The statutes of limitations refer to the window of time after an accident when an individual can file a claim for damages. These statutes vary widely across the United States, from one year, all the way to twelve years in individual states. Generally speaking, if you miss this window of opportunity, you will be barred from obtaining a settlement that would pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In the state of Colorado, the statute for a car accident is two years, while the statute for other types of personal injury claims is two years. Claims that involve a federal, state, county, or city agency will have a shorter time frame of 180 days.
Exception #1: The Discovery Rule
While the statutes of limitations are virtually set in stone, there are certain exceptions that would allow you to file a claim for damages after the statutes have expired. The first exception to the Colorado statutes of limitations is known as the discovery rule. According to this rule, it may not always be possible for an injured individual to identify the exact source of an injury until months or even years after the occurrence of the injury.
As an example, suppose you have been taking a prescription drug for years and develop a disease or condition as a result. You may not have known that the prescription drug was dangerous until new information surfaced, and you could definitively tie your diagnosis to the drug.
The discovery rule means a plaintiff can file a claim for damages within a specific amount of time from when their injury was discovered—or when the injury reasonably should have been discovered. Not all civil injuries fall under the discovery rule; in some cases, the time you have to file a post-discovery claim can be very limited.
Exception #2: Tolling
Tolling is another potential exception to the Colorado statutes of limitations. Sometimes, circumstances that are beyond your control—or the control of any plaintiff—could prevent a claim from going forward. If this is the case, a claim may be “tolled,” until the circumstances are dealt with. Some of the more common reasons the statutes of limitations may be tolled include:
- An accident victim that was a minor at the time of the accident with injuries
- A foreign object that is found to be remaining in the body of the victim
- Bankruptcy filing on the part of the defendant
- The victim of an injury was not mentally competent following the accident to bring a claim
Regardless of why your claim exceeded the statute of limitations, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Colorado injury attorney who can help you determine whether you can still file a claim for your injuries.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Car Accident Law Firm Today
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in an accident and you are worried you missed the statute of limitations, we can help. Let us evaluate your claim and explore all your legal options. Contact the Green Law Firm, P.C. today by calling (719) 694-8515, or by filling out the contact form on this page, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and discuss your case.