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Colorado Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in Colorado is two (2) years (Ref: Colo. Rev. Stat. Sec. 13-80-102). 

What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within two years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within two years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration, or trial. 

Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the Colorado Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to a Colorado personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in Colorado

There are some variations & exceptions to the 2 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Colorado. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law.  

  • If the injured person is mentally incompetent, or under the age of 18 at the time of the underlying accident, and he or she has no legal representative, the statute of limitations "clock" may "toll" (stop running) until the period of legal disability is over (meaning the injured person turns 18 or has their mental competence restored). But keep in mind that if there is a legal representative who can file the lawsuit on behalf of the injured person, there will likely be no change to the filing deadline. 
  • If at some point after the underlying accident, but before the lawsuit can be filed, the potential defendant (the person responsible for the underlying accident) "departs from" or "conceals himself" within the state of Colorado, and can't be served with the lawsuit, the time of absence or concealment probably won't be counted as part of the two- or three-year filing period (the "clock" won't run during this time, in other words).

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the Colorado statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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