Written by attorney Edward C. Hopkins Jr.

The Clock Could Be Ticking: Colorado Public Entity and Public Employee Notice of Claims Requirements

If a Colorado state, county, city, or university organization or contractor, through the acts or omissions of one its employees or agents, could be a defendant in your personal injury, premises liability, medical malpractice, or