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How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

Gama Law Firm LLC July 5, 2024

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident and the resultant injuries can be very stressful. If you're thinking of filing a claim, you might wonder how long you have to do so. Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Gama Law Firm LLC will help you understand the timeline and legalities, so you know the steps to take and the deadlines to meet to protect your rights. 

Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

The statute of limitations is the legal deadline for filing a lawsuit. In Colorado, this period varies depending on the type of claim. For most personal injury claims, including car accidents, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the accident.  

This gives you a three-year window to assess injuries, receive medical treatment, gather evidence, and file your lawsuit. However, to avoid complications, it's advisable to start the process as soon as possible. 

Certain circumstances may alter this deadline. For example, if the injured party is a minor, the time frame may differ. You must consult with a legal professional to understand any exceptions that may apply. 

Why You Should File a Car Accident Claim Promptly

After a car accident injury, you should file a claim as soon as possible. Time can affect the availability and quality of evidence. Witnesses' memories may fade, and physical evidence may deteriorate. A promptly filed claim ensures that critical evidence is preserved. 

Moreover, each state has deadlines for filing an injury claim. Missing these deadlines, known as statutes of limitations, can result in your case being dismissed, and you could forfeit your right to file a claim. 

Filing a claim within the stipulated time frame shows you're serious about seeking justice and compensation for your injuries. 

Immediate Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Here’s what you should do to protect your interests and strengthen your injury claim: 

  1. Seek medical attention: Even if injuries seem minor, it is important to see a doctor right away. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and only a medical professional can provide a proper assessment. 

  1. Report the accident: A police report can serve as valuable evidence when filing your injury claim. 

  1. Document the accident scene: Take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries. Collect contact information from witnesses and make detailed notes of what happened. 

  1. Exchange information: Collect the contact, insurance, and vehicle information from all parties involved in the accident. This includes driver's license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance policy details. 

  1. Notify your insurance company: Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with all the information gathered and any documentation to help with your claim. 

  1. Consult with a personal injury attorney: Seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney, especially if you have sustained significant injuries or if liability is disputed. An attorney can guide you through the process, ensure your rights are protected, and help you secure the compensation you deserve. 

Gathering Evidence for Your Claim

Evidence plays a vital role in supporting your injury claim. Here are some types of evidence to collect: 

  • Medical records and bills: These documents are evidence of the extent and cost of your injuries, which is essential for your claim. 

  • Witness statements: Witnesses can provide crucial testimony about the accident. Collect their contact information and request written statements if possible. 

  • Accident reports and photos: These can reconstruct the events leading to the accident and help prove your case. 

  • Surveillance footage: If the accident occurred near businesses or intersections with surveillance cameras, the footage could serve as compelling evidence. Contact the relevant parties to obtain copies of any video recordings. 

  • Expert testimonies: Accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals can offer in-depth analysis and testimony to support your claim. Their insights can help clarify technical aspects and substantiate the impact of the accident on your life. 

Dealing With Insurance Companies

Interacting with insurance companies can be challenging. Here are some tips to handle insurance communications effectively while protecting your interests. 

  1. Notify your insurer: Provide them with accurate information but avoid admitting fault or making detailed statements without legal advice. 

  1. Keep records of communication: These include copies of emails, letters, and notes from phone calls that can be useful if disputes arise. 

  1. Understand settlement offers: Insurance companies might rush you to settle for less. Play it safe and talk to a lawyer before agreeing to any offers. 

Filing a Car Accident Claim in Colorado

Understanding the laws related to car accident claims in Colorado helps you handle the process effectively. 

Statutes of Limitations   

In addition to the general three-year statute of limitations, there are other Colorado laws that may affect your claim. For instance, if you’re filing against a government entity, you may have a shorter time frame, typically 180 days to file a notice of claim. 

Comparative Negligence Rule   

This rule allows you to recover damages even if you're partially at fault, if your fault is less than 50%. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. 

Mandatory Insurance Requirements

Colorado law requires all drivers to carry minimum liability insurance. This includes $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 for property damage. 

Speak With Experienced Attorneys in Denver, Colorado

At Gama Law Firm LLC, Richard, our lead attorney, is known for his kindness and dedication to helping car accident victims. He provides excellent legal representation for third-party claims related to workplace injuries. Our team is here to support you every step of the way. Your well-being is our priority, and we' will help you achieve the best possible outcome. 

Reach out today to discuss your case and take the first step toward justice and recovery.