It’s essential to file in accordance with the deadline set by the statute of limitations. Read on to find out how the Colorado statute of limitations works in personal injury cases.
What You Should Know About the Colorado Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
After you’ve suffered an injury due to the actions of another party, you have the right to seek damages for your economic and non-economic damages. To do so, you must file a claim against the at-fault party. The lawsuit, however, must be filed within a time limit known as the statute of limitations. You may want to contact an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney to help you navigate this process, as it is not always straightforward.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a deadline for when a civil action is barred. It helps protect the defendant from claims brought unfairly and after an unreasonable amount of time has passed. The statute of limitations also motivates individuals who have been injured by someone else’s actions to act promptly while evidence is still fresh.
Colorado Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
As do most other states, Colorado has its statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. For non-auto accident cases, the statute of limitations allows two years for injured victims to file a lawsuit in Colorado. If you fail to file within those two years, you will forfeit your right to file a claim for that particular case. The time limit starts from the date of the accident or injury. Since injuries are not always evident immediately after an accident, the two-year time frame begins from the date of discovery. Discovery is when you become aware that you have sustained injuries. Therefore, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Colorado is two years. For motor vehicle accident cases, the statute of limitations is three years, and the clock starts ticking immediately after the accident.
What Happens if You File a Claim After the Colorado Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Expires?
Colorado law prevents injured persons from pursuing damages after the statute of limitations has expired. If you miss the deadline to file, the defendant will ask the court to dismiss your case, and the court will refuse to hear it. Unless you have some exception for your filing deadline, the court will likely grant dismissal. So, if you do not file your claim within the statute of limitations time frame, you will probably lose your right to pursue a claim for that particular incident. You’ll also lose your right to seek damages from the at-fault party or receive any compensation for your injuries.
The best way to ensure that your claim is brought forth within the statute of limitations is to hire an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. The longer you wait to take action, the higher your likelihood becomes of breaching the Colorado personal injury statute of limitations. Not only that, but the evidence from your case will also have greater chances of becoming obstructed or destroyed. That means you’ll have to wait longer for any settlement you might be entitled to.
Exceptions to the Colorado Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Colorado has identified a few instances when exceptions to the statute of limitations can be made. These exceptions to the Colorado statute of limitations are known as tolling.
Tolling is when some variable beyond the victim’s control prevents the case from proceeding. Under such circumstances, the case would pause until the encumbrance is resolved. So, tolling, in other words, is extending the filing deadline. Here are a few examples of when you could apply tolling in a personal injury case:
- If the defendant (at-fault party) is bankrupt
- If the defendant leaves Colorado after the accident and cannot be served with the lawsuit, the time of their absence will be deducted from the time limit. So, in other words, the clock won’t run while the defendant is missing or concealed (Colorado Revised Statutes section 13-80-118.)
- If the plaintiff (victim) is a minor or is deemed mentally incompetent.
- If the injured person is mentally incompetent or under the age of 18 at the time of the accident and has no legal representative, tolling will occur. The clock would stall until the victim turns 18 or restore their mental competence. If, however, the victim has a legal representative who can file on their behalf, there will be no change to the filing deadline. (Colorado Revised Statutes section 13-81-103.)
The plaintiff must first file a lawsuit for any toll applicable to the Colorado personal injury statute of limitations.
If you have any questions about how the Colorado statute of limitations applies to your case, it’s time to discuss your situation with a competent Colorado personal injury attorney. This is especially true if the deadline for the statute of limitations on your case is approaching. Don’t wait any longer to seek the appropriate legal counsel you need to get your total compensation.
Get Professional Help With Your Colorado Personal Injury Lawsuit
It’s not always an easy task to find a reasonable attorney. The stress of an injury or financial hardships can be a burden on anyone. A bad or inexperienced attorney will only add to your frustration. Make sure you find the right attorney who can represent you efficiently. Do your research and ask these questions to ensure you make an informed decision and find the right attorney for your case.
Furthermore, it’s imperative to have a detailed understanding of the facts and the relevant laws with any personal injury case. While money cannot make up for the stress and disturbance of an accident, it can help you pay for costly medical bills and move on with your life.
If an accident that someone else is liable for has left you injured or impacted your life negatively, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney today for a free consultation.