How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Motorcycle Accident?
The vast majority of car accidents are minor accidents that result in no injuries or deaths. On the other hand, other accidents result in slight to severe injuries and deaths in the most catastrophic cases. When motorcycles are involved, the number of accidents and injuries skyrocket. Bikers do not have the same level of protection as passengers in cars.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, or if a loved one has died as a consequence of another party’s carelessness, Colorado law allows you to claim for damages; but, you must move quickly before the statute of limitations on your case runs out. The following information pertains to the statutes of limitations in motorcycle accident cases in Colorado.
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What is the Definition of a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations, in general, is legislation that limits the time restriction for pursuing legal action after an accident or crime. Statutes of limitations apply to both civil and criminal acts, although they differ depending on the circumstance and from state to state.
The statute of limitations in personal injury lawsuits, such as motorcycle accident claims, refers to when an injured party has to sue an allegedly culpable party in civil court for damages.
When the time runs out, Colorado law prevents accident victims from bringing a lawsuit to seek damages for their injuries. For each sort of lawsuit, including motorcycle accident claims, Colorado law provides various statutes of limitations.
Motorcycle Accidents in Colorado: Statutes of Limitations
The statute of limitations in Colorado for a motorcycle accident case varies depending on who has been mentioned in the lawsuit and whether or not the accident resulted in a death.
Injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. Under Colorado law, those who have been harmed in a motorcycle accident must bring a lawsuit within four years of the date of the accident. A Colorado court will almost certainly refuse to consider a lawsuit after the three-year deadline has passed. The court may grant an exception in exceptional situations involving unusual circumstances, although this is exceedingly improbable.
Claims for wrongful death in motorcycle accidents. Provided a loved one is killed in a motorcycle accident, Colorado law allows surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim against the guilty party if they do so within two years of the event.
Injuries caused by defective products. Motorcycle accidents caused by faulty bike equipment like tires, throttles, or fuel tanks need victims to file a product liability claim with the assistance of a trained attorney. When a flaw produces an injury, the statute of limitations is four years; when a defect causes a death, the wrongful death statute of limitations is two years.
Injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident involving a government organization. If a motorcycle accident is caused by badly maintained roads or a driver in a government car, plaintiffs may sue the related government agency or subdivision for damages. Victims have three years from the accident to launch a lawsuit against a government agency in Colorado.
Claims for property damage. Those who want to sue for property damage resulting from a motorcycle accident, including damage to or loss of their motorcycle, have four years to do so.
Extensions to Colorado’s Statutes of Limitations Cases of Motorcycle Accidents
The legal code of Colorado explicitly establishes time restrictions for filing a lawsuit after a motor car accident, including motorcycle accidents. Still, it also specifies conditions in which the court may grant an exemption. The following are some typical exceptions to the statute of limitations that may convince the court to extend it in your case:
The Defendant’s Address
It is hard to serve a defendant with court paperwork to start a case if they leave Colorado after the date of harm. The court will pause the clock until the defendant returns to Colorado in certain cases. If the defendant seeks to evade service and conceal, the same rules apply.
To escape responsibility, a defendant may present a fictitious identity to law authorities. The court may extend the statute of limitations in some circumstances until the defendant’s name and whereabouts are confirmed by police enforcement, insurance companies, or other investigators.
Catastrophic Injury is a term used to describe a serious injury.
When a motorcycle accident victim has a severe injury that makes filing a claim almost difficult, Colorado law allows the victim seven years from the date of Injury to file a case. Victims who required lengthy hospital stays due to burns or because they were in a coma are examples.
The term “delayed discovery” refers to when an accident victim does not understand the depth of their injuries right away. According to Colorado law, the statute of limitations clock does not begin ticking until a victim finds an injury or a reasonable person should have found an injury.
This condition arises more commonly in product liability and medical malpractice claims than in motorcycle accident cases, although it may happen either.
A traumatic brain injury is the most typical illustration of the importance of delayed detection in a motorcycle accident case (TBI). The delayed discovery rule is designed to provide injured people adequate time to submit a claim after discovering their injuries.
TBIs, for example, do not show symptoms for weeks or months after a motorcycle accident. Although a minor TBI may recover fast, the person may not realize the full degree of brain damage for a long time.
Victims of Minor Motorcycle Accidents
If children are harmed in a motorcycle accident, and no one files a case on their behalf, the court may begin the statute of limitations clock when they reach 18. If you were wounded as a youngster or
your dependent kid was harmed in a motorcycle accident, you should speak with your attorney about your options.
