What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations is the time you have to file a lawsuit in your case. Ideally, you and your attorney want to try and settle your case before this deadline so that you don’t have to file a lawsuit. If the insurance company is being unreasonable, sometimes you have no choice but to sue them and their insured.
Missing the deadline to file suit
If you don’t file a lawsuit before the deadline (see below for deadlines), you will not be able to recover any money in your case. This is because you can’t sue the responsible party and therefore the responsible party has no incentive to pay you anything at all. However, as soon as you file a lawsuit the clock stops ticking and you no longer have to worry about the deadline to sue. You can still try to settle your case even after you’ve filed a lawsuit.
Deadlines to Bring a Claim
With some exceptions (such as if the injured person is a minor or is incapacitated), here are the deadlines which generally apply to personal injury cases in Colorado (for more accurate information about your specific case, please consult an attorney):
Personal Injury. The general limitations period for personal injury cases is two years. However, if the personal injury involves a car, truck, motorcycle, or other type of motor vehicle, the deadline to file a lawsuit is three years.
Wrongful Death. You must file this type of case (on behalf of the deceased person) within two years from the date of the death. However, in cases where the death resulted from the use or operation of a motor vehicle, the lawsuit must be filed within three years.
Medical Malpractice. You must file this type of case within two years from the date the negligence (malpractice) is or should have been discovered by you.
Product Liability (injury from a dangerous or defective product, drug, or medical device). You must file this type of case within two years from the date of injury.
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Claim. You have three years to file a lawsuit against your own car insurance company for non-payment of Uninsured or Underinsured benefits. In the case of an accident with an underinsured driver, you must file a lawsuit within two years from the date you receive payment from either a settlement or judgment against the underinsured driver, but under no circumstances do you have less than three years from the date of the accident.
If you plan to sue a person, company, or entity that is employed by the State of Colorado or one of its political subdivisions (city, county, school district, etc.), you must give written notice to certain official representatives within 180 days from the injury (even if you don’t know all the elements of your claim or cause of action by then). If you miss this 180-day deadline, then you cannot sue them later on, even if you are within the applicable deadlines described above.
Don’t hesitate to speak with an attorney
It’s difficult to act after you or a loved one has been hurt by someone else.
It is doubtless a chaotic time in your life, but the worst thing you can do is not to act.
Always seek medical attention first, and then seek an attorney with the experience to guide you to a full recovery. The Game Law Firm helps Colorado injury and accident victims learn about their options for overcoming the emotional, physical and financial hurdles set up by an accident. Set up a free consultation with Denver personal injury attorney Richard Gama today.