Englewood, Colorado is a fabulous place to live! You’ve got Fiddler’s Green, The Gothic Theater, The Museum of Outdoor Arts, Belleview Park and even Pirate’s Cove. Because of its size and combination of urban and open spaces, Englewood attracts many families looking to settle down, grow roots, raise kids and send them off into the great big world.
As such a popular homestead, Englewood also has its fair share of car accidents, but the city must be doing something right because one important car crash statistic is headed in the right direction. In 2016, there were 6 total fatalities due to car crashes in Englewood. Just the next year in 2017, Englewood only had 4 car crash fatalities. Statistically speaking, that’s a decline of over 34%. I think any city could be proud of that trend.
(In fact, I did a Google search on “car accidents in Englewood, CO” and found that the biggest story was about the water main break on April 10, 2019! If that’s the worst car crash news in Englewood, you guys have a lot to celebrate.)
But I digress.
I actually want to address Englewood parents directly, particularly those sending their kids away for military service or college. In a nutshell: Make sure your children always use your home as their “home of record.”
Why? Allow me to begin with a story.
Our client was riding his motorcycle in Englewood, CO (on Englewood Parkway) when another driver ran a stop sign and hit him, nearly severing his leg. His medical bills quickly reached $400,000 with more surgeries expected in the future. But the driver who hit our client only had $25,000 in insurance, the minimum required in Colorado. Our client had $50,000 in coverage, which was helpful, but we were starting to think that we might only be able to get this poor guy $75,000.
However, we started asking him questions about his other relatives and his parents. We discovered that he had enlisted in the Army when he was still living with his parents in North Carolina and he had kept that home as his “home of record” with the military.
(Side note: This victim was in Englewood visiting friends when he got into his accident and he was smart enough to hire a Denver accident attorney to handle his case. You should always hire an attorney who works in the same state where your accident occurs. Only they understand that state’s laws.)
Because this young man was still listed as a resident in his parents’ home, we were able to access their insurance policy to help cover his medical expenses. They had $250,000 in coverage! That, plus the $75,000 meant that we were able to get him $325,000.
On top of that, we negotiated with his health insurance company and got his medical bills reduced from the original $400,000 so that he walked away with $130,000. He will desperately need that money to pay the rent while he recuperates and to figure out the next step in his life.
How Do You Prove “Home of Record?”
Now, this process wasn’t easy. The insurance company tried to fight us when we claimed that he was still a resident of his parents’ home. A key to winning the case is that our client never changed his home of record with the military and thus his parents’ home was considered his true home.
We also argued that military personnel are not in charge of where they live. They can be shipped to Afghanistan or sent to a base in Guam. Their home of record is the only way they can maintain a semblance of a life in the United States.
Here’s my advice: if you have a son or daughter enlisting in the military or moving out to attend college, make sure you have good insurance yourself. (And make absolutely certain you have UIM coverage! I’ve written at length about this. Here is the link to a video on the topic.)
Also tell your child to make it clear to anyone asking that their home is with you and that they intend to return home when they are done with school or their service.
If he or she is ever pulled over by a cop or in an accident, they should say, “I am stationed at ___________ but my home of record is with my parents.” Or, “I am attending college at ___________ but I intend to return to my parents’ home upon completion of my degree.”
Finally, many states require you to get a new driver’s license when you reside in the state for more than a year. If you get a driver’s license in a different state, an insurance company will claim that you reside in that state. However, if you are living in the state while going to school and if you intend to return to your home state once your studies are completed, you should not have to change your license. Basically, try to avoid getting a driver’s license in any state that doesn’t serve as your home of record.
If you have any questions at all, please call or text me at 303-388-5304 or email me at Scott@osullivan-law-firm.com.