Repose Statutes in Motorcycle Accident Cases in Colorado
Another form of legislation that imposes time restrictions on personal injury lawsuits is the statute of repose. They impose an absolute time restriction on claiming damages in civil court; the legal profession views this legislation as favoring the defense.
Even before damage occurs, a statute of repose may begin the clock. Unless the accident was caused by a faulty motorcycle, motorcycle component, or helmet, statutes of repose do not apply to motorcycle accident lawsuits in Colorado. In Colorado, both statutes of limitations and repose apply to product liability lawsuits.
According to Colorado law, plaintiffs cannot sue for damage or death caused by a faulty product with a life expectancy of fewer than ten years if the harm happened more than 12 years after the product was delivered to the first owner.
For example, if a 15-year-old motorcycle tire blows out on the highway and causes an accident, the injured person is barred from pursuing damages, even if the tire was known to be defective. The original purchaser is likewise prohibited from selling or leasing a product to use it as a part under the statute of repose. This stops a motorcycle manufacturer from bringing a lawsuit against a component supplier.
What if my Motorcycle Accident Claim is beyond the Statute of Limitations?
Suppose you attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit for your motorcycle accident claim after the statute of limitations has expired. In that case, the defense will want to have your case dismissed because you filed late. Although the exclusions above give a solid reason for the court to consider your case, the court will often refuse it.
Regardless of who caused the accident or how strong your claim is, you are barred from collecting damages for your injuries once a Colorado court rejects your motorcycle accident lawsuit. The best approach to guarantee that you don’t lose out on compensation that you deserve because your statute of limitations has run out is to consult and hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible following your injury.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Coverage in Colorado
This section applies to riders visiting Colorado from other states where they are required to have personal injury protection.
When registering a car in Colorado, drivers and motorcycle riders must submit evidence of insurance. Motorists must have a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage under Colorado law.
Colorado is a no-fault insurance state, which means that if you’re in a car, motorcycle, truck, or another kind of accident, you must first submit a claim with your own insurance company before suing another motorist.
You may file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain extra damages if your PIP coverage maximum has been reached or surpassed. Your lawyer will help you navigate these claims and a lawsuit while considering the statutory statute of limitations.
What Should I Do If I’m in a Colorado Motorcycle Accident?
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident in Colorado, the following pointers can help you recover part or all of the damages you’ve suffered as a consequence of your Injury:
Seek medical help as soon as possible. After a motorcycle accident, you must put your health and safety first. If you were not taken to the emergency department by ambulance and admitted to the hospital right away, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Proof that your Injury was caused by the motorcycle accident is required for a solid motorcycle accident injury claim. Medical paperwork gives your lawyer power when negotiating a settlement and serves as evidence of injuries if you go to trial. Some injuries, particularly brain traumas, don’t show signs right away, so pay attention to your health in the days and weeks after your motorcycle accident.
Maintain a file of documents, bills, and receipts. Proving economic loss is necessary for a successful injury claim. Proof of economic loss includes pay stubs showing missed work, medical expenses not covered by insurance, and invoices for motorcycle repairs. You should also keep track of mileage and gas receipts for travels to and from the hospital or clinic for treatment and follow-up appointments.
Do not communicate with the insurance company of the other party. The driver’s insurance provider may make a settlement offer in serious accidents when guilt is clear, and you’ll probably exceed your PIP policy limits. Insurance firms train adjusters to obtain comments from you that demonstrate you are partly to blame for the accident. These early offers may seem appealing, particularly if you are in a financial bind, but they are often significantly less than you deserve. When speaking with the insurance company, you run the danger of stating anything that may lower the value of your claim. Allow your attorney to handle all correspondence and settlement discussions while you concentrate on your recovery.
Don’t discuss your situation with anybody else. When you tell your family, friends, and neighbors about your motorcycle accident, you create a circumstance that might invalidate your claim. Insurance companies investigating your accident will speak with family members and friends, looking for proof of negligence or that your injuries aren’t as serious as you say. It’s ideal if your loved ones don’t know anything about you. The same is true when it comes to social media posting. Keep your case off of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. An insurance company may discover facts that may lower the value of your claim.
Before the Statute of Limitations expires, use our law firm to handle your claim.
When you or a loved one is injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, you need a lawyer you can trust to defend you while seeking compensation for your losses.
After your motorcycle accident, the expert legal team at Warrior Motorcycle Accident Attorneys, is here to fight for you and help you through the claims process. For a free consultation, call 719-300-1100 now. Our locations in Colorado Springs, Monument, Pueblo, and Fountain help wounded people.