Friday, November 4, 2011

10 Things to Do After a Car Accident

When the unfortunate circumstance of an auto collision occurs, it is critical to gather important information and fulfill a few responsibilities. Below are the most important steps to take following a collision. Click here for a useful form that you can keep with your insurance card. This form will help you gather the most important information at the scene of the collision.

  1. Obtain personal information from all of the other drivers involved in the accident. Write down the driver's telephone number, address and driver's license number.
  2. Obtain insurance information from all the other drivers involved in the accident. Write down the insurance company name, telephone number and insurance policy number.
  3. Obtain vehicle license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN) for all other vehicles involved in the accident.
  4. Obtain the name, phone number and address of any eyewitness to the collision.
  5. Report the accident immediately to the police and cooperate with them in preparing an accident report. If no police are available to respond to the scene, consider contacting the local police agency to determine if you can complete a report at a later time.
  6. Photograph the vehicles involved in the accident. Take several photographs that clearly show any damage. Take photographs from different angles and all four sides of the vehicles. Consider keeping a disposable camera in your car for this purpose, although a cell phone that takes quality pictures will work too.
  7. Report the accident to your insurance company, even if you are not at fault. If your insurance policy provides medical payments coverage and you require medical treatment because of the accident, your insurance company will provide you with a claim number to give to hospitals and doctors. Additionally, you may need to make a claim under your policy's uninsured coverage (if your policy provides such coverage).
  8. Seek medical treatment without delay if you are injured or experiencing pain.
  9. Photograph your injuries.
  10. Protect your legal interests. Obtain legal advice before meeting with any insurance company representative, filling out insurance documents or giving a recorded statement or medical authorization to any insurance company (even your own). You have no obligation to provide this information before you have had the opportunity to speak with an attorney. If an insurance company representative contacts you before you are prepared to discuss your claims, politely explain that you do not wish to discuss the matter at this time, and you will contact them in the future to discuss your claims.
Consider consulting with an experienced personal injury and automobile collision attorney. VanMeveren Law Group, P.C., offers free, no-obligation initial consultations. Our experienced attorneys will provide you with a thorough, thoughtful case evaluation that will help you to decide how best to proceed with your claims. Call 1-866-649-6775, email or visit our website for more information.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Is An "AV" Rated Lawyer Anyway?

An "AV" rating identifies a lawyer and firm with very high to preeminent legal ability and is the highest reflection of expertise, experience, integrity and overall professional excellence. Martindale-Hubbell ratings are established by attorneys for attorneys and an “AV” rating indicates a demonstration of the highest professional and ethical standards.

Most people, even many attorneys, likely don’t know what an “AV” rating means or where it comes from. For over 130 years, Martindale-Hubbell has been the most respected source of authoritative and dependable information about members of the legal community in the Unites States, Canada and throughout the world.

Generations of lawyers have relied on Martindale-Hubbell as the authoritative resource for information on the worldwide legal profession. Martindale-Hubbell has a history spanning more than 133 years. The Martindale-Hubbell Legal Network is currently powered by a database of over one million lawyers and law firms in 160 countries. Before technological advances, such as computers, Martindale was the number one directory for attorneys all over the world. But it was more than just a directory. It rated attorneys based on their ethical reputation, knowledge, experience, and it also categorized attorneys by specialty.

An integral part of Martindale-Hubbell's service to the legal community is the Lawyer Rating system, which evaluates lawyers and law firms in the U.S. and Canada based upon peer review.

Martindale-Hubbell's Ratings are considered invaluable when evaluating a lawyer. When making referrals or looking for counsel in another jurisdiction, lawyers need to have confidence in the individual under consideration. By reviewing the Ratings, they can select counsel with superior ethics, as well as the desired level of professional experience.

Ratings attest to a lawyer's legal ability and professional ethics, and reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and Judiciary. The Ratings are part of a century-long tradition and are exclusive to Martindale-Hubbell.

A lawyer or client may evaluate a colleague by considering the Rating, together with other data in the Professional Biography - such as practice areas, bar memberships, professional affiliations, education and clients. The Rating completes the professional profile, providing additional insight into who might be the right choice for that particular legal matter.

Ratings are established by lawyers for lawyers. The legal community respects the accuracy of Ratings because it knows that its own members - the people best suited to assess their peers - are directly involved in the process. The Martindale-Hubbell Ratings system is based on the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary, including both those who are rated and those who are not.
Martindale-Hubbell representatives conduct personal interviews to discuss lawyers under review with other members of the Bar. A compilation of these opinions from various sources is necessary to form a consensus, and lawyers under review are sometimes asked to provide professional references to assist with the process.

In addition, confidential questionnaires are sent to lawyers and judges in the same geographic location and/or area of practice as the lawyer being rated. Members of the Bar are instructed to assess their colleague's legal ability and general ethical standards.

There are two components to each Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating:

Legal Ability Ratings - Legal Ability Ratings take into consideration the standard of professional ability in the area where the lawyer practices, the lawyer's expertise, and other professional qualifications. If a lawyer's practice is limited or specialized, Ratings are based on performance in those specific fields of law.

