Did you know? C.R.S. 13-21-301 specifically prohibits insurers from contacting someone who has been injured in a crash for at least 15 days... Yet, many of our clients report to us that within days (and sometimes even hours!) of their bike crash, they have been contacted by the insurance company for the at-fault motorist and they've been pressured into giving a statement (which is almost always recorded). Not cool, insurance companies...not cool.
There is good reason for this policy. Consider that in one of our cases, our client was hospitalized having sustained massive injuries and trauma during his bike-car collision. He was under the influence of heavy pain medication and sedation -in light of the serious procedure he had to undergo to repair the injuries he sustained. He is not in a good state of mind to talk about anything -let alone his future claims. Imagine- being contacted by an insurance company when you or a loved one or friend are in this situation! Imagine the stress and duress of that scenario, compounded by the fact that an adjuster is hounding you for your statement.
Having read this far- you now know - YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TALK TO THEM, and further -WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS contrary to state statute and case law!
The Statute specifically states:
(1) If a person is injured as a result of an occurrence which might give rise to liability and said person is a patient under the care of a practitioner of the healing arts or is hospitalized, no person or agent of any person whose interest is adverse to the injured person shall:
(a) Within thirty days after the date of the occurrence causing the injury, negotiate or attempt to negotiate a settlement with the injured patient;
(b) Within thirty days after the date of the occurrence causing the injury, obtain or attempt to obtain a general release of liability from the injured patient; or
(c) Within fifteen days after the date of the occurrence causing the injury, obtain or attempt to obtain any statement, either written, oral, recorded, or otherwise, from the injured patient for use in negotiating a settlement or obtaining a release except as provided by the Colorado rules of civil procedure.
Colorado case law also supports this position - specifically, the case of Smith v Safeway Stores, Inc., 636 P.2d 1310 (1981).
Insurers love to apply pressure early-on before an injured cyclist fully knows or realizes the extent of their damages and injuries. Insurers would love to pressure you into a fast settlement right away- so they can avoid paying for all of the damage their insured caused. In Colorado, a bike crash case involving a motor vehicle has a 3 year statute of limitations. Therefore, we always encourage our clients to take their time in getting treatment and fully recovering, before moving forward. Once you sign a release and settle a claim, you cannot go back later and ask for more.
And... now you know!