Statute of Limitations for Colorado Car Accidents
Our Denver car accident attorneys have extensive experience handling injury cases. It doesn’t matter if you have a minor scrape or a major collision, we are here for you.
How long do I have to file a claim after a car accident in Colorado?
A statute of limitation is a law that limits the amount of time a plaintiff (or injured person) can pursue a legal remedy for wrongful or negligent conduct. Once this time period expires, the injured person(s) lose the right to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for injuries and damages. This amount of time varies from state to state as well as the type of case in question.
For car accidents in Colorado, the standard statute of limitations is 3 years. For other personal injury cases like slips and falls, the time limit is only 2 years. For claims involving a government agency, the time frame is typically even shorter.
These time frame differences are the reason why it’s crucial to enlist the help of a qualified Colorado car accident lawyer in Denver as soon as possible after an accident.
Exceptions to the statute of limitations for Colorado car accidents
Although the statute of limitations is pretty firm, there are some exceptions that allow you to bring a claim after the standard 3 years.
The discovery rule
One exception to the statute of limitation is the “discovery rule.”
In some cases, it’s not reasonable or possible for a person to know the cause of an injury or that an injury even happened until long after the act that caused the injury occurred. Therefore, the discovery rule allows a plaintiff to file a suit within a certain period of time from when the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
However, it’s vitally important to understand that the discovery rule doesn’t apply to all civil injuries. Also, the period of time you can bring a claim “post-discovery” can be quite short in many cases.
Another exception to the statute of limitation is known as “tolling.”
Oftentimes, circumstances outside the plaintiff’s control prevent a case from moving forward. In this situation, the case may be tolled (or paused) until the impediment is dealt with.
Common reasons for tolling car accidents or personal injury cases include:
- The victim is not mentally competent following the injury
- The defendant has filed for bankruptcy
- The victim was a minor when the injury occurred
In Colorado, the statute of limitations begins running on the victim’s 18th birthday if they were a minor when the injury occurred.
Multiple causes of action
Another exception to the statute of limitations can occur when a claim falls under 2 different legal areas (or causes of action). If it’s possible for you to file multiple causes of action from a single incident, you may still be able to file a claim even after the statute runs out for 1 of your relevant claims.
For example, if you were in a car accident caused by a defective product, you may have grounds for 2 claims—1 for a defective product and the other for the accident itself. The statute of limitations in Colorado on product liability is only 2 years, while the statute for car accidents is 3, so even if the 2-year mark has passed, you will be able to file a claim for the car accident itself.
Contact a Colorado car accident attorney
These are just broad examples of the different exceptions regarding the statute of limitations—each individual case is different, and there can be any number of reasons for tolling to affect the statute of limitations in your claim. That’s why it’s absolutely necessary you discuss your individual case with an experienced car accident lawyer in the Denver area to ensure your rights are protected.
Delaying your case until the statute runs out carries several risks. Documentation can be lost, and the defense can petition the court to suppress evidence or throw your case out altogether. They will also likely question your delay and claim your injuries are not serious enough to warrant a judgment.
The Colorado personal injury attorneys at The Babcock Law Firm will carefully listen to your case and provide a straightforward assessment of any potential claims. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.
Continue reading these related articles for more information:
- What to Do After a Car Accident
- 3 Elements of a Colorado Car Accident Claim
- Types of Recoverable Damages in Your Personal Injury Lawsuit – Compensatory vs. Punitive
**NOTE: This article and all content at Injurylawcolorado.com is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.