Statute Of Limitations For Catastrophic Injury Lawsuits

A Lady Justice statue in front of a clock.

Catastrophic injury lawsuits are one type of personal injury case where injury victims can file to seek compensation from the at-fault party. Like all types of personal injury cases, catastrophic injury suits must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. Every state determines the time limit for lawsuits and whether there are exceptions to the statute of limitations that could apply.

Courts dismiss cases filed after the statute of limitations expires, leaving victims without the justice they seek. That’s why it’s crucial that you confirm the statute of limitations that applies and ensure you file your catastrophic injury case on time. 

Read Unthinkable by Kyle Bachus to learn how catastrophic accidents can change your life and how to navigate the legal process when seeking justice.

What is a catastrophic injury?

Catastrophic injuries are typically permanent injuries that have a lifelong impact on the victim. Examples of catastrophic injuries include the following:

  • Amputation
  • Disfiguration
  • Loss of sight or hearing
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)

Catastrophic injuries can also include severe damage to your nerves or organs. Catastrophic injuries typically involve permanent damage, leaving victims with scars or physical limitations that affect them for the rest of their lives.

What is Colorado’s statute of limitations for catastrophic injury lawsuits?

Colorado gives personal injury victims two years to file a lawsuit. The 24-month time limit applies to most catastrophic injury victims.

What are the exceptions to the statute of limitations in Colorado?

There are some scenarios where the statute of limitations doesn’t apply to catastrophic injury cases, including the following:

  • A Colorado state, county, city, or employee caused your injury: When you’re suing the state, a county or city in Colorado, or a state, county, or city employee, you have six months to file a notice
  • The at-fault party goes into hiding: If the at-fault party takes steps to conceal their identity or location after the accident and before they’re served legal paperwork, the time they spend avoiding detection does not count against the filing deadline
  • You were a minor without a legal representative when the injury occurred: Suppose you suffered a catastrophic injury in a car crash when you were 16. Your parents died in the crash. As a minor without a legal representative, the clock would stop for your case and not resume until you had a representative appointed to take legal action on your behalf or you turned 18.
  • You were injured in a car accident: The statute of limitations for car accidents is 36 months, giving you an additional year to file your case if an auto accident caused your catastrophic injuries
  • You were mentally incapacitated: Suppose the accident causing your injuries left you in a coma. Since you’re unable to make decisions while you’re in a coma, you can be considered mentally incapacitated.

What damages can you seek from a catastrophic injury lawsuit?

Catastrophic injury victims can seek monetary (economic) and non-monetary (non-economic) damages through a civil suit. You may seek punitive damages if the evidence, such as witness testimony or video footage, shows evidence of gross negligence. 

Economic damages are also called monetary damages because they’re based on expenses incurred because of your accident. These damages are calculated by adding up your accident-related expenses and can include compensation for the following:

  • Childcare costs
  • House cleaning bills
  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Personal care expenses
  • Property damage
  • Transportation costs

Non-economic damages are also called non-monetary damages because these costs don’t come with a price tag. Grounds for non-economic damages include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Loss of intimacy
  • Pain and suffering
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

How much compensation can you seek for pain and suffering in Colorado?

Although there is no limit to the amount you can seek for economic damages, Colorado limits the amount of compensation available for non-economic damages to $250,000. Consequently, no matter how many reasons you have to support your claim for non-economic damages, you will receive at most $250,000. 

How do we calculate pain and suffering in Colorado?

The standard way for determining a reasonable amount for pain and suffering involves multiplying your medical expenses. When insurance companies make this calculation, they select a multiplier of five or less. Higher multipliers are used for victims with more severe injuries. Someone paralyzed in an accident will have a higher multiplier than someone who broke their leg. The lowest multiplier used is 1.5.

How a catastrophic injury attorney can help

A catastrophic injury attorney at his desk filling out a contract agreement. Next to him is an open laptop, a gavel, and the scales of justice on top of a stack of books.

It’s natural to be in shock after an unexpected accident, and catastrophic injuries are life-changing. You may be struggling to complete routine tasks while coping with time-consuming and painful medical treatments for your injuries. The last thing you need to worry about is learning how to file and prepare a catastrophic injury lawsuit.

At Bachus & Schanker, our catastrophic injury lawyers understand that coping with a catastrophic injury is traumatic. We have a specialized team of Victim Advocates with legal and law enforcement experience. This team uses their experience to investigate your accident and find the evidence to build your case. 

Your consultation is free, and you only pay for legal fees when we win your case. In addition to gathering evidence, we’ll help you calculate the damages you seek, explain the pros and cons of structured settlements, negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and explain your options until you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact our catastrophic injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.


Bieber, C. (2023). What Is A Catastrophic Injury?

CRS 24-10-109. (2021). 

Goguen, D. (2023). What is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Colorado?

Majaski, C. (2022). Statute of Limitations: Definitions, Types, and Examples.

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