Legal Ability Ratings are:
C - Good to High
B - High to Very High
A - Very High to Preeminent

General Ethical Standards Rating- The General Ethical Standards Rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities.

The General Recommendation Rating is:
V - Very High

A lawyer will not receive a Legal Ability Rating unless he or she has been endorsed for a "V." When both categories of Ratings are confirmed, a lawyer receives a CV, BV or AV Rating. However, many attorneys do not even reach the level of “CV”, due to Martindale’s stringent review process.

An “AV” Rating shows that a lawyer has reached the height of professional excellence. He or she has usually practiced law for many years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. So when you’re looking for an attorney, you obviously want someone other attorneys look up to as being the best or “AV” rated.

Attorney Bryan VanMeveren is honored to possess the distinguished “AV” rating. For over 17 years, Mr. VanMeveren has upheld the virtues of honesty, compassion and excellence in relation to the work he has done for countless clients. As an “AV” rated attorney, you can count on Mr. VanMeveren to continue displaying the same esteemed qualities to each client's case, no matter the size or complexity.

Call VanMeveren Law Group for a free consultation at 1-866-649-6775 or visit our website at

Information above excerpted from the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory website.
Copyright 2010 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Eisevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What is Subrogation and How Does it Work?

Subrogation is essentially a right to reimbursement. In a personal injury case, subrogation allows an insurance company to recover the money that it paid on your behalf for medical expenses or other insurance benefits. Technically speaking, subrogation is actually the legal substitution of an insurance company for the injured victim, entitling the insurance company to make the legal claims of the injured victim. Put another way, an insurance company that pays benefits on behalf of an injured person steps into the shoes of the injured person and has the right to assert the injured person’s claims against the negligent party.

Sometimes the insurance company will assert its claim directly against the person who caused your injuries (that person is called the tortfeasor). Other times, the insurance company will notify you or your attorney that it has a right to subrogation and that it expects to be repaid out of any money recovered in your case. Correctly handling subrogation claims is critical. Failing to properly resolve a subrogation claim leaves you vulnerable to lawsuits and judgments by the insurance company.

Types of Subrogation
Depending on the type of coverage, insurers have various rights of subrogation. For example, in Colorado, all Workers’ Compensation insurance companies have a legal right to subrogation granted by Colorado Revised Statutes, section 8-41-203. Health and disability insurance companies get their right to subrogation by contract—i.e. insurers include language in the policy they provide that states they have a right to subrogation. Not every insurer has subrogation rights though. Typically, if an insurance company does not have a statutory right to subrogation and the insurance policy does not say they have a right to subrogation, then you do not need to repay it. But determining whether an insurance company truly has a valid subrogation claim can be difficult. It involves reading lengthy documents filled with legalese. It’s important to know where to look and what to look for. Even if a document claims the right to subrogation, that claim may not be enforceable.

Limitations on the Right of Subrogation
Sometimes victims believe it does not make sense to pursue a claim because they assume that all of the recovery will go to repay the insurance companies. However, this is often not the case. The only way to clearly evaluate whether a claim is worth pursuing is to consult an experienced lawyer with thorough knowledge of insurance law and subrogation rights. Not all types of recovery are subject to claims of subrogation. Even when certain types of recovery are subject to claims of subrogation, other laws limit the insurance companies’ rights to be fully repaid.

Colorado law provides two helpful rules that often apply to reduce the amount subject to subrogation. The first is called the Made Whole Rule. This rule applies to private health insurance companies governed by Colorado law. In cases where it applies, the Made Whole Rule states that if the victim did not recover the full amount of her damages, there exists a rebuttable presumption that the insurance company may not be entitled to any recovery. It is important to note that the injured party must take very specific steps in order to void an insurer’s subrogation claim.

The second helpful rule is the Common Fund Doctrine. This rule requires that insurers reduce their liens proportionately to pay a portion of your attorney’s fees and case costs. After all, if you hire the attorney who does all of the work to obtain a recovery that gets split between you and the insurance companies, how is it fair that you pay the entire attorney’s fee and costs out of your portion and the insurance company gets its full portion? The Common Fund Doctrine applies to make sure that the insurance company does not get a free ride at your expense and makes them pay their fair share of your attorney’s fees and case costs.

In summary, subrogation presents many difficult issues. No one simple rule exists for all subrogation cases. The rights of the insurer vary depending on the type of case, who has the right to subrogation and the source of the recovery.

It is impossible to cover every possible example in this blog post. Please be aware that many pitfalls and a few lifelines exist in the complicated world of subrogation. Understanding which limitations apply and how to assert your rights can make a tremendous difference to your net recovery. Our attorneys have successfully resolved hundreds of subrogation issues favorably for our clients. We will utilize our experience and expertise to insure you receive the maximum recovery possible.

