What Is the Colorado Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury?
Considering the Colorado statute of limitations for personal injury after being injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence is vital. Navigating the complexities of personal injury law can be challenging, especially when recovering from an accident and the financial strain that comes with it. The last thing you want is to miss the deadline to file your personal injury lawsuit and lose your chance to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
The personal injury attorneys at Burg Simpson Law Firm can help you when you need it most. While you focus on healing, we will ensure that all deadlines are met in the pursuit of just compensation for your injuries.
Call us today at 303-792-5595 for a FREE and confidential case evaluation. Our lawyers are very experienced with the Colorado statute of limitations for personal injury.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Before diving into the specifics of Colorado law, it is essential to understand what a statute of limitations is. Simply put, it is a legal deadline. Failing to meet this deadline usually means you forfeit your right to bring legal action against the responsible party.
Colorado Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury: The Basics
In Colorado, the general statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the incident that caused the injury. This is outlined in Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-80-102; however, this period can vary based on the type of injury, who the responsible party is, and other unique factors.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Colorado for Auto Accidents?
In the case of car accidents, the statute of limitations is generally three years, as mentioned in CRS § 13-80-101. This is an exception to the general rule and allows victims a bit more time to file a lawsuit.
The time limits and procedures are different if your personal injury claim is against a government entity or employee. You generally have to provide formal notice to the government entity within 182 days of the incident, as required by the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA). Failure to do so can result in your case being dismissed.
For medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the discovery of the injury or from when the injury should have been reasonably discovered, according to CRS § 13-80-102.5. There is also a “statute of repose,” which means that no claim can be filed more than three years after the act that caused the injury occurred unless specific exceptions apply.
If the victim is a minor (under 18), the statute of limitations generally does not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of 18; however, there are exceptions and special conditions.
Why Do Statutes of Limitations Exist?
The rationale behind statutes of limitations is twofold. First, it encourages plaintiffs to pursue their claims diligently. Second, it helps preserve the integrity of evidence and witness testimony. The idea is that justice is better served when claims are pursued while the evidence is fresh.
What Are the Exceptions of Statute of Limitations in Colorado?
There are several circumstances under which the statute of limitations may be “tolled” or paused. These include:
- Discovery Rule: As mentioned earlier in medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations does not begin until you have discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury.
- Defendant’s Absence: If the person responsible leaves the state after causing the injury and before a lawsuit can be filed, the time of their absence usually does not count toward the statute of limitations.
- Mental Incompetence: If the injured person is mentally incompetent, the clock may not start ticking until they regain competence.
What Happens If You Miss the Deadline?
Failing to file your lawsuit within the stipulated timeframe generally means you lose your right to sue. Courts are strict about these deadlines. Even if you are only a day late, you could lose your right to file the lawsuit unless an exception applies. Consequently, you may not be able to receive any compensation for your losses.
Understanding the statute of limitations has strategic implications for your case. For example, knowing how much time you have can impact your decision on whether to settle or go to trial. As experienced Denver personal injury lawyers, we strongly recommend obtaining legal advice early—not just to meet deadlines but also for help gathering evidence, which is often easier to collect close to the time of the incident.
Burg Simpson Can Help
Navigating the maze of legal requirements after a personal injury can be daunting. The statute of limitations is just one of the many things you will need to consider. That is why having knowledgeable legal representation is so critical. Your attorney can help you understand these time limits and strategize your case accordingly. Given the complexities and exceptions involved, legal advice is invaluable in ensuring you do not forfeit your rights to compensation.
Understanding the Colorado statute of limitations for personal injury is not just about knowing deadlines; it is about grasping the nuances and exceptions that can impact your specific case. If you or a loved one has been injured, do not hesitate to contact Burg Simpson. Time is of the essence, and your ability to secure just compensation may hinge on acting quickly and strategically.
We serve clients in Denver and throughout Colorado. Schedule your FREE and confidential case evaluation today. Let us ensure that you get the compensation you deserve for your unfortunate losses.