How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Colorado?
An unexpected accident can cause serious financial hardship. If you are a Colorado resident who suffered injuries due to the actions of a negligent person or entity, you do have the right to collect compensation for the losses you suffered. However, you will need to adhere to the state’s statute of limitations if you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit — and if you miss the deadline, the court can dismiss your claim.
Why Are Statutes of Limitations Important?
Statutes of limitations serve a number of purposes in the courtroom. First, they ensure that you file your claim within a reasonable timeframe, and that the witnesses who testify on your behalf still have reliable evidence to provide. Witness memories can easily fade after several years, especially if your accident happened suddenly.
Filing sooner rather than later also ensures that other pieces of evidence, such as medical records or surveillance footage, is still available and undamaged when your case reaches trial. Statutes of limitations also protect potential defendants from claims that arise after an unreasonable amount of time passes, providing equal opportunity for both parties to protect their interests.
What Is Colorado’s Statute of Limitations?
Under Colorado law, all civil lawsuits have deadlines that plaintiffs must meet to be eligible for legal action. This law is known as the statute of limitations, and different deadlines apply to different types of litigation. Your specific deadline will depend on the circumstances surrounding your accident and the type of injury you suffered.
- If you sustained an injury due to the negligence of another person or entity, you typically have two years from the date of the injury to file your claim.
- If you were the victim of medical malpractice, you have two years from the date you discovered or should have reasonably discovered your injury to file.
- If you sustained injuries in a car accident, you have three years from the date of the accident to file the lawsuit.
- If you are filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased loved one, you have two years from his or her death to file.
Adhering to the statute of limitations is crucial for any personal injury lawsuit. If you fail to file your claim by the deadline, the court will likely dismiss your claim. As a result, you will not be eligible to collect the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.
How to Protect Your Right to Compensation
If you suffer injuries due to someone else’s negligent actions, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against him or her. However, you will need to take important steps to protect your right to a fair settlement by collecting evidence, seeking help, and speaking to an attorney.
Immediately after your accident, you should call 911 and seek emergency medical attention, even if you do not feel injured. You may have injuries you are not aware of, and taking too long to visit a doctor can harm your credibility in your future claim. You should also collect as much evidence as possible; save all medical records and documents related to your losses and take pictures of the accident scene and your injuries. If there are witnesses in the area, collect their contact information.
Finally, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as you can. Your attorney can advise you on your optimal pathways to compensation, as well as determine your specific statute of limitations. After you receive treatment for your injuries, contact a Denver personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.