Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

7/12/22 – Liz Hart

On my first day of work as a brand new lawyer, one of the senior partners called me into his office. He wisely explained, “You are a new lawyer which means that you will make mistakes. If you make a mistake, the worst thing you can do is not tell me. Tell me immediately if you make a mistake because, most of the time, I can fix it.” He then said, “EXCEPT if you blow the statute of limitations. Never ever blow the statute of limitations. That’s a mistake I cannot fix.” I’ve carried this advice with me for the past eleven years.

The statute of limitations is the time period set by law in which a party has to initiate legal proceedings against the liable parties. The purpose of the statute of limitations is to incentivize an injured party to act while the evidence is still fresh and also protect the defendant(s) from claims brought after an unreasonable amount of time. If a personal injury claim is not brought within the statute of limitations period, the claim will be time-barred.

It’s critical to calendar the statute of limitations for your claims. I also encourage calendaring reminders that the statute limitations is coming up 1 month and 6 months beforehand. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of injury, unless the injury involves a motor vehicle. C.R.S. § 13-80-102(a). The 2-year statute of limitations typically includes claims falling under the Colorado Premises Liability Act, products liability, dog bites, nursing home negligence and ski accidents.

However, in addition to the statute of limitations, there are strict notice requirements if a governmental entity is involved. See C.R.S. § 24-109-106. The Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA) requires providing all liable parties subject to the CGIA written notice with specific information within 182 of the date of injury. If you do not provide adequate written notice within 182 days to the governmental entity, you could lose all rights to bring your claims.

For motor vehicle accidents, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the accident. C.R.S. § 13-80-101(n). This statute of limitations applies when a cyclist, pedestrian, or semi-truck was involved in the crash.

There are limited exceptions to the statute of limitations. If the injured person is under the age of 18 or mentally incompetent at the time of the event and has no legal representation, then the statute of limitations can be tolled until the injured person reaches the age of 18 or the disability has resolved. See C.R.S. § 13-20-805

Make sure you bring your personal injury claim within the statute of limitations with a team of experienced personal injury attorneys. We provide free consultations. Let us be Your Ally and Your Advocate.

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