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Statute of Limitations on Auto Accidents

Posted by Raj Chohan | Jul 27, 2022 | 0 Comments

Statute of Limitations on Auto Accidents

If you were injured in an automobile accident due to someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. However, if several years have passed, and you haven't yet made a claim, there may still be time. When is it too late to file your claim?

To determine whether you still have time to seek compensation for a vehicle accident, you need to know the statute of limitations for such claims.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is the time limit for filing a lawsuit. The length of time available depends on the type of claim you are making. In Colorado, the statute of limitations is codified into law by the state legislature.

The time restrictions are rooted in the idea of fairness to all sides. As a matter of public policy, time restrictions ensure that the justice system decides cases while the evidence is still fresh. As the years go by, memories fade, evidence gets lost, and witnesses may no longer be around. With very few exceptions, a case that is filed after the statute of limitations has expired will be dismissed. Some useful insights on Colorado's Statute of Limitations include:

Colorado Statute of Limitations: Colorado Revised Statute 13-80-101

The Colorado statute of limitations for car accidents is 13-80-101 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The statute of limitations for bodily harm claims resulting from using or operating a motor vehicle is three years. If an accident results in death and the action involves wrongful death, the statute of limitations is generally only two years.

Who Does the Statute of Limitations Apply to in a Car Accident Case?

The applicable statute of limitations in a case involving an auto accident applies to all parties who may have a claim based on the auto accident. The filing deadline applies to motorists, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Anyone who may have a claim for injuries caused in a car accident must comply with the statute of limitations and file their case before the deadline.

How Long After A Car Accident Can You Make A Claim in Colorado?

According to Section 13-80-101(1) of the The statute of limitations, you have three years to initiate a lawsuit in Colorado for injuries caused in a car accident. After this period, the courts will automatically dismiss your claim. You must file within three years to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

How Long Do You Have To Report A Car Accident In Colorado?

If you are in a car accident that causes damage to property or injuries to people, Colorado law requires you to file an accident report within 60 days. It is a class 2 traffic misdemeanor not to report an accident in Colorado. The penalties range from 10 to 90 days in jail and/or a $150 to $300 fine. Fortunately, you do not have to file a report if the police come to the accident scene.

Colorado Car Accident Statute of Limitations: Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims

Sometimes, a careless driver's insurance coverage is insufficient to cover all the damages they cause. In such cases, victims with underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) can file claims with their own insurance company. If your insurance company is being unreasonable in the handling of your claim, you may be able to sue your own insurance carrier for breach of contract and bad faith insurance. The statute of limitations for a UIM claim is generally three years. This can be extended if a lawsuit is filed against the at-fault driver and the case goes to trial or settlement. In those cases, the statute of limitations can be extended by an additional two years after the discovery of inadequate coverage. Each case is fact-specific and requires a careful review to determine what time limit applies.

How to Meet the Statute of Limitations in a Colorado Car Accident Case

In a Colorado vehicle accident case, you comply with the statute of limitations by either settling your case with the insurance carrier or filing your claim in court by the deadline. Ongoing negotiations with the insurance company are insufficient to stop the statute of limitations from running. To comply with Colorado's statute of limitations, you must file your summons and complaint with the proper court before the time limit expires.

If your case is filed on time, it doesn't matter how long your case takes to conclude. Even if your case takes months or years to resolve in court, you can still beat the statute of limitations provided you file your case at least one day before the statute of limitations expires. Moreover, the time limitation applies even if your case seems uncomplicated, such as a rear-end collision. 

Priority number one is to have a Colorado personal injury attorney review your claim and advise you when the statute of limitations is due to expire. If you are within a month or two of the expiration date, your attorney will need to file your lawsuit promptly in the appropriate court. Once the lawsuit has been filed, you will have time to serve the opposing party with their copy of the paperwork, gather evidence, and work towards a fair resolution of your claim.

Denver Personal Injury Attorney

The standard statute of limitations for auto accidents in Colorado is three years. One of the best ways to determine your best course of action is to contact a Colorado personal injury attorney

The Max Law Firm can assess your case and advocate for your rights. We have a proven record of achieving significant results for our clients. The Max Law Firm is available for consultations at any time. Contact us today to begin working on your case.

Image Source: Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Shutterstock

About the Author

Raj Chohan

Raj Chohan is a personal injury attorney with a passion for helping injured Coloradans seek the compensation they deserve and the justice their cases demand. He is a former prosecutor with extensive jury trial experience in some of the most complex and serious cases that exist under Colorado law...

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