(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.
(2) Any settlement agreement entered into or any general release of liability given by the injured patient in violation of this section shall be void. Any statement, written, oral, recorded, or otherwise, which is given by the injured party in violation of this section may not be used in evidence against the interest of the injured party in any civil action relating to the injury.
(3) Nothing in this section shall preclude the taking of statements by peace officers, as defined in section 24-31-301 (5), C.R.S., acting in their official capacity in the ordinary course of their employment, and nothing shall preclude the use of such statements for any purpose permitted by statute or rule of court applying to the admission of evidence.
Source: L. 75: Entire part added, p. 571, 1, effective July 1. L. 83: (3) amended, p. 962, 5, effective July 1, 1984. L. 92: (3) amended, p. 1097, 4, effective March 6. L. 96: (1) amended, p. 1137, 2, effective July 1.
Cross references: For the legislative declaration contained in the 1992 act amending subsection (3), see section 12 of chapter 167, Session Laws of Colorado 1992.
Law reviews. For comment, "The Enforceability of Personal Injury Releases", see 54 U. Colo. L. Rev. 277 (1983).
Subsection (3) is constitutional in promoting the legitimate governmental interest in encouraging the prompt and accurate reporting of incidents to peace officers. Wills v. State, 821 P.2d 866 (Colo. App. 1991).
Subsection (3) reflects the General Assembly's intent to allow statements given to peace officers to be admissible as evidence if such statements are otherwise properly admissible. Wills v. State, 821 P.2d 866 (Colo. App. 1991).
Legislative intent is to prevent hasty settlements. The intent of the general assembly in enacting this section was to prevent hasty settlements and to prohibit the evidentiary use of statements made by injured persons before the passage of enough time following an injury to permit the injured party to evaluate his condition carefully. Safeway Stores, Inc. v. Smith, 658 P.2d 255 (Colo. 1983).
Purpose of medical care requirement. The purpose of the requirement that the injured party be under the care of a practitioner of the healing arts or be hospitalized is to exclude from the protective provisions of this section those situations where no injuries result or where they are so slight as to require only brief medical attention. Safeway Stores, Inc. v. Smith, 658 P.2d 255 (Colo. 1983).
"Under the care of a practitioner of the healing arts". For a person to be considered "under the care of a practitioner of the healing arts", such care need not be actual and continuous, but rather must be provided in good faith and must be reasonably required. Smith v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 636 P.2d 1310 (Colo. App. 1981), aff'd, 658 P.2d 255 (Colo. 1983).
State of mind of party taking statement is not determinative of its admissibility. This section does not require that the party taking a statement do so with the specific purpose of using the statement to negotiate a settlement or obtain a release before the exclusionary provisions of this section apply. The state of mind of the party taking the statement is not determinative of whether the statement is admissible. So long as the other requirements of this section have been met, this section applies to any statement which may be of some use or value in negotiating a settlement or obtaining a release irrespective of the state of mind or purpose of the party taking the statement. Marlow v. Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry., 671 P.2d 438 (Colo. App. 1983).
Statements obtained in violation of this section may not be used for purposes of impeachment. Smith v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 636 P.2d 1310 (Colo. App. 1981), aff'd, 658 P.2d 255 (Colo. 1983).
Where a statement was clearly taken in violation of subsection (1)(c), its use is prohibited at trial for impeachment purposes or as substantive evidence. Rowland v. Ditlow, 653 P.2d 61 (Colo. App. 1982).
This section makes no distinction between use of a statement for impeachment and for other purposes. Safeway Stores, Inc. v. Smith, 658 P.2d 255 (Colo. 1983).
The right to have statements excluded from evidence under this section is personal to an injured party and applies only to statements given by the injured party. It may not be applied to exclude the otherwise admissible statement of a third party. White v. Hansen, 813 P.2d 750 (Colo. App. 1990), rev'd on other grounds, 837 P.2d 1229 (Colo. 1992).
Cross references: For limitation of actions against manufacturers, sellers, or lessors, see 13-80-106 and 13-80-107.
Law reviews: For article, "The Apportionment of Tort Responsibility", see 14 Colo. Law. 741 (1985); for article, "Torts", which discusses Tenth Circuit decisions dealing with product liability actions, see 62 Den. U. L. Rev. 357 (1985); for article, "Product Liability", see 16 Colo. Law. 474 (1987); for article, "Permanent Solution for Product Liability Crises: Uniform Federal Tort Law Standards", see 64 Den. U. L. Rev. 685 (1988); for article, "Our Product Liability System: An Efficient Solution to a Complex Problem", see 64 Den. U. L. Rev. 703 (1988); for article, "Recovering Asbestos Abatement Costs in Tort Actions", see 19 Colo. Law. 659 (1990); for article, "Strict Product Liability and Comparative Fault in Colorado", see 19 Colo. Law. 2081 (1990); for article, "Preemption of State Tort Claims Under The Medical Device Amendments", see 24 Colo. Law. 2217 (1995).