High Impact has partnered on numerous cases over the past 2 years with Hottman Law Office in Golden, CO. Megan Hottman, also known as The Cyclist Lawyer, exclusively represents injured bicyclists. These are some of the incredible results she has found through collaborating with us and our team.
Megan Hottman: Absolutely - it’s an investment we’d make for any case to have it trial-ready. We make the commitment early on in the case by investing in visuals that help both the client and the insurers we are battling to see the seriousness of the injuries in full color, high-detail graphics. These visuals add a whole new level of understanding and appreciation for the injuries AND signal to them that we’ll be trial-ready if the settlement discussions aren’t successful.
Showing you’re preparing your case for trial from day one is not only the best way to net a better settlement result but it will also net a better trial result. You’re preparing for trial from day one, not waiting until the last minute to get battle-ready.
MH: Generally I think the client feels seen, and that their injuries are more seriously evaluated and appreciated when there are visuals accompanying the medical records. They see their case is being prepared and presented to the absolute highest level of attention and detail possible. X-rays and imaging don’t do the injuries justice. The colorized graphics often show the entire body, skin, blood, muscle, etc.… they are one more way of reminding all parties involved that these awful injuries happened to a real human being, making everything easier to relate to.
“I met Megan at a Trial by Human seminar in Boulder, Colorado. I was impressed to see that she was cycling to the seminar and even more impressed to learn of both her legal and cycling achievements. Megan has found a way to combine her cycling passion and talent with her career in an authentic way to truly benefit her clients.”
MH: Keep it simple. Don’t try to restate what the medical records or doctors have stated - let those documents speak for themselves. Add client impact statements (rather than speaking in your own words, as the lawyer) about how this has affected them. Including the medical visuals plus the photos of external injuries really helps show how painful and severe the injuries are. Don’t go on and on and on for pages. Make it readable, digestible, and as easy to grasp as possible.
MH: I think that visuals have always been critical and circumstances due to COVID have not altered this in my mind at all. Mediators appreciate having the visuals, and since we often add visuals to our initial complaints the judge sees from the very first moment that we’re prepared. Mediators can see something tangible and full-color in an otherwise very bland document, giving them some context for the rest of the case. I find it’s more effective to SHOW the reader AND tell them - combining both methods is powerful. We all like colorful images. Judges and mediators are no different.
MH: Circumstances may occur that a treating doctor and expert don’t particularly agree on an injury, diagnosis, or recommended surgical intervention or anticipated result. Having different visuals or sub-drawings within a visual can help delineate the differences in these types of opinions. We’ve also used visuals to “clean up” discrepancies in reports or records, for example when the doctor meant one thing but dictated another. We can use the visual graphic to explain more easily something that could potentially be confusing in the records.
MH: For cycling, there has been an unprecedented rise in interest due to COVID. Bike shops, bike manufacturers, bike repair services - they have never been this in-demand before and it has been a really exciting time to be a cyclist, and a believer in the bike. Many bad things have come as a result of COVID, but one totally unexpected upside is that we are seeing more people riding bikes than ever before. Back in the spring when we saw many states like Colorado lock down for 6-8 weeks, we saw fewer motorists out on the road, more people riding bikes, and our practice went 8 weeks without a single phone call from a cyclist who had been injured or struck by a motorist. We CELEBRATED this! That is what we’ve always wanted, and I got a glimpse of what that world would look like this past spring - when rush hour virtually disappeared overnight and people took to their bikes in record numbers. I’ve said since the beginning that if cycling became safe enough that people no longer needed us, I’d move on to some other career.
It’s been an exciting year for cycling - seeing more and more families and kids out riding bikes, watching adults choose a bike as transportation now that public transit is less appealing due to social distancing - once again, we were able to say: this is why we love and believe in bikes!
MH: I appreciate being able to let the records speak for themselves alongside the accurate visuals. I don’t believe that taking time to summarize medical records is time well spent. I see myself as a storyteller - responsible for showing liability, causation and damages - and to that end I want to focus my time in settlement discussions and communicating my client’s story. I value any strategies that allow medical documentation and exhibits, alongside doctor’s narratives or reports, to stand alone and speak volumes.
“Showing you’re preparing your case for trial from day one is not only the best way to net a better settlement result but it will also net a better trial result. You’re preparing for trial from day one, not waiting until the last minute to get battle-ready.”
Megan Hottman, also known as The Cyclist Lawyer, exclusively represents injured bicyclists. At the age of 29, she formed her practice in Golden, Colorado, and has successfully represented over 120 individual cyclists nationwide since 2010. Megan was featured for her work in cycling cases by both Outside Magazine and HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in 2015. She has authored countless articles on bike-safety topics and laws and also co-authored a cycling-law resource book called Bicycle Accidents, Crashes, and Collisions: Biomechanical, Engineering, and Legal Aspects. Part of her life’s mission is to get more people on bikes—riding safely—through advocacy and education. Megan provides cycling-legal education seminars to cyclists, local bike clubs, as well as to law enforcement personnel and District Attorneys. She works closely with local, state and national bike advocacy organizations and legislators to create laws that will make cycling safer. In December 2019, Megan led a group of 24 cyclists through a 28-hour long indoor cycling class to set a new Guinness World Record for the longest static cycling class. The record still stands! All sponsorships, individual rider contributions, and donations benefitted PeopleForBikes.