If you get hurt in a personal injury case, you’ll probably put a lot of time and energy into paying medical bills and recovering. In addition, you may be focused on moving forward with your life.
While healing and recovery are a top priority for injury victims, they should seek legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident. That’s because Colorado has specific time limits for filing personal injury claims. Unfortunately, many personal injury victims are unaware that their rights could be affected if they wait too long to file a claim.
That time limit for personal injury victims to file a claim or a lawsuit is known as the “statute of limitations.” If a personal injury victim misses the deadline, they could forfeit their right to file a claim and recover compensation for their damages.
What Is the First Step to Take After an Accident?
If you were injured in a car accident in Colorado, the first step is to seek medical attention. Then, it’s advisable to contact a Denver personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. The time limit for personal injury victims to file a claim starts when the accident happens.
You shouldn’t have to bear the weight of medical bills and other losses on your own after you are injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligent behavior. However, while you are entitled to seek recovery for damages, you must do so within a specific time limit.
Our Colorado personal injury lawyers can help ensure that you take the necessary steps to protect your legal rights promptly.
Colorado Law for Injury Claims
Here are the statutes of limitations for different types of personal injury cases, according to Colorado Revised Statute 13-80-101(1):
How Long After an Accident Can I File a Claim in Colorado?
- General personal injury and wrongful death: two years from the date of the accident
- Car accidents: three years from the date of the accident
- For any claim against the state of Colorado or other government entity: 180 days
While some circumstances may allow the victim to delay filing, courts will typically deny your claim if you miss the deadline. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule. However, it’s best to speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline. You can better preserve your right to compensation for your injuries by seeking immediate legal representation.
When Does the Time Limit Start?
Let’s say you’ve been in a car accident and now have three years to file a claim. When does the time limit start? Typically the clock starts ticking when the accident occurs. Therefore, your deadline to file a claim or pursue legal action will be three years from the date of the accident.
While you have a couple of years to file a claim, the sooner you take action, the better. Every day you wait means less time for you to seek compensation for your losses. In addition, evidence is best when it’s fresh and recent. As more time passes, the evidence for your case can potentially fade and become less compelling. As a result, you may lose the opportunity to recover compensation or the total amount you deserve without substantial evidence.
What Happens if Your Injury Is Not Immediately Apparent?
It’s possible that you may not discover your injuries immediately after the accident. Some injuries can have a delayed onset or worsen over time. For example, a spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury, may not have immediately apparent symptoms.
Let’s say you discover the severity of your injury a few weeks after the accident. Under the right circumstances, the statute of limitations for your claim could be three years after the date you discovered your injuries. However, if that’s the case, you will need to obtain evidence of medical records proving that you were not immediately aware of the damages. A Denver personal injury lawyer can help you obtain all the necessary medical records you need to file a claim.
When Should I File A Car Accident Claim?
If you were injured in a car accident, you should file a claim as soon as possible.
The sooner you start working with a Denver car accident lawyer, the easier it will be to collect and preserve evidence for your case. You will need to gather all evidence related to the injuries and circumstances of your case to seek compensation.
For example, if there were an eyewitness at the accident scene, it would be pretty challenging to locate them years later. However, if you find an eyewitness immediately after the accident, their memory of what they saw will be much more precise and reliable.
Why Is There a Statute of Limitations?
Each state establishes its statute of limitations for different accident claims. These limitations ensure that accident victims bring their claims forward on time. After the deadline, the information about their claim is less reliable.
It’s always better to start the claims process as soon as possible after the accident to ensure the evidence is accessible and reliable. Witness memories will be fresher and therefore offer more reliable testimonies. In addition, documents needed for evidence will be more readily available sooner rather than later following an accident.
For the most part, courts will only hear cases within the statute of limitations and deny claims that pass their deadline. A statute of limitations also protects defendants from potential lawsuits for a liability act they may have committed many years ago.
Contact an Experienced Denver Personal Injury Lawyer
We will schedule a free consultation and work with you to establish that you are within the statute of limitations for your car accident. We will also discuss what compensation you can seek and help you win a fair settlement for your losses.
Having a competent and seasoned lawyer can ultimately spell the difference between the success or failure of your case. However, remember that not all attorneys are of an equal caliber, so be sure to research and find a good one with experience in car accident cases.
The stress of an injury with financial hardships and life-altering consequences can take a toll on anyone. Lacking proper legal representation can further add to your frustration. Therefore, make sure you find the right attorney who is prepared to represent you wholeheartedly. Lastly, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel, as personal injury claims are time-sensitive processes.
Call us today for a free initial consultation. We will happily discuss your legal rights and fight to win you the total compensation you deserve.