Statute of Limitations for a Colorado Personal Injury Claim

Posted On March 8, 2024 / By Manning Law / Personal Injury

In every state, a law called the statute of limitations places a strict deadline on an accident victim’s right to file a personal injury claim. In Colorado, the civil statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years, or three years for a motor vehicle accident. However, various circumstances can shorten or extend the filing time limit.

What Is the Deadline to File a Personal Injury Claim in Colorado? 

Colorado’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases is located in Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) Section 13-80-102. This law states:

  • The following civil actions, regardless of the theory upon which suit is brought, or against whom suit is brought, must be commenced within two years after the cause of action accrues, and not thereafter:
  • Tort actions, including but not limited to actions for negligence, trespass, malicious abuse of process, malicious prosecution, outrageous conduct, interference with relationships, and tortious breach of contract; except that this paragraph (a) does not apply to any tort action arising out of the use or operation of a motor vehicle as set forth in section 13-80-101(1)(n).

Under this law, most personal injury cases must be brought within two years of the date that the accident or injury occurs. However, a claim brought for a motor vehicle accident has a statute of limitations of three years under CRS § 13-80-101.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

The majority of personal injury claims in Colorado must be filed within two or three years, or else they will be time-barred, meaning the courts will not permit the case to proceed. However, there are some exceptions for unique circumstances:

  • The discovery rule: the statute of limitations can be tolled, or paused, until the date that the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered with due diligence that he or she was injured.
  • Injury to a minor: if the accident victim is a child under the age of 18, the statute of limitations on a personal injury case will be tolled until the victim’s 18th birthday, giving him or her until age 20 or 21 to file a claim, even if this is more than two or three years from the accident.
  • Government liability: if a personal injury claim needs to be brought against a government entity, such as a local government agency for a road defect that caused a car accident, the statute of limitations is shortened to 182 days.

Various exceptions to Colorado’s personal injury statute of limitations make it critical to consult with an injury attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will help you file a claim within your specific time limit.

Criminal vs. Civil Statutes of Limitations

In Colorado, the criminal and civil justice systems have separate laws, including statutes of limitations. Prosecutors in Colorado have their own time limits on the ability to bring criminal charges against defendants.

For example, a criminal charge for misdemeanor driving under the influence must be filed against a suspect within one year of the alleged crime. If a drunk driving accident victim wished to file a personal injury claim against the same driver, he or she would generally have three years from the date of the accident to do so. In some cases, the courts toll the statute of limitations until the date that a criminal case against the defendant has ended.

If you believe you have grounds to file a personal injury claim in Colorado, contact a Denver personal injury attorney at Manning Law without delay for a free case review. If your case has merit, our attorneys can help you file the required paperwork to initiate a claim by the statute of limitations.