COLORADO PERSONAL INJURY FAQ:
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS:
The Statute of Limitations refers to a time frame in which you must bring personal injury actions. In Colorado, it’s usually three years for an automobile collision and two years when you’re injured on the property of another. If the government is in any way involved in the automobile collision, or if you are injured on government property, you will need to send out a special notice. This notice is known as the Governmental Immunity Act and it generally must be sent within 182 days of the act. There are exceptions to these rules, so it is important that you speak with an attorney regarding your case for specific dates and deadlines.
AFTER AN INJURY WHAT SHOULD I DO:
After you are injured, it is important to obtain evidence if you can do so safely. If you are involved in a car accident be sure to get the names and phone numbers of witnesses. If you can take pictures of damage, not only to the vehicle, but surrounding area and skid marks that will be helpful as well. If you are injured on the property of another, try to get pictures on the mechanism of your injury whether that is ice, a slick surface, or a defect in the property.
WHO SHOULD I TALK TO AFTER AN INJURY?
After a car accident, you should be honest and cooperative with the police and other government entities. You also have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company. You do not have a obligation to speak to the at-fault party’s insurance company; in fact, we request that you inform them that you have retained legal counsel, give them our contact information, and forward all such calls or correspondences to our firm so that we may respond accordingly.
WHO PAYS FOR MY MEDICAL BILLS IF I AM INJURED BY SOMEONE ELSE?
Under Colorado law, the at-fault party’s insurance company is not required, and does not, pay you for your medical expenses as they occur; rather, they are only obliged to compensate you after you have completed all of your medical treatments and a settlement or judgment has been obtained on your behalf.
Your own insurance company, however, may be required to pay for your “reasonable medical expenses” arising from this accident, if you have what is known in Colorado as Medical Payments coverage (“Med Pay”). If your policy includes Med Pay, you will need to submit all your medical bills, receipts, co-pays, or other medical costs directly to your insurance company for consideration. If you also have a health insurance provider, you may have previously submitted all such bills to your health insurance provider, in which case, you may be able to then utilize Med Pay to cover any deductibles, unpaid portions remaining, or treatment not covered by your health insurance. Either way, it is your responsibility to submit your bills to your Med Pay and/or health insurance providers in accordance with their policies. We strongly recommend that you do this in a timely manner to avoid collections, judgments, and/or other claims against you for unpaid bills. Many health insurance and Med Pay providers have a reporting period deadline, with some as short as requiring that you submit your bills within three (3) months of treatment in order to qualify for coverage.
IF I USE MY HEALTH INSURANCE DO I NEED TO PAY THEM BACK FOR THE MEDICAL BILLS THEY PAID?
Your health insurance provider may have what is known as a right of “subrogation” for benefits paid on your behalf related to this accident. Subrogation basically means “reimbursement.” Whether your Health Insurance provider has a right of subrogation is a complex question involving not only the contract you signed for coverage, but its interplay with applicable State and Federal law. You should be aware that your Health Insurance provider may assert a right of subrogation against your settlement proceeds. We will not contact your Health Insurance provider during our representation of you, unless you advise us to do so in writing. If you chose that option, we will be obligated to protect and pay the amount claimed by your Health Insurance provider out of your settlement proceeds. Sometimes, a Health Insurance provider will contact us directly, although we have not reached out to it. In that case, we may be required to protect and pay the amount claimed in the same manner as if you had instructed us to contact your provider directly.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE TO PAY FOR MY MEDICAL BILLS AFTER I AM INJURED?
If you do not have Med Pay or Health Insurance, some medical providers offer medical treatment to patients “on a lien.” A provider treating on a lien will seek reimbursement for its services if and when you obtain compensation in your case. Although we do not sign such liens, we do usually acknowledge them if we have your consent and if it is sent to our office by the treating provider in a timely manner.
WHEN SHOULD I SETTLE MY CASE?
You need to settle your case, or file a lawsuit, before the statute of limitations runs. If you are still treating, you still have to either settle your case or file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations.
HOW MUCH DO CASES SETTLE FOR?
There are many factors to consider when calculating the valuation of your case. Some of these factors include: the amount of your past, present, and future medical bills, whether or not you are permanently impaired as a result of your injury, the strain your injury may have placed on your marital relationship, and the amount of time you may have lost from work due to your injury.
Please feel free to call us to get a free, no obligation, initial consultation.