Between 2016 and 2017, the Colorado State Patrol saw car accidents decrease slightly. The number of all crashes reported to their agency decreased from 27,187 to 26,978. While this is fantastic news, crashes still happen. Fatal crashes increased by 12.3%. Overall, the Colorado DOT and the state patrol both report fatalities have increased. Crashes can happen at any time, so it’s best to understand your rights and requirements.
What do you do if you’re in a car crash in Colorado? If you were a victim in a car accident, you need to understand your rights. One of the things you should know is how long you have to file a claim for injuries received during that crash.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Colorado?
The Colorado Revised Statutes 13-80-101 states you have two years for many personal injuries, such as negligence or slip and fall cases. However, this increases to three years when personal injury is the result of an automotive accident. However like any law, there are always exceptions, which is why consulting with a qualified personal injury lawyer is critical.
There are a few exceptions to this. Let’s say you were in a car crash with a drunk driver. Years later, you’re having issues with your health. Tests find a surgical sponge was left behind and it’s now causing issues. The statute of limitations starts when that health issue is discovered.
The second exception comes into play if your crash was with a government vehicle. In that case, you have 180 days from the date of the injuries to file your complaint.
If the car accident caused serious issues with cognitive or mental abilities, the process of tolling is used to delay the lawsuit. The statute of limitations is paused to allow time for the plaintiff to regain the mental skills needed. Tolling is also used if the defendant is in a severe financial crisis and suing at that point would be futile.
If the person filing the complaint is a minor, the statute of limitations shifts until that minor reaches the age of 18 for most personal injury claims. For car accidents, the minor will be 21 before the lawsuit is filed.
Other Important Laws Regarding Vehicle Crashes in Colorado
If you’re in an accident, you are required by law (42-4-1602) to stop your car, get off the roadway if possible, and remain at the scene. You have to share your name, contact information, and registration information. If you hit a car that is parked or unattended, you must leave your contact information on the car or locate the person whose car you hit. If you hit something like a traffic light post or street sign, you should notify the town or city. If someone hits you, they should leave information. If they don’t, contact the police.
Colorado allows you to file accident reports online if a police officer did not come to the accident scene. You should contact the policy if the accident led to an injury or property damage. If you must file the accident report this way, you need to have the other driver’s information. This includes his/her name, phone contact, and insurance information.
Many accidents will involve an officer coming to the scene. In this case, the officer will file the reports for you. If you receive a letter from the Department of Revenue, the instructions regarding what you need to do will be in that letter. Make sure you complete those steps as quickly as possible.
You can get a copy of the accident report by filling out a Requester Release and Affidavit of Intended Use and the required fee. The Department of Revenue keeps accident reports on file for seven years. It can take up to 90 days for this information to arrive.
Take These Steps After an Accident
When you’re in a car accident, stop, call the police, and stay in your car if possible. You may feel okay, but adrenaline is rushing through your veins. It can mask pain. You don’t want to move if there is a chance you’ve suffered damage to the neck or spine. It could be catastrophic if you got up and further injured the spine. Let an EMT check you out at the scene. Go to the hospital if there are injuries.
Get photos if you can. If you’re unable, ask a passenger or witness to the crash to do it for you. Get the name and information for the other driver. After you’ve been seen by doctors, call your insurance company and get a claim started. Eventually, either your or the other driver’s insurance company will provide a settlement amount. Don’t agree without consulting a lawyer.
It’s time for a free consultation. It costs nothing to find out if you have a valid complaint. Don’t let the stress wear you down. Call Jordan Law at (303) 647-3029 to discuss your accident. If chat is easier, click the green chat button and speak to an attorney 24/7.