How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

May 18, 2022

Is There Still Time to Make a Personal Injury Claim?

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According to the Colorado Department of Highway Safety and Motor Cars FLHSMV crash data, most traffic accidents on Colorado roads each year do not result in injury or death; in recent years, this has accounted for just under 60% of all crashes. If your injuries were caused by negligence or intentional injury, your injuries were severe, and your losses exceeded the limits of your own medical payments coverage MedPay insurance policy, Colorado law may entitle you to sue for damages.

You do, however, have a limited amount of time to file a car accident claim. The statute of limitations in Colorado governs the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. The following information will teach you everything you need to know about Colorado car accident statutes of limitations.

If you or a loved one requires immediate legal assistance to discuss your case, call Warrior Car Accident Lawyers at 719-300-1100 for a free consultation to find out how we can help.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?

The term “statute of limitations” refers to laws that limit the number of times plaintiffs or prosecutors have to file a lawsuit after an injury or crime has occurred. Statutes of limitations apply to both torts and criminal offenses, but they differ depending on the jurisdiction and the type of injury claim or crime.

The statute of limitations in personal injury claims such as car accidents refers to the amount of time you have to sue a liable party in civil court to recover losses for an accident and injury. Except in rare circumstances, once the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim expires, a Colorado court will not hear your case, and you will be unable to recover any damages.

LIMITATIONS ON CLAIMS FOR CAR ACCIDENTS IN COLORADO

There are several statutes of limitations in Colorado’s legal code that may apply to a car accident claim. The time limit that applies is determined by the circumstances of the accident and who may be legally responsible for your injuries or losses.

INJURIES SUSTAINED IN CAR ACCIDENTS

Those who have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence have three years from the date of the traffic accident to file a car accident claim in Colorado. When the three-year statute of limitations runs out, it’s highly unlikely that a Colorado court will hear your case.

INJURIES CAUSED BY DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS

Defective cars or car parts cause some car accidents. A product liability lawsuit is filed when a manufacturer’s defect causes an accident that results in injury or death. Product liability lawsuits may require different procedures depending on the circumstances of the case. Still, the three-year statute of limitations applies unless the plaintiff dies, in which case the two-year statute of limitations applies.

CLAIMS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT FOR INJURIES SUSTAINED IN CAR ACCIDENTS

Under Colorado law, injured parties have only three years to file a lawsuit against a government agency or subdivision whose negligence caused an accident. This statute of limitations might apply to your case if your accident and injury were caused by a pothole, sinkhole, or other poorly maintained road feature.

CAR ACCIDENT CLAIMS RESULTING IN WRONGFUL DEATH

Surviving family members who have lost a loved one in a car accident may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim against a negligent party under Colorado law. Still, they must do so within three years of the date of the injury that resulted in death.

STOPPING THE CLOCK IN CAR ACCIDENT CASES IN COLORADO

Although Colorado law is clear on statutes of limitations, a court may make an exception in exceptional circumstances and stop the clock or extend the statute of limitations for a specific case. The following are some examples of circumstances that may prompt a court to extend a statute of limitations:

THE SUPPOSEDLY LIABLE PARTY’S LOCATION

You may have difficulty serving a summons and other related documents out-of-state if the defendant leaves the state after the car accident. If you petition the court with the help of an experienced car accident attorney, the statute of limitations may be extended until the defendant returns to Colorado or can be served with the process from another state. If a defendant goes underground to avoid being served with court papers, the court will usually stop the clock.

MISREPRESENTATION

When a defendant gives law enforcement a false identity in a car accident, the court may order that the clock be stopped until the police or an investigator can locate and verify the defendant’s true identity.

SERIOUS INJURIES

A severe or catastrophic injury, such as burns or a coma, may make filing a car accident claim difficult, if not impossible. Colorado law allows for a three-year extension from the date of your accident if your lawyer can show that your physical condition prevented you or another person acting on your behalf from filing a claim.

INJURIES ARE DISCOVERED LATER THAN EXPECTED.

Sometimes, injuries sustained in a car accident do not manifest symptoms right away, or the injured victim does not realize the extent of their injuries until later. The statute of limitations clock usually starts ticking on the date of injury. Still, a delay in a victim discovering the injury may cause the clock to stop ticking under Colorado law. Delayed discovery is most common in medical malpractice and product liability cases, but it can also happen in a car accident, particularly head trauma.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur due to a collision or blunt force trauma to the head in a car accident. The majority of TBIs are minor concussions that heal in a matter of weeks with no long-term consequences. Serious TBIs can have long-term consequences, especially in children. Victims and doctors may not know the full extent of their injuries for weeks or months.

