- Personal Injury
When you’ve been injured, your first priority should be to get better, not worry about the legal ramifications of what happened. Such concerns cause undue stress at a tough time, and you likely haven’t yet had the time or inclination to discuss the situation with an attorney.
On the other side, insurance companies are in a big hurry to resolve any potential claims where someone was injured. They typically push for a settlement as quickly as possible (sometimes even within hours of the incident), and unfortunately, they are often successful.
What many people don’t know is that Colorado law prohibits insurance companies from trying to settle a personal injury case too soon, and any agreement or statements made in violation of the law may be void.
Following an incident where a person is either hospitalized or receives treatment from a medical professional, any adverse party (i.e., the person who was responsible, their insurance company, private investigators, etc.) is prohibited from doing any of the following:
Negotiating or attempting to negotiate a settlement agreement within 30 days of the incident
Obtaining or attempting to obtain a general release of liability within 30 days of the incident
Obtaining or attempting to obtain any statement from the injured party for use in negotiating a settlement or release within 15 days of the incident
Any settlement agreement or release of liability obtained from the injured party is void and cannot be used as evidence against them in a civil lawsuit.
What Does This Mean for You?
The need for this law is obvious. People in a delicate state after an injury may have significant medical bills, and anyone trying to negotiate a settlement agreement with them most likely has more power, money, and legal knowledge. Yet, before they fully understand the situation or even the extent of their injuries, the injured person is presented with incomprehensible documents to sign, a small check, and perhaps a vague apology.
Every insurance company in Colorado is aware of this law, and yet many of them violate it frequently. Why? It is almost always in the insurance company’s interest to settle a case as quickly as possible for a few reasons.
First, some injuries take time to manifest, and people may not realize right away how their lives will be affected. For example, if you suffer a head injury, it’s not just about putting a bandage on it. You may have severe migraines for the rest of your life or be unable to return to the same job you had. A settlement agreement will cover all injuries arising from the incident, even those you’re unaware of.
Second, it is always, always, ALWAYS in the insurance company’s best interest to settle a case before the injured person talks to an attorney. Cases in which a lawyer represents the injured party typically settle for more money, potentially a lot more. An attorney better understands the case and its monetary value and also can go to trial. Insurance companies want to settle quickly because they know the longer they wait, the more likely the injured party is to get a lawyer.
Hire an Attorney – It’s What Insurance Companies Fear Most
If you’ve been injured and signed a settlement agreement within 30 days of the incident, the good news is that you still have options. Our personal injury specialists can review your case and the agreement you signed to help you determine if the agreement is void, so you can try to get a better settlement. Then, we will negotiate on your behalf and, if necessary, take your case to trial.
Schedule a consultation today to learn how we can help you get started.