$5 million dollar questions????

A discussion restricted to the topic of hang gliding.
Seamusless
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Seamusless »

I agree. I can’t find any mention of such a case in Colorado. Not that I’m doubting it exists, but it would be nice to see the actual civil complaint filed by the United Healthcare insurance company. Too often third party’s recollections don’t match the actual happenings. Hence, why eyewitness testimony is considered one of the more unreliable methods.
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Andrew Vanis
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Andrew Vanis »

Sent the following PM to JohnK.

He's a member since 2012 with only 4 posts including the CO case one. The other posts look legit so unlikely just a troll.

Hope he checks his PMs and responds..... Possibly Davis can email him directly?

John, on the CO case you wrote about, do you have the specific case info or a way to identify the car like the case number or the other parties name? Thanks, Andy
JohnK
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by JohnK »

Don't remember the farm owner's name but the ultralight park was Farm Flight located outside of Kersey, CO. We're talking the early 2000's. Perhaps some of the RMHPA members that are still around have a better recollection than I do. The accident pilot's name was Larry if I remember correctly. If you doubt that insurance companies try to recover the cost of treatment for accidents, I'll relate a personal experience.

In 2006 I was flying North Boulder at the Wonderland Lake launch. I had a good launch and flight but failed to notice that there was a slight downwind in the soccer field landing area and was quickly running out of space. I was carrying too much speed when I flared at the end of the field and I popped up about 10 ft. I held the flare but foolishly extended one leg straight out rather than flexing my legs and letting the glider frame take the impact. I took off the top of my left tibia and had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. After my surgery, and during my rehab, I received a multi-page form from a law firm representing United Healthcare (them again) stating that they had the right to try to recover costs related to my treatment. They wanted specific information on the accident location and the land owner's name. Unfortunately, for them, the takeoff and landing areas are City of Boulder property and there was no way they were going to recover anything. I never heard from them again after that.

I'm not trying to bash insurance companies in general, or United Healthcare specifically, but just providing a warning that statutes like Colorado's don't prevent lawsuits.
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Andrew Vanis
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Andrew Vanis »

Thanks for the reply and additional detail... And sharing your experience.

Actual data would be important -

"ultralight park was Farm Flight"

Sounds like a commercial aviation something that would be excluded from the "no compensation" clause in the recreation use indemnity statute.

If it was actually a commercial something the original story was incorrect or at minimum misleading and Davis can retract/correct.

It would be a shame to negatively color a statute that may actually be effective. Last thing we need to do is scare land owners inaccurately ourselves.
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Davis
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Davis »

It is irrelevant whether the farmer was being paid or not. Lawyers would have been required in all cases.
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Andrew Vanis
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Andrew Vanis »

I don't disagree with that attorneys would be possibly/likely required.

It would make a difference if the farmer had the protection of the "no compensation" statute and the subsequent protection of reimbursed defense fees..... And these points would influence the likelihood of being sued in the first place or resolving the issue sooner than later and thus the attorney fees (if any) out of farmers pocket.

As a land owner it would make a difference as it speaks to how much ultimate risk landowner is taking.

The "no compensation" use statute and the additional reimbursed defense fees have been put on the books for a reason.... So yes, it does make a difference.
JohnK
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by JohnK »

No, it wasn't a commercial venture. It was a strip that the farmer cut out of his corn fields for his own use (I believe that he flew a Quicksliver) but allowed friends and selected others to use for free. As I stated in my original message, the case was dismissed by a judge, based on the Colorado statute, but he had to spend his own money to hire a lawyer to get it dismissed and to and recover the cost of defending himself. (Which, as someone pointed out, Colorado allows the winners to do in civil cases.) In the end, it didn't cost him any money out of his own pocket but was a giant pain the ass to go through for someone who was in the process of dying and probably would have liked to spend his remaining time doing other things.
Seamusless
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Seamusless »

That's a fairly important point, recovery of litigation costs, that the original story posted by Davis doesn't include. I think it speaks to the strength of the statute in ensuring the protection of the landowners. Of course, it doesn't reimburse the lost time and stress incurred, but at least it reimburses the monies paid in defending the frivolous lawsuit. My guess is that United HC is now a bit more circumspect in attempting to recover costs from landowners in Colorado, given the risk that it could have to pay opposing counsel costs on a failed lawsuit.
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Davis
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Davis »

Which original story would that be?
Seamusless
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Seamusless »

http://ozreport.com/blog.php?1623375335

Granted, we have strayed from the original topic of this thread. I should have been more specific.
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