VICTIMS OF CAR ACCIDENTS UNDER THE AGE OF 18

If your teen driver has been in a car accident or your child was in the car with you at the time of the accident and was injured, you may be eligible for a statute of limitations extension. This usually happens when an adult fails to file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor; in these cases, the injured child can sue for damages once they reach the age of 18.

Each claim is unique, and the circumstances of the accident will be considered by the court when deciding whether or not to extend the statute of limitations. Find out if a statute of limitations extension applies to you or your child by consulting an experienced attorney.

REPOSE STATUTES IN COLORADO CAR ACCIDENT CASES

Another type of law that can affect how long you have to file a car accident claim is a statute of repose. Statutes of repose impose a strict time limit on pursuing legal action against someone who has caused you injury. In some cases, the statute of repose may begin to run before the injury occurs. The vast majority of car accident cases in Colorado do not involve statutes of repose; however, if your accident was caused by a defective car or car part, Colorado statutes of repose may apply to your product liability claim against the manufacturer.

According to Colorado law, victims cannot sue for injuries or death caused by a defective product with a life expectancy of fewer than ten years or caused injury more than 12 years after the first owner bought or received the product. Injured parties cannot sue the tire manufacturer for damages if a 13-year-old car tire blows out on the road and causes an accident, even if the tire had a known defect. Similarly, if a car has a known recall issue that results in an accident after 12 years, you cannot sue the car manufacturer for damages.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM EXCEEDS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?

In the vast majority of cases, Colorado law prohibits you from seeking damages if you do not file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations on your case expires, regardless of fault or the strength of your claim. If you file a personal injury lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed, the defense will most likely file a motion to dismiss your case due to late filing. If you meet one of

the exceptions listed above, the court may decide to hear your case. However, this is unlikely; Colorado law allows for these exceptions, but they are difficult to invoke.

Working with a skilled car accident injury attorney is the best way to ensure that you have a chance to hold negligent parties accountable for your injuries and potentially recover damages. A qualified attorney is familiar with Colorado statutes of limitations and can help you manage your time to avoid missing the deadline for filing your car accident claim.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I GET IN A CAR ACCIDENT IN COLORADO?

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in Colorado, follow the steps below to improve your chances of recovering compensation for your injuries:

SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

The most important thing after a car accident is your health. If you refused medical treatment or an ambulance ride at the accident scene, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Medical documentation proving your injury was caused by an accident is required to win your car accident injury case. This assists your attorney in reaching a better settlement for you and provides evidence for the court if you need to go to trial.

SAVE ALL EVIDENCE OF LOSS ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR ACCIDENT

Another important aspect of recovering damages is proving economic loss. Keep all receipts related to your accident and injury, including car repairs, gas receipts for traveling to and from the hospital, pay stubs showing lost wages, medical bills not covered by your mandatory PIP coverage, and anything else.

CONSULT AN ATTORNEY BEFORE ACCEPTING A SETTLEMENT OFFER.

Some car accidents result in serious injuries that easily exceed or exceed the limits of insurance policies. Insurance companies may make an early settlement offer if they know their policyholder is at fault. These offers are intended to dangle an enticing financial carrot in front of accident victims, particularly those with a mountain of unpaid bills, in the hopes of absolving an insurance company of liability for a larger settlement or court-ordered damages in the future.

They are, however, frequently far less than one deserves for a serious injury. Never accept a job offer without first consulting an attorney. He or she may be able to obtain a better settlement, but more importantly, allowing a lawyer to handle communications will protect you from saying anything that could diminish the value of your claim.

ONLY DISCUSS YOUR CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM WITH YOUR ATTORNEY

You may feel compelled to tell all of your friends and family about your accident and case, but this is not in your best interests. When insurance companies and other defense parties investigate

your case, they may speak with family members and friends. When your loved ones know the full story, they may say something that undermines your claim. Similarly, don’t post anything on social media about your accident, your daily life, or your case to avoid an insurance company twisting one of your posts to lower the value of your car accident claim.

