When a client comes to us after being injured due to someone else's negligence, we are often asked many of the same questions. Below are a few we hear most often.
Q: What is a personal injury statute of limitations?
A: This is the limit on the amount of time in which you must file your complaint, or you will be forever barred from pursuing your claim. This time usually starts when you know, or should have known, of your injury. In Colorado, the statute of limitations is two years for negligence, unless a motor vehicle was involved, in which case it is three years. The start date is not always easily ascertainable, so it is best to seek counsel as soon as possible. Another caveat is when a government entity is involved; your timeline for notice of the claim to that entity is only 180 days from the date of loss.
Q: How long will my case take?
A: Many claims that are clearcut and are solid on the question of liability are settled in a matter of months. This is especially true when the claim involves medical damages that are clearly and objectively established. However, other claims may take years before they settle, and may require the threat of or commencement of litigation before there is any forward traction in the case. Additionally, some cases do not settle at all.
Q: How will this affect my car insurance?
A: Some hesitate to file a claim with their car insurance company unless absolutely necessary because they fear that their rates automatically increase. This is not always the case. There are several factors involved in determining rate increases: the severity of the accident, if you were the at-fault driver, and your value to the company. Safe drivers are cheaper for car insurance companies to cover. If you have a long history of safe driving, you are less likely to see a hike in coverage rates.