In any civil case, the statute of limitations is your deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. The time limit varies depending on the circumstances, but the clock usually starts running the day you are injured. If you file your lawsuit too late, it will almost certainly be dismissed.
Can I File My Case After the Statute of Limitations Has Passed?
Some cases qualify for an extension beyond the standard statute of limitations. Victims may receive an extension if they do not discover their injury, or the role the defendant played in their injury, until after the deadline has passed. This is known as the “discovery rule.”
If the negligent party leaves the state, most states allow victims to “stop the clock” until they return. Victims can also request an extension if the defendant is a minor, disabled or mentally ill.
On July 1, the Colorado legislature voted to extend the statute of limitations for hit-and-run vehicular homicide cases. Now, hit-and-run drivers can be prosecuted up to 10 years after the accident occurred.
In civil cases of wrongful death involving vehicular homicide, the statute of limitations was doubled from two years to four years. The extension only applies to cases where the driver fled the scene of the accident.
Legislators are hoping that the new laws will increase the rate of successful hit-and-run prosecutions, while discouraging drivers from fleeing the scene. One lawmaker believed the new bill would help victims’ families “feel more confident that the crime against their loved one will not go unsolved.”
When reckless drivers flee the scene, they risk turning an injury into a fatality by delaying medical care for the victim. These drivers need to be held accountable, because their behavior threatens people’s lives, but prosecution can be difficult.
Without strong evidence or a cooperative witness, investigations go cold quickly. With the new statute of limitations, police and the victim’s family have more time to gather evidence and bring these criminals to justice.
If your loved one was killed by another person’s negligence, Metier Law Firm can help you get justice. Even in the absence of a criminal conviction, a civil lawsuit can hold reckless drivers responsible for their crimes. Time is always a crucial factor, so schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.
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