TAKE LEGAL ACTION BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

If you have been injured in a car accident or have lost a loved one, you need a knowledgeable and trustworthy attorney to help you seek compensation for your injuries. You are not required to fight alone. Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, and Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, have a compassionate and experienced legal team that will be by your side to guide you through the legal process following a car accident. With offices on both coasts of Colorado, you can reach us by calling 719-300-1100 or contacting us online for a free consultation.

Accidents involving motor cars occur daily. Many drivers and passengers are wounded in these collisions, but not everyone receives the assistance they need to file a personal injury claim. That is something we want to alter. We’re here to inform you about your limited legal alternatives if you’re ever involved in an car accident.

So, how long do you have to file an injury claim following a car accident? Your state’s statute of limitations will provide you with the answer to this issue.

A statute of limitations is a deadline that an injured person must adhere to while deciding whether or not to pursue legal action. A “prescriptive phase” is another name for it. A claim may no longer be submitted or rejected if the time has expired.

The statutes of limitations differ from one state to the next. They also differ based on the sort of case you’re working on. There is no statute of limitations for some crimes, such as violent crimes.

CAR ACCIDENTS IN COLORADO HAVE A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

All personal injury claims in Colorado have a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the occurrence. After an car accident in Colorado, you have this amount of time to make a claim. This is true for injury claims submitted by motorists, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians in car accidents.

Property damage claims in Colorado, such as damage to your car or other goods after an accident, have a two-year statute of limitations.

You may also be able to claim damages against the components manufacturer if a defective car part contributed to your car accident. For faulty product liability lawsuits in Colorado, the statute of limitations is likewise two years.

CAR ACCIDENT CLAIMS FOR WRONGFUL DEATH

There is a two-year statute of limitations for initiating a wrongful death claim if a loved one was killed in an car accident in Colorado. The two-year time limit would start on the date of their death, not the date of the accident if they died later as a consequence of their accident injuries and sequelae.

The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, unlike personal injury claims, may be extended up to one year in some difficult circumstances.

RECIPIENTS OF GOVERNMENT REIMBURSEMENT

Did you realize that a government agency might have caused your car accident? You might be eligible to submit a claim against the government if you experienced missing signs, missing guardrails, broken traffic signals, potholes, or other road maintenance concerns while traveling on government-owned land.

The Colorado Tort Claims Act permits you to sue the government for accidents involving government-owned cars or accidents on government-owned land that are considered dangerous.

Be aware that the statute of limitations varies if a government body damages you. When seeking compensation from the state of Colorado, you must submit a “notice of claim” within six months of the date of the accident. Some local governments have much shorter notification deadlines. In Colorado Springs, for example, there is a 90-day maximum.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS EXCEPTIONS

There are exceptions to the rule that courts seldom grant extensions to deadlines set by statutes of limitations. The following are some of the exceptions:

If the accident involves a minor. if the defendant has gone missing

if a handicapped or severely wounded victim need assistance in making a claim or has been immobilized for an extended length of time

if a victim’s participation in their lawsuit was hampered by military deployment

A car accident lawyer can tell you whether there are any exceptions in your instance.

The purpose of statutes of limitations is to promote rigorous and timely prosecution of criminal cases. According to law officials, anyone with a genuine claim should pursue it as soon as possible. We recognize that this isn’t always the case, but if you’ve been in a car accident, we highly advise you to get legal help as soon as possible. Please allow us to explain why.

WHY SHOULD YOU FILE YOUR CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM RIGHT AWAY?

Car crashes are unquestionably terrible events. The first shock may be followed by days or weeks of mental fog.

However, you’re running out of time to make your case. The insurance company will not hand up its money lightly, and it will want sufficient evidence before paying you what you’re owed.

While three years may seem like a long time, it takes time for a qualified personal injury lawyer to investigate, gather evidence, and construct a compelling case that gets you the compensation you deserve!

Reaching out to them a week before the statute of limitations runs out isn’t going to help either of you. The sooner you submit, the higher your chances of getting a favorable outcome.

By filing your claim today, you will be able to do the following:

RECOVER FROM YOUR INJURIES SUSTAINED IN A CAR ACCIDENT

You’re going to be experiencing all the stress, strain, and confusion that a car accident entails, whether or not you were seriously hurt. The options available to you may seem costly or daunting, and as time passes, you may want to put the situation behind you.

This, however, is not a sensible decision. It might take weeks for certain injuries to manifest. We often get queries from customers who were involved in an accident over a year ago but have just now realized the impact it has had on their life.

