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How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Colorado?

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2020 | Personal Injury

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in Colorado, the time you take to act could make all the difference. As FindLaw explains, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two to three years, but this does not mean that you should wait to file your claim.

Most plaintiffs will want to file their claims as quickly as possible to improve their chances of a favorable outcome.

Statute of Limitations laws

Statute of limitations laws exist to avoid stale claims that no longer have reliable evidence. Over time, memories fade, witnesses change their stories or move away; evidence often deteriorates or disappears. By setting a time frame on civil and criminal cases, courts can ensure that statements and evidence are fresh and reliable.

For example, the statute of limitations on product liability and most medical malpractice lawsuits is two years, but libel, slander and fraud claims are only eligible for one year.

In Colorado, personal injury claims have a statute of limitations of two years except in cases of vehicular accidents, which receive an additional year.

Discovery rule

Colorado subscribes to the “discovery rule,” meaning that the statute of limitations time window begins either at the time of the incident or when the claimant discovered, or should have discovered, the resulting damage.

This means that if you are in a car accident in July, but you discover a muscle tear in December, your three years to file a claim theoretically begins in December. However, this is not foolproof. If you had a physical in August, a court will likely rule that you should have discovered the injury then and begin counting the months, or “tolling,” at that time.

Similarly, in the case above the defendant will have a good defense in court that the injury was unrelated if you do not discover and report it soon after the accident.

Personal injury claims

The earlier you assess personal injuries and take steps to file a claim, the better chance of a favorable outcome in court. After any incident where you believe you may have sustained an injury, visit a medical professional promptly and carefully check for injuries. Put anything you find on record and begin taking action right away.