I’ve received several calls lately with people asking about an offer they have been made by an insurance adjuster that has a time limit to it, usually seven days. When we talk to folks further, we find out that they have likely been in the accident in the previous month. The factual circumstances are all similar in that the person gets hit by another driver. The caller likely was not transported from the scene by an ambulance so there is no indication of significant injuries. Next, the adjuster calls the person, may ask them a question or two about how they are doing, and then they make the person an offer such as paying “reasonable” medical bills and anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 for miscellaneous compensation. When we start asking about how they are doing, we usually find out that people are injured and have only begun treatment, or are waiting to get in to see a doctor. When I get these calls, people are usually nervous and feel intimidated that they are being rushed to make a decision when they don’t really know what is going on.
Statute of Limitations
First, I always tell people that it’s really nice that the adjuster wants to put a time limit on them, but they can just ignore that strongarm tactic. This is because the insurance company doesn’t have any control with regard to how long you have to make your claim, that is dependent upon the statute of limitations, and in Colorado the statute of limitations for automobile accidents is three years. That means that a person has three years from the day they were hit to file a lawsuit against the other driver (If you want more information on the statute of limitations, check out my blog here).
Second, unless you have no doubt that you did not get injured in any way, especially within days of a car accident, then you don’t need to be making any deals anyway. It is just not unusual for people to take days or weeks to know how much they have been injured, and this becomes more problematic with more serious collisions because it is not unusual for an injured person to begin recovering from injury to one part of their body only to then notice another injury which had been masked by the pain of the injury they had been treating.
Third, there is no way that you can determine how much you have lost as a result of a car accident if you are within weeks of it. It often takes a month or more just to figure out what the property damage is to your car, much less what the value is of your injuries when the process of seeing doctors for treatment is just beginning (see my blogs on damages if you would like to understand what you have the right to be compensated for).
I hope that is enough reasons for you to think twice before you just take an offer made under the pressure of a deadline shortly after you have been injured. Give us a call if you have other questions, we’re happy to help.