Colorado Injury Statute of Limitations

If you live in Colorado and are involved in a motor vehicle accident, slip-and-fall, dog bite, or any situation where another person’s negligence or conduct harmed you, a personal injury lawyer can help you get a financial settlement or damages through the court. However, many accident victims don't know how about the Colorado injury statute of limitations. This law sets a deadline for suing the at-fault party or entity for personal injury.

Although the deadline for most injury cases is two to three years, there are some circumstances where the statute of limitations can be extended, which we'll discuss in this article. The best way to make sure that you have a solid Colorado personal injury case is to consult an experienced personal injury attorney in Denver, they will examine the facts of your case and estimate what your claim is worth, which financial damages to pursue, and will represent you before a jury or judge.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

This is a law that sets the deadline from the date of an incident that parties have to start legal proceedings. In civil law systems, these sets of time limits are known as prescriptive periods and they vary from state to state. For personal injury claims in Colorado, the facts of your injury affect the time you have to file a claim. For instance, if you or a loved one suffered an injury from medical malpractice, your case will have a different statute of limitations than one stemming from an automobile accident.

The statute of limitations deadline may also differ from case to case. Sometimes, there's a difference between the date you notice the injury and the date of the event that caused the injury. Think about a time you’ve had a grueling exercise and felt fine afterward, but were in pain the next day. This is known as the discovery rule. In such cases, the time limit starts at the time the injured person discovers the injury.

How Long After an Accident in Colorado Can I Sue?

Again, it's essential to note that for most personal injury cases in Colorado, the statute of limitations is two years, with a few exceptions.

However, any injury sustained from a deliberate altercation or attack is in a different legal category. Every injured party has a right to “private right of action” for assault. Thus, anyone who is a victim of an assault can automatically sue the alleged perpetrator.

Assault falls under criminal assault and thus it's handled in criminal court, instead of a civil court. In a criminal case, the prosecutor is the ruling authority with sovereignty over the type of accused crime. Further, in criminal cases, the potential punishments are more severe and they range from financial damages to prison sentences. Statutes of limitations on these cases depend on their severity. For instance, serious felony offenses, such as attempted murder, have no time limits, while other offenses, such as assault defined as “criminal negligence” have time limits of 3 years.

Related: Colorado Car Accident Statistics

Dog bites, slip and falls, non-vehicular accidents, on-the-job injuries, or any other incidents where you're injured because of another person's negligence have a time limit of two years to seek monetary damages through the court. Most of these cases often result in out-of-court settlements, which typically favor the injured party. For personal injury cases involving auto accidents, the time limit is three years. This entails anything that falls under bodily injury or property damage caused by the use or operation of an automobile vehicle. (C.R.S. 13-80-101). Contact us today to speak with one of our car accident lawyers in Denver

Colorado Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

It’s imperative to note the time limit for cases involving auto accidents is applied from the date when the injured person discovers the injury and not necessarily from the time of the car crash. This accommodates car accident injuries that might not be obvious immediately, such as whiplash or spinal compression, which often present symptoms long after the incident that caused them.

Colorado’s injury statute of limitations is a crucial consideration if you're contemplating suing, not just because it stipulates how long this will remain an option. Since most of these claims result in out-of-court settlements, the at-fault party and their insurance company are more likely to work and negotiate with you and your injury attorney if they know that there's still time for the court to be an option for your legal dispute.

What are The Exceptions to The Colorado Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

Colorado law offers a few possibilities for pausing or delaying the statute of limitations deadline.

In Colorado, if the injured party is minor or mentally unfit, they are deemed “legally disabled.” Any period of legal disability delays or pauses the statute of limitations deadline until the disability ends. This means that if the injured person falls into a coma after an accident, for instance, and they take three years to recover from their incapacitation, in the court’s eyes, that time never happened, and the “clock” on how long they have to sue will start running when they wake up. Also, if the injured party suffered an accidental injury at 16, the time limit for starting a civil action against the liable party starts running once they turn 18. However, it's imperative to note that if the minor or incapacitated person has a legal representative, this automatically voids the delay on the statute of limitations deadline for that person.

What If I Miss the Time Limit Deadline?

If the statute of limitations deadline has elapsed and you still try to sue, the defense attorney will ask the judge to dismiss your case. 

Even if there's an exception in your specific case, it may not matter, as it will be at the judge’s discretion whether to hear your case, and the judge may not think it’s worth the court’s time and resources if there's simply a technicality that could disqualify you. So, it’s vital to the integrity of your case that you hire legal counsel from an experienced Colorado personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after you discover your injury.

If you're still not sure how Colorado’s statute of limitations applies to your injury case, don’t delay any longer, contact our Denver personal injury law firm today at 720-770-5454 to discuss your case with our experienced Colorado personal injury attorneys. 

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