Contact our office at or 1-866-649-6775 for a free consultation.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pro Bono Attorneys in Northern Colorado

VanMeveren Law Group is committed to the principle that all individuals, regardless of their means, should have fair and equal access to the legal system. Our team at VanMeveren Law Group dedicates at least 100 hours annually to pro bono cases, primarily in our areas of expertise – personal injury, wrongful death, and insurance law.  We have also successfully represented individuals in bankruptcy, custody and divorce matters.  In pro bono cases, no fee is charged to the client, but each case receives the same focused and earnest attention we give to all our clients.
Our primary motivation in accepting pro bono cases is to obtain a fair and just outcome that could not be reached by clients representing themselves. In some cases, a client has every moral and legal right to compensation, but the amount that could be recovered may not be enough to cover the fees associated with hiring an attorney and litigating a matter in the courts.  In these cases, we evaluate the seriousness of the harm to the victim, the egregiousness of the defendant’s conduct and the client’s need for justice.
Sometimes, we may take a pro bono case because we believe in larger principles involved in the matter. For example, assume a victim is riding a bicycle and is hit from behind by a car. His bicycle is ruined and he has minor injuries, but no health insurance. Now, in addition to a totaled bike, he has medical bills to pay. This scenario can be financially devastating to the individual, but may not warrant paying attorney’s fees and litigation costs. Now, assume that the insurance company for the driver that hit the innocent cyclist denies the claim, arguing the cyclist “should have been on the sidewalk”. The larger principle in this example is that the cyclist has every right to be on the road and the insurance company is only denying the claim because they know the unfortunate individual has no means to challenge their denial. VanMeveren Law Group will see to it that insurance companies pay when there is a valid case.
Bryan VanMeveren and Bill Doutt have consistently done pro bono work throughout their careers.  The following are just a few examples:
·       We provided extensive pro bono services to a man who was struck head-on by a drunk driver who carried no insurance. We successfully resolved his underinsured motorist claim for his policy limits and obtained substantial reductions of all of his medical bills.
·       We represented a man who was riding his bicycle to work when he was struck from behind by a van, while riding across a bridge with no shoulder or sidewalk. He was riding on the right side of the right lane, as he had every right to do. Unbelievably, the police officer who responded to the scene cited the cyclist with careless driving.  We took the case to trial and the cyclist was found not guilty.
·       We worked with a women’s shelter to help many victims of domestic abuse obtain restraining orders against defendants who threatened physical harm.
·       We regularly provide pro bono services to the indigent, including case screening, evaluation and informative talks to those seeking legal advice in domestic relations matters.
·       We frequently provide free legal services to the Larimer County Boys and Girls Club.

In some personal injury and accident cases, a client may not know whether they need an attorney to take their case pro bono. We will help make that determination through a free consultation.  Each case is handled with our sincere dedication to find justice for you.

Contact our office at or call our toll free line at 1-866-649-6775.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bicycle Injury Attorneys in Northern Colorado

Injuries arising from an accident while you are riding your bicycle are becoming all too common in Colorado. Accidents resulting from the negligence of an inattentive or careless motorist, a malfunction in one or more parts of the bicycle, a design or manufacturing defect in the bicycle are all potentially viable claims.  

The process of evaluating the merits of a bicycle injury claim and all of the related insurance issues can sometimes be overwhelming. Consultation with an attorney who has extensive experience in bicycle accident cases is an extremely important component of your case.  The goal of our experienced team at VanMeveren Law Group is to help alleviate the stress associated with a claim so you can focus on getting well. We make it a priority to provide very personal attention to your case and maximize recovery of all that was lost in the accident, including compensation for injuries, payment of medical bills and recovery of lost earnings.

    Injuries sustained in a bike accident are often quite severe, involving brain trauma, spinal cord injury, dislocations and broken bones. Sadly, bicycle accidents can sometimes lead to wrongful death. In the face of all this, you need the services of a law firm that will help you obtain the maximum compensation for all of your claims. A lawyer who has advanced knowledge in cases involving bike accident injury claims is critical to a successful outcome.

In our law firm, Bryan VanMeveren is an experienced cyclist and 7 time Ironman triathlete. As an avid cyclist, he has personally been the victim of road rage and aggressive driving. As a former ski patrolman, he also has vast knowledge of traumatic injuries. His experience provides creative, diverse and far reaching skills that are sure to help you if you are a bike accident victim.

When it comes to the tactics employed by some insurers and their lawyers aimed at denying you compensation for your claims, we have experienced attorneys who are well versed in all tactics used by the defense to frustrate your efforts towards obtaining fair compensation. When it comes to offering clients the best in terms of effective and attentive counsel, VanMeveren Law Group is rated among the highest in Northern Colorado.

  Whether the cause of your accident is as a result of a defective part on your bike, carelessness on the part of one or more road users or any other cause, our law firm will provide effective representation. Our lawyers and legal team are highly knowledgeable when it comes to cycling and how bicycle accident claims are handled.

When you sustain injuries from a bicycle accident, you may not have the knowledge or experience of how or where to begin. Evaluating every aspect of your claim, including the potential for recovery, especially in cases where the defaulter in the accident does not have an adequate insurance policy, the anticipated outcome, a detailed assessment of your injuries and recovering payment for your medical bills are all services we provide. Our highly skilled legal team is sure to help you by putting their bicycle accident knowledge and experience to good use, analyzing every available option to obtain the maximum compensation for your bicycle accident claim.

Potential clients can always contact our office at for a free initial consultation or call our toll free line at 1-866-649-6775.