Colorado Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations: The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury – 2 years (3 years for auto accidents) from the date you discover the injury.
- Damage to Personal Property – 3 years
- Medical malpractice – 2 years from the date of discovery; but in no case more than 3 years from the act giving rise to the injury
- Legal malpractice – 2 years
- Other professional malpractice – 2 years
Where to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $7,500 – Colorado Small Claims Court
- Personal injury claims from $7,500 to $10,000 – Colorado County Court
- Personal injury claims over $10,000 – Colorado District Court
How to Sue:
Small Claims Court:
- Forms: In Colorado, you must file a “Notice, Claim, and
Summons to Appear at Trial” (From JDF 250)
- Where to file: Where the defendant resides, works, has an office, attends school, or where the injury occurred.
- How to notify the defendant (service): Certified or registered mail return receipt requested with copy of a Colorado Notice, Claim and Summons to Appear at Trial. Alternatively, a sheriff, private process server, or disinterested person (not a party) over age 18 may serve the defendant. The defendant must be served at least 15 days before the trial date.
- Proving the defendant was notified: Either the plaintiff should file the registered mail card proving service with the clerk of the court, or the process server or sheriff should sign and file an
Affidavit of Service with the appropriate court clerk
- Attorneys: Lawyer representation at the trial is not allowed in Colorado Small Claims Court.
- Appealing a small claim: Colorado allows appeals on rules of law, not facts from Colorado Small Claims Court to Colorado District Court within 15 days of the judgment.
Colorado District Court: Contact an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney for help. Personal injury suits require specialized knowledge of law and procedures of the court. Problems with the forms or way in which you file or follow procedure could result in the dismissal of your claim.
District Court Civil Summons (Form JDF 600)
- How to File: Complete the District Court Civil Summons. File a complaint with the Colorado District Court. Have the complaint and summons served on the defendant by a private process server or the sheriff.
- How to Notify the Defendant: A private process server or sheriff must give the stamped forms to the defendant personally, sign the service of process and file a copy with the clerk of the appropriate Colorado District Court.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Time to respond to a Summons in Colorado: 20 days.
- Immediately seek the advice of an attorney.
- Inform your insurance company if your injury is connected with an incident that took place at your home or business. If you are covered for your claim, your insurance company will appoint an attorney for you.
What to Do if a Judgment Was Entered Against You:
In Colorado, if you do not respond within 20 days to a summons and complaint, a default judgment will be entered against you. This means that the plaintiff wins the suit, and you will have to pay the amount the plaintiff seeks in damages.
- Time to Set Aside a Judgment in Colorado:
- A Colorado court may set aside a judgment for mistake, surprise, fraud, because the defendant was not properly served, or because the judgment was void within a reasonable time, but not more than 6 months after the date of judgment.
- A Colorado court may set aside a judgment for clerical errors at any time.
- Seek the advice of an attorney if a default judgment has been entered against you
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
- If you are successful in your Colorado personal injury lawsuit, you must collect your judgment by serving a demand letter on the defendant.
- If the defendant does not pay the judgment, you may serve a Writ of Garnishment on the defendant, or file a Writ of Execution with a constable to place a levy on the defendant’s personal property.
- Obtain aid from a Colorado debt collection attorney to collect your judgment.