Zach Warzel

Professional Highlights

  • Well-known and award-winning insurance attorney for policyholders and advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
  • Recognized by 5280 Magazine in Denver’s Top Attorneys (2020-present)
  • Listed in Colorado Super Lawyers (2017-present)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (2015-2022) in Litigation – Insurance and Insurance Law and named Lawyer of the Year (2019) in Litigation – Insurance (2019)

Colorado Insurance Law Attorney

Policyholder Recovery in Insurance Disputes and Bad Faith Claims

My Colorado law practice focuses on helping clients whose insurance benefits have been wrongfully delayed or denied, assisting survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and representing clients in all types of plaintiff personal injury cases.

I am a lawyer that fights insurance companies. I guide my clients through complex insurance disputes when insurance companies act in bad faith and fail to honor their commitments under automobile, UM/UIM, disability, homeowners, commercial general liability, property, errors & omissions, directors & officers, and professional liability insurance policies, among many others.

I have secured tens of millions of dollars in judgments and settlements in insurance bad faith, sexual abuse, wrongful death, premises liability, trucking, and complex personal injury cases. My extensive insurance law experience includes handling notable appeals in the Colorado Supreme Court, the Colorado Court of Appeals, and the 10th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.

Bad faith insurance claims can result from the mishandling of the claims process in a personal injury case. My deep experience and knowledge of insurance law are helpful to my clients when they are facing situations where their payments or claims are being delayed or denied by the insurance company. I hold insurance companies accountable and enforce their duty to act honestly and in good faith.

Policyholder Insurance Law and Litigation

I was lead trial counsel on a case that went to the Colorado Supreme Court in 2018, which clarified the state’s insurance laws to further protect the rights of policyholders.  This case was nominated for a “Case of the Year” award from the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association.  In this matter, the insurer’s agents sold the policy as straightforward protection for a “first diagnosis” of cancer, but in reality, the policy’s ambiguous fine print gave the insurer cover to deny claims for any condition for which treatment had previously been sought that may have “led to” the diagnosis.  When my client received a cancer diagnosis many months after purchasing the policy, despite no cancer treatment or even concern that he had cancer at the time of purchase, the company denied the claim, wrongfully claiming he had prior treatment.

I took the case to trial and a Colorado jury sent a strong message to the insurance industry that bad faith conduct and bullying will not be tolerated in this state, including a sizable award of punitive damages.  Ultimately, the Colorado Court of Appeals and Supreme Court agreed, despite the insurer’s efforts to escape liability through the appeals process.

Insurance Law Expertise

Based on my comprehensive experience in insurance law, I am a frequent speaker and author on a range of bad faith and insurance coverage topics directed to other attorneys, insurance agents and adjusters, government workers, and other industry professionals.

I am also often retained by other lawyers as an expert witness in the area of insurance industry standards, testifying in state and federal cases on insurance-related issues to help juries understand the complex insurance issues involved in bad faith cases.

Colorado Sex Abuse Claims

I also have the honor of pursuing justice, accountability, and closure on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse by employees and agents of institutions, including religious organizations, schools, and sports programs.

Child sexual abuse has been prevalent in our nation’s schools and churches for decades.  More and more child athletes are reporting that they were sexually assaulted in sports at all levels including the Olympic level. Large youth-serving organizations such as scouting have covered up sexual misconduct and assault against children for years to hide from scandal. As a plaintiff lawyer for adult survivors of child sexual abuse that happened in Colorado, I aggressively pursue justice and hold sexual predators and the organizations that protect them accountable.

In this regard, I was co-lead counsel on a large group of child sexual abuse cases arising out of abuse by clergy under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, including numerous cases of abuse at the hands of Colorado’s most prolific abusive priest, Harold Robert White.  This group of cases was among the first wave of publicly filed lawsuits against the Catholic Church in Colorado in the early 2000s related to clergy abuse.  I am proud to continue this work to this day, currently representing dozens of clients related to childhood sexual abuse at various institutions under the recently passed Colorado Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act.

Additional Background Information

I am a proud 10-year mentor with the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s professional mentoring program. I volunteer as a mentor to law students, sharing career insights and contributing to students’ professional development.  I am involved with the program not only to guide students on the path to their legal careers but also to provide a support system and sense of community for those new to our profession.

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Bar Admissions

Colorado, 2005

U.S. District Court District of Colorado

Education
  • Brooklyn Law School, J.D., 2005
    • Honors: CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Environmental Law, 2004
  • St. John’s College, B.A., Liberal Arts, 2000
Honors & Awards
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyer in Colorado, National Trial Lawyers, 2017-2022
  • 5280 Magazine, Denver’s Top Attorneys, Insurance, 2020-2022
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation – Insurance, 2015-2022
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Insurance Law, 2015-2022
  • Colorado Super Lawyers, 2017-2022
  • AVVO, 10/10, Superb, 2022
  • Lawyer of the Year, The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation – Insurance, 2019
  • Top 40 Trial Lawyers in Colorado, National Trial Lawyers, 2017
  • Colorado Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, 2010-2015

Best-Lawyers-_Lawyer-of-the-Year_-Contemporary-Logo NTL-top-100-member-seal

Presentations & Publications

Speaker, Jury Instructions and Verdict Forms, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, In Search of a More Equitable Quid Pro Quo: Helping Consumers Receive the Benefits Purchased with their Insurance Premiums, Conference, 2020

Speaker, Subrogation Under the Colorado Crime Victims Compensation Act (CVCA), Regional CVA/VALE Conference, 2019

Speaker, Insurance Coverage in Sexual Assault Cases, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Civil Justice for Victims of Sexual Assault Conference, 2019

Speaker, Personal/Coverage Counsel – A Powerful Tool for Complex Liability Claims, Lockton Law Day 2019

Speaker, Subrogation Under the Colorado Crime Victims Compensation Act (CVCA), Regional CVA/VALE Conference, 2018

Speaker, The Insurance Industry’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day (C.R.S. § 10-3-1115 in the Supreme Court), Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Summer Convention, 2018

Panelist, Panel Discussion – Nunn / Bashor / Excess Judgment Litigation: A Boots on the Ground Perspective, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Insurance Seminar, 2018

Speaker, Insurance Bad Faith Law Update, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Blockbuster Seminar, 2018

Speaker, Insurance Coverage Issues in Personal Injury Cases, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Blockbuster Seminar, 2017

Speaker, Non-Duplication of Benefits after Calderon, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Subrogation Seminar, 2017

Speaker, Overview and Pitfalls of Bashor/Nunn Agreements, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Bad Faith Seminar, 2016

Speaker, Insurance Bad Faith Law Update, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Summer Convention, 2015

Speaker, MedPay and the Claim of Non-Duplication of UM/UIM Benefits, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Subrogation Seminar, 2015

Speaker, Interplay Between UIM and Bad Faith, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Blockbuster Seminar, 2015

Speaker, Colorado Bad Faith Law Update, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Bad Faith Seminar, 2015

Speaker, Customizing the Perfect Briefs and Letters, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Bad Faith Seminar, 2011

Professional Organizations

Professional Mentoring Program, University of Denver Sturm College of Law

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