Colorado auto accident insurance law
Colorado auto accident lawyers
think every person hurt in a car crash should know this about insurance:
1. If you have uninsured or underinsured coverage, your own insurance pays what the at fault driver cannot pay. If, for example, the at fault driver has only $25,000 in insurance and your medical bills are $50,000, your own policy should pay you $25,000 as part of your own underinsured coverage. Your own insurer cannot delay in payment, either. Colorado law provides that a person “engaged in the business of insurance shall not unreasonably delay or deny payment of a claim for benefits owed to or on behalf of” it own insured. If a claim for payment of benefits has been unreasonably delayed or denied, the claimant may bring an action “to recover reasonable attorney fees and court costs and two times the covered benefit.”
2. You do not have to sign an authorization which lets the insurance company obtain records unrelated to the accident. In a recent case the law firm Stutheit & Gartland handled, State Farm Insurance asked a biker hit by State Farm’s insured driver to sign an authorization to see all the biker’s medical records for the past ten years, all her tax returns, and her mental health records. All the biker wanted was to be repaid for a few days of lost work, and back therapy. What was State Farm’s purpose, but to dig up dirt it would then use to push for a lower payment? The law says a party seeking the release of a tax return bears the burden of showing the tax return is relevant and the party asking for it has a “compelling need” for the return. The law also protects the doctor patient privilege for medical records unrelated to the accident claim. If your insurance company insists you sign a blanket authorization for records before it will pay your claim, it is unreasonably delaying your benefits.