Trust us when we say that attempting to “tough it out” or “wait and see” whether your injuries heal never a smart idea.

You are entitled to prompt medical attention. Even if you were just involved in a minor “fender bender,” you may not be aware that you have soft tissue injuries that will worsen over time and need physical treatment.

MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO GAPS IN YOUR MEDICAL CARE

This is crucial since treatment gaps are sometimes used to discredit wounded individuals and substantially lower compensation offers. If you don’t seek fast, comprehensive medical care and follow all advice, insurance companies claim that you weren’t wounded.

We understand that job, family, schedule issues, financial concerns, and other factors might obstruct your medical treatment. On the other hand, the insurance company will not be so accommodating.

KEEP TRACK OF THE EVIDENCE

Important evidence may be lost over time. Evidence at the accident site may be contaminated or wiped away. Witnesses are becoming more difficult to locate, and their evidence is

becoming less trustworthy as time passes. Accessing medical records and other key information to support your case becomes more difficult for your lawyer.

MAKE A PAYMENT ON YOUR CAR ACCIDENT COSTS

In the blink of an eye, car accident expenses may mount quickly. If your car was wrecked or you had surgery, the costs have just begun. You’ll need a rental car, as well as assistance with childcare or housework, and you’ll be out of work and in discomfort.

An car accident lawyer will consider all of these issues and fight for the full worth of your claim, ensuring that you get enough money to cover all of your accident-related expenditures.

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM?

Because each car accident is unique, there is no standard figure for car accident claim settlements. Even though the hits and injuries seem to be the same, each will be worth a different amount!

If you win, the damages you get are meant to compensate you for the losses you’ve experienced. The following are examples of loss categories:

Medical bills, ambulance trips, physical therapy sessions, and other health-related costs Wages lost or future earning capability lost

Agony, mental anguish, and a loss of pleasure in life Damage to your property, including your car

A car accident lawyer can help you determine the real worth of your case by evaluating all of these damages and how they have affected your life. Don’t let this chance pass you by!

DO CAR ACCIDENT LAWSUITS END UP IN COURT?

Not all car accident lawsuits end up in court. The good news is that most car accident lawsuits are settled without going to court. A good car accident lawyer understands how to work with insurance companies to obtain the best compensation possible.

Our team of car accident lawyers, on the other hand, has considerable litigation expertise and is fully prepared to stand up for you in court if you are dealing with particularly uncooperative insurance agents.

As car accident victims, we view the “whole picture” and analyze the entire degree of your pain and suffering. Don’t give up or accept anything less than your full potential.

It’s important to note that the statute of limitations does not apply to the duration of a possible trial; rather, it refers to the amount of time you have to take the initial step toward legal  action and get things started.

DON’T PUT OFF FILING YOUR CLAIM ANY LONGER.

It might be difficult to figure out how to submit a car accident claim. When you’re already stressed, you shouldn’t have to deal with insurance companies’ tiresome technicalities, phone tags, and extended wait periods.

We’ve seen innocent victims lose out on the compensation they deserve over the years simply because they were unaware of their rights or were unwilling to contact us sooner.

NOW IS THE MOMENT TO ACT, NOT TO TAKE RISKS!

We have more than 20 years of expertise in dealing with all types of car accident cases. Our car accident attorneys work quickly to gather all the facts necessary to establish a solid case and get the compensation you deserve.

TO SUM UP, EVERYTHING WE’VE LEARNED THUS FAR

For car accidents in Colorado, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the accident.

Personal injury claims, property damage claims, faulty car parts claims, and wrongful death actions are all subject to this time restriction.

Special time restrictions may apply if you pursue a claim against a government agency that caused your injury. You only have 90 days in Colorado Springs to submit a notice of claim against the government.

As soon as possible following an accident, file a claim to maximize your chances of a successful settlement.

ONE MISSED DEADLINE CAN ALTER YOUR FUTURE.

If you do not act immediately, you risk losing your claim to compensation and being left to deal with your injuries and losses on your own.

After your accident, contact a lawyer for a free consultation as soon as possible. You will have a better edge if they begin preparing your case as soon as possible. We’re available for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with professionals ready to provide you with free, private consultations!

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers

1902 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 100

Colorado Springs, CO 80904

719-300-1100

Free Consultation

NO FEE UNLESS WE WIN

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