Insurance Adjusters May Try to Settle with You Quickly
I’m starting to think that this is probably going to be an evolving topic of discussion in my blogs. When you have been in an accident and have to start dealing with the insurance adjuster, it can be a stressful experience. It’s not unusual for an insurance adjuster for the other driver to call the injured party to establish the claim and get basic information so they can do their job, which is to investigate the claim and compensate the injured party. However, recently I have talked to a couple of folks who indicated that they began receiving calls from the adjuster for the other driver who proceeded to offer them settlements before they could even figure out what their injuries were. In one instance the adjuster had gone so far as to tell the injured party how much they would pay for medical care, did not seek to find out if the injured party was still receiving care, and then told the person that they would only pay X dollars for pain and suffering and would cover the medical bills up to a specific amount. This was all within the first two weeks. Here’s the problem with this exchange. Most people don’t know how injured they are in the first month or so following a collision. What if you need surgery? If you agree to settle your claim and later need surgery, you can’t go back and ask for more money. This is why Colorado protects its citizens, and here’s how:
You are Protected from this Conduct Under the Law
When you have been in a car accident, there are specific protections under the law that you need to be aware of. If it is within 30 days of the collision, there is a law which protects you from this conduct. The Colorado statute is C.R.S. § 13-21-301 (2023), which states that if a person has been injured in an event such as a car collision and they are “a patient under the care of a practitioner of the healing arts or is hospitalized, no person or agent of any person [insert insurance company X here] whose interest is adverse to the injured person shall….obtain or attempt to obtain a general release of liability from the injured patient; or….obtain or attempt to obtain any statement” within the first 15 days after the event causing injury. The reason for this law is that the legislature recognizes that this process can be very stressful and getting a call like I have described above can make people feel like they do not have any choices in the matter and this is just how it is done. That is not the case and insurers are responsible for knowing the law. Unfortunately, I see far too often that they take a shot at settling these cases early and I am guessing that it is successful enough for the behavior to continue.
How to Deal with Insurance Adjusters
So what do you do when placed in the position I describe above. Simply let the adjuster know that you are still treating with a medical professional and that you do not know when you will be complete with your recovery so settlement is not an option at this time. Let yourself have the time to figure out what is going on with your body before you let the person that injured you off of the hook. You get one shot at settling your claim. Make sure you protect yourself and know all of your injuries before you do so. And if you have questions, give our office a call at 719-633-6620 and we can help you figure out if you need legal representation or not (not everyone does). We don’t charge for the initial consultation so you really have nothing to lose and peace of mind to gain.