Many new clients have questions about the statute of limitations and how it applies to their specific case. In the realm of personal injury law, the statute of limitations is a crucial concept that determines the time frame within which an injured party can file a legal claim against the responsible individual or entity. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for car accident or truck accident cases is three years from the date of the crash. However, if the crash results in a death, the statute of limitations is only two years. The statute of limitations for most other personal injury cases typically stands at two years from the date of the injury. There are certain exceptions and nuances that a competent lawyer should explain to you when seeking a consultation. Here are some of the exceptions you should know about:
The Two-Year Rule
For most general personal injury cases, including slip or trip and falls, ski collisions, dog bites, and other non-automobile-related incidents, the two-year statute of limitations applies. This means that if you suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you have two years to initiate legal action against them. Failure to file a lawsuit within this timeframe could result in your claim being dismissed.
Exceptions to the Two-Year Rule
While the two-year rule is the standard, there are a few exceptions that extend the deadline for filing a personal injury claim. These exceptions include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents: For car accidents, the statute of limitations extends to three years from the date of the accident. This is due to the complex nature of car accident cases and the potential for injuries to manifest or worsen over time.
Discovery of Injury: In some cases, the injured party may not immediately realize the extent or severity of their injuries. In such instances, your lawyer could argue that statute of limitations begins to run from the date the injury is discovered or should have been reasonably discovered through medical attention or investigation.
Minors: If the injured party is a minor at the time of the incident, the statute of limitations is tolled, meaning it is paused until the minor reaches the age of 18. This provides ample time for the minor to reach adulthood and seek legal counsel.
Extending the Statute of Limitations
Under certain circumstances, the statute of limitations may be extended beyond the standard two-year or three-year timeframe. These circumstances often involve situations where the defendant has engaged in fraudulent concealment or intentionally misled the injured party about the cause or extent of their injuries.
The Importance of Timely Filing
Adhering to the statute of limitations is crucial for preserving your legal rights in a personal injury case. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the prescribed time frame, your claim could be barred from court, effectively preventing you from seeking compensation for your damages.
Navigating the complexities of personal injury law and understanding the intricacies of the statute of limitations can be challenging. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can provide you with valuable guidance and ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney can assess your case, determine the appropriate statute of limitations, and help you file your claim within the proper timeframe.
Remember, time is of the essence when dealing with personal injury claims. If you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel promptly. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal options, protect your rights, and pursue the compensation you deserve.