If you have been injured in an accident or if a loved one has been killed due to someone else’s negligence, you have a limited period of time during which to pursue compensation for your damages. This is called the statute of limitations. Personal injury cases in Colorado apply different statutes of limitations depending on the situation that surrounded the accident and subsequent injuries. For instance, the statute of limitation for filing a claim relating to injuries from a car accident differs from the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice suit.
Because of these differences, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney so that you do not miss the deadline for filing your claim. The attorneys at Marathon Law focus on personal injury cases, and they are aware of the statutes of limitations for any situation. By contacting a Marathon Law attorney soon after the accident that caused your injuries, we can help you preserve the evidence that will support your case and ultimately help you obtain a fair amount of compensation for your damages in a timely manner.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
In Colorado, the statute of limitations period for a personal injury claim is typically two years from the date of injury, depending on the nature of the claim. This two-year period applies whether the injuries were the result of a dog bite, a slip and fall accident, or a product liability case.
And of course, there are exceptions to these rules, including extensions that apply when an injury was not immediately apparent but was discovered later.
There are different timeframes that apply to motor vehicle accidents, as well as any accident that results in a wrongful death case.
Statute of Limitations for Motor Vehicle Accidents
Per Colorado law, any person who suffers bodily injury that results from a motor accident has three years in which to take action to recover damages for those injuries. If an accident occurs, but the resulting injuries aren’t immediately known, the statute of limitations runs three years from the reasonable date the injury should have been discovered.
Also sharing the three-year statute of limitations are any claims against uninsured motorists. Any claim should be filed within three years of the date of the accident involving the uninsured motorist.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death
In Colorado, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit is two years from the date of the individual’s death.
During the first year after a person’s death, only the spouse of the deceased has the right to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased was not married at the time of death, only their immediate heirs (or a legal beneficiary) can bring a claim.
After one year, the decedent’s spouse and children may file a wrongful death claim. If the decedent did not have a spouse or children, his or her parents may file a wrongful death claim during that two-year period.
Statute of Limitations Exceptions
Certain exceptions exist that apply to the statute of limitations for Colorado personal injury claims.
In wrongful death claims, the court may allow an extension if the at-fault party doesn’t reveal all the facts relating to the claim, or if the victim has a disability that gets in the way of him or her taking legal action in a timely manner.
Discovery of Harm
Discovery of harm, also known as the discovery rule, pertains to when an injury was realized, or discovered, or when it reasonably should have been. This rule applies in cases where a person sustained an injury, but the symptoms of the injury were not immediately apparent but became apparent after an extended period of time after the accident. It may also apply to some defective product cases wherein the victim doesn’t immediately attribute the injuries they’ve sustained to the defective product. Once the link between the two is discovered, the statute of limitations begins running.
Information Needed for Personal Injury Claims
When you suffer an injury due to an accident that occurred because of someone else’s negligence, or a family member has died due to the same, you must remember to gather and preserve as much information as you possibly can. This will strengthen the evidence in your case. This information includes medical records, doctor’s reports, medical bills and invoices, police reports, photos or videos taken at the scene of the accident or event that caused the injuries, photos or videos of the injuries, information regarding the scenario in which the accident occurred, witness statements and contact information, notes regarding the conditions where the accident occurred, and any other pertinent information that you and your attorney feel will be helpful to your case.
It is vitally important after you’ve been in an accident to contact an experienced and skilled attorney as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute because if the statute of limitations runs out, you’re out of luck and will receive no compensation for your damages.
The attorneys at Marathon Law invite you to come in for a consultation where we can accurately assess your case, and begin the process of filing your claim against the at-fault party. This is the surest way to secure fair compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. You can contact us by phone at 303-704-1222 or through our online contact page.