, and 29 were vehicle occupants.
Denver Vision Zero has set a county-wide goal to have zero traffic deaths by 2030. Rather, though, than simply announce a lofty goal and simply flash stats on overhead announcement boards on the highways, the City and County of Denver have enacted an Action Plan to take proactive steps towards the goal. The first step involved analysis. Vision Zero members analyzed not only fatal collisions themselves looking for causes, but they also constructed a map of the areas within the county lines at which there were serious or fatal collisions over the last six years. You can find this map below or interact by clicking here. You can clearly note roads like Federal, Colfax, and 6th Avenue lighting up like a light-bright as hotbeds for major collisions. In fact, an ancillary map highlighting just the routes labeled High Injury Network zones (HIM), shows that while these roads account for only 5% of Denver streets, the account for 37% of fatal collisions and 40% of serious injuries. And county-wide, motor-vehicle collisions account for twice the number of deaths than homicide. In fact, traffic collisions are the #2 leading cause of hospitalizations in Denver County.
It is also interesting to note that Vision Zero identified that most collisions in these HIN routes are crashes happening near schools and in neighborhoods primarily comprised of lower income, disabled, and elderly citizens. In these areas, speed, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and impaired driving were the top causes of serious and fatal collisions.
What are the next steps in the Action Plan?
The five priorities within the action plan, laid out for the public here, are:
- Enhance City Processes and Collaboration
- Build Safe Streets for Everyone
- Create Safe Speeds
- Promote a Culture of Safety
- Improve Data and Be Transparent
How does this translate into increased safety and less traffic collisions?
To the city and county government, enhancing city processes and collaboration includes adding departments within local governments focused primarily on traffic safety, including studies, economic appropriation, and governmental reaction to tragedies. And the “building safe streets for everyone” phase is already visible in many neighborhoods. Vision Zero has already begun re-configuring streets and intersections to reduce speed, enhance bicycle and pedestrian detection, and improving light and visibility at crossings. A part of phase two is also significant enough to the effort for Vision Zero to make a separately delineated phase. Creating safer speeds city-wide has begun in several parts, with greater speed enforcement, lower speed limits in neighborhoods and school zones, and street design changes to create safer cycling and walking lanes and force lower speeds for vehicles though the use of barriers and speed bumps.
The next phase seems tricky, and it is the opinion of Queener Law that the city has failed already in some aspects of the promotion of a culture of safety. When e-bikes and scooters hit the streets of Denver, the city was behind the eight-ball with education and regulation. Since then, the city has tripped over itself, releasing multiple complicated ordinances for how these multi-modal measures should interact with other established traffic, and education of the community has failed in spade. Traffic collisions involving scooters and bikes have continued to rise. Vision Zero intends to correct those mistakes, and make better efforts to educate and make available alternate modes of travel outside of driving. It is the opinion of the Vision Zero team that multi-modal methods will not only reduce traffic, but they should also reduce traffic deaths, aggressive and impaired drivers from occupying the road, and give a broad range of safe methods of transportation to the HIN zones.
Finally, Vision Zero does not intend to rest on the current data and act accordingly. They are making a promise to the community to continue the analysis and make honest reports to the public of the successes, failures, or stagnation of their efforts. Many more details of the Action Plan are available here. And Queener Law occupies a position on the Mobility Council for the Downtown Denver Partnership, an organization that tasks itself with advising local leaders of what our community members are thinking and feeling about the government’s actions with regards to safety. Take a look at what the local government has planned for your neighborhood, and let us know your thoughts. Queener Law will take them back to the Partnership and push for the government to be advised. We will ensure the government hears us, and therefore hears you, about our collective safety. Traffic collisions are not an inevitability. How do you think we can prevent them?
When an Employee is Negligent, the Employer Pays
On January 28, 2019, at Exposition Avenue and Sable Boulevard in Aurora, an RTD train skidded off the tracks. Several were injured and one woman lost a large portion of her leg. While there was snow and ice on the rails, as well as across the entire Metro area, RTD was prepared for that. They have safety protocol in place, as well as top of the line engineering to avoid derailments due to weather. So what happened? According to RTD, speed was the “primary factor” in causing the catastrophic slide. RTD told the Denver Post in February that the appropriate speed for an operator to maintain on sharp curves like this location is 10 mph. This particular train was going three times that fast when it entered the curve. RTD took action and fired the driver of the involved train. Enough said, right?
In Colorado, employers are responsible for the actions of their employees when the employees are acting within the scope of their employment. Employers are responsible for paying for the damages caused by the negligent employee. This is true in nearly every state in the country. The idea behind this law is to prevent businesses from hiring under-qualified employees for important and technical jobs. It’s to keep them from tossing workers out into the world, reaping the benefits, and escaping responsibility when all goes wrong. Businesses are not fans of this law, of course. They have lobbied since the beginning of time to avoid responsibility and have managed to chip away at this law in Colorado. The goal: Escaping personal responsibility for the actions that put an unqualified employee behind the wheel of a truck or in the driver’s seat of a train.
In 2017, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in In re Ferrer to minimize a business’s liability for negligent hiring, training, and supervising. The ruling essentially makes an injured party choose whether to sue the company for the damages they caused or to sue them for what led to the damages. Suing the company for both, as Colorado law has proceeded for eons, allowed victims to dig into the inner workings of the company to see just how serious they were taking the hiring processes, just how much importance was placed on employee training, and how seriously these businesses took their role as supervisor of their employees. It also allowed for much broader avenues for a jury to punish a company who sat back and watched negligence occur.
Under the new regime, firms like Queener Law are fighting back, hoping to fill back in the holes Ferrer left in victim compensation and corporate punishment. With the right set of facts and technical know-how, some of these roadblocks can be overcome. But for now, what is important to know as a member of the Colorado community is that you have rights to protect yourself against corporate negligence. When you or a family member are injured by a negligent driver, truck driver, train operator, property manager, and so on, the company for whom that employee was working is still responsible. But folks, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. These corporations are chock full of attorneys who spend day in and day out protecting their business’s money. If they are able to sway the Supreme Court into protecting their bank accounts, they can easily do the same in your case.
Call or email Queener Law for advice before proceeding on your own against a negligent business. We have gone toe to toe with corporate attorneys in several states across the country and are currently battling many here at home. We are happy to jump on board and do the fighting for you while you and your family heal from the ordeal their negligence caused.
Not only do car and motorcycle accidents have serious emotional and financial repercussions, they can have severe, life-changing physical effects on people as well. New research on the human hormone, progesterone, and its potential link to traumatic brain injuries, however, may offer car accidentsurvivors new hope in alleviating their brain injury symptoms and regaining their quality of life.
No current treatment
The human brain is a complex mass of cells and each cell works to control some part of the human body and its biological systems. When a person hits their head, and the brain is damaged, it leads to the death or weakening of these cells. If a person suffers a serious brain injury, it means a significant number of brain cells are dead or are in the process of dying. This presents an enormous challenge for physicians as the death of these cells can reduce the amount of oxygen flowing to the heart, lungs and muscles, threatening the life of the patient or leaving them in a comatose or much-altered state.
Currently, there are no curative treatment options for people who suffer from brain injuries and therefore, no steps can be taken to prevent further damage from occurring as cells continue to die. The only options medical professionals have is to monitor TBI patients, facilitate their needs and attempt to prevent further neurological damage from occurring, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Researchers may have found a way to minimize the damaging effects that brain injuries have on victims of car and motorcycle accidents. According to ABC 7 News, researchers believe that the hormone, progesterone, which is most often associated with the regulation of the female reproductive system, has the ability to protect neurons from secondary brain injuries. Progesterone is thought to reduce swelling of the brain, minimize cell death and reconstruct the blood-brain barrier.
A phase three clinical trial is currently in progress to study the long-term possibilities and safety of progesterone on brain injury patients. Patients at 150 locations in multiple countries are given a continuous supply of the hormone for five days, and then rechecked six months after the treatment has ended to evaluation whether there is any marked progression. The study is blind so patients and their families do not know whether they were given the hormone or a placebo and the hormone must be first administered within 8 hours of the injury occurring. Researchers plan to use 1,200 patients with severe brain injury in the global study. If the study is a success, it could become the first real treatment for brain injury.