How Long After a Car Accident Can You File a Lawsuit?

Categories: Vehicle Accidents

lawsuit paperwork

Car Accident Lawyer Explains CO’s Statute of Limitations on Car Wrecks

Immediately after a car accident, your injuries may not be apparent, or you may even assume that you are fine. While it is always best to file a lawsuit as soon as possible, there are instances when accident victims do not decide to take their issue to court until a year or more post-accident.

It is important to understand the statute of limitations in these types of situations. While you do have time allotted to you by the statutes, it is not indefinite; therefore, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney as soon as possible following your accident. An attorney can help you preserve evidence, and ensure that your claim is filed in accordance with the law.

The Civil Statute of Limitations

Every state features a statute of limitations. This is a designated amount of time that a plaintiff has to file the lawsuit with Colorado civil courts. Colorado has specific timeframes for different types of suits, and the following apply to accident claims:

  • Auto Accident Cases – Up to three years from the date of the accident.
  • Injury to Personal Property – Up to three years, if damage involved a motor vehicle.

The Discovery Rule

Statutes dictate when the clock starts on your case. However, there is a discovery rule in place to prevent plaintiffs from being barred on lawsuits simply because they did not discover the injury until later. In most car accident claims, the discovery rule does not apply – because typically, car accident injuries are apparent almost immediately (if not within a few weeks of the incident).

However, Colorado does have a tolling rule in the statutes. If you suffer an injury, but you do not discover the injury until four years past the accident date, Colorado’s tolling rule takes over. This extends the deadline from the date when you discovered the injury.

Statute of Limitations Does Not Apply to Government Agencies

If your accident involves a government agency or vehicle, however, the statute of limitations does not have the same rules. Instead, you must provide a formal notice to that branch of government, identifying your potential claim against it, the reason for the claim, and the amount sought.

Each city has its own rules for how long you must file a claim against a government agency; therefore, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney.

Speak to a Car Accident Attorney in Colorado Now

If you suffered a serious injury in a car accident, contact a Colorado personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can review the facts of your case, assess the injuries and damages that you have suffered, and help determine when to file and where.

The sooner that you contact an attorney after the accident, the more likely you are to receive maximum compensation. So, contact Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C. for a free consultation at 970-704-0888 or request more information online today.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.