The aftermath of a Colorado car accident may leave you wondering exactly how long you have to file your claim for injuries and damages. After being injured in a car accident, your first action should be to seek medical attention. However, it may not be long before you are required to file your personal injury claim. If you were not the one at fault for the motor vehicle accident, you do not need to bear the weight of your financial expenses and damages alone.
Strict deadline limits apply to Colorado car accident lawsuits, so if you delay your right to pursue compensation, you may lose everything. Do not deprive yourself and your loved ones of the money you need and deserve.
Why Do Statutes of Limitations Exist?
You may be wondering why deadlines are in place for a person filing a lawsuit in the United States. While each state can set its own laws and statute of limitations, the general reason for them is so car accident cases are brought within a reasonable time period. This ensures the claim and lawsuit can be based on reliable information.
In time, physical evidence may become lost or degraded, witnesses may lose the memory of the car accident, and medical evidence may lose much of the impact. Documents related to your car accident are more likely to be found immediately or relatively soon following the accident. Statutes of limitations also grant an amount of certainty you will not be sued for alleged injuries that may have occurred a very long time ago.
Colorado Statute of Limitations
Under Colorado Revised Statute 13-80-101(1), you must file your car accident claim within three years of the date of the accident. When filing a claim, a statute of limitation is a legal way of saying that ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.’ While various factors and circumstances can delay filing your claim, you must ensure you start the claim before the three-year mark. Otherwise, you will lose the right to file a lawsuit and pursue financial compensation for damages and injuries.
Generally, the clock starts running the day of your car accident, and you must file your claim before that date three years later. There’s no difference in process between filing your claim two days after the accident or filing after two years. It is only required to start the process within Colorado’s statute of limitations.
On the other hand, the longer you wait, the larger the risk of evidence or eyewitnesses disappearing increases. This can make the process of seeking compensation more challenging and stressful. It is in your best interest to file your car accident claim as soon as possible. In fact, the sooner you contact a car accident lawyer, the sooner they will gather evidence, handle insurance negotiations, and pursue maximum financial compensation.
Suppose you begin your claim after two years from the date of the accident. It might be challenging to find reliable eyewitnesses, while in the immediate days following the car crash, they may clearly describe what happened.
What If My Injuries Are Not Discovered Immediately?
Auto accident victims often do not discover their injuries immediately following a car accident. Injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, or spinal cord damage, may not appear immediately after the accident. This is especially true if victims fail to seek medical attention. In this situation, the statute of limitation can be pushed to three years after discovering your injuries. However, you may need to prove you were unaware of your car accident injuries to extend Colorado’s statute of limitations.
Other Exceptions to Colorado’s Statute of Limitations
Often, circumstances outside your control can prevent your car accident case from moving forward. Your claim could be ‘tolled’ until the impediments are dealt with. Some of the most common reasons for tolling auto accident cases include:
- The car accident victim was a minor when injuries occurred.
- The victims are not mentally competent following the injuries (mentally disabled or unable to be conscious of their own rights; the statute of limitation is tolled until the victim’s competency can be restored)
- Foreign objects are still present in the victim’s body.
- Defendant’s bankruptcy (the defendant does not have any money to pay for your injuries, so the period may begin to run again once the person is no longer bankrupt)
Under Colorado law, the statute of limitations will begin on the victim’s 18 birthday if they were a minor when the accident occurred. Separately, if the at-fault driver is not in Colorado, has concealed themselves, or is not subject to the lawsuit’s service, the clock will start ticking until the driver returns to Colorado or you locate them.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
If you have lost a dear one due to a reckless driver in Colorado, you can pursue accountability through a wrongful death claim. You must file the wrongful death claim within two years following the person’s death. Such claims are intended to compensate you or other surviving family members. The compensation will be paid directly to the eligible family members and is usually not taxable. Grieving a relative’s death is difficult enough, but you may find a sense of peace in seeking justice on behalf of the deceased.
When you pursue a Colorado wrongful death claim, be sure to have a skilled and compassionate car accident lawyer on your side. At Mountain States Injury Law, our legal team will explore all the circumstances of your car accident to help you beat Colorado’s statute of limitations and pursue maximum financial compensation for your injuries.
If you have been involved in a car accident recently or are running out of time to file your claim, our car accident attorneys in Colorado are ready to work for you. Our piece of advice is to not wait. If another driver’s negligent behavior has hurt you, contact a car accident attorney at Mountain States Injury Law, as early as possible. The more time you have to file your personal injury claim, the better we can prepare your case and the more effective we can be.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
Here at Mountain States Injury Law, we believe all car accident victims should have skilled and diligent legal assistance on their side. We have stood up for countless people who have been severely injured in car accidents and have a record proving it. We understand being involved and injured in a motor vehicle accident or losing a dear one due to someone else’s negligence is devastating and life-changing.
We are here and ready to carefully listen to your car accident case and offer a straightforward solution to your claim. We will work closely to determine if you are within the statute of limitations, what evidence you need, and what compensation you can seek. Please do not wait until it is too late to pursue the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. At Mountain States Injury Law, we provide a free, non-obligation initial consultation to discuss your legal options and the timeline for taking action. Contact us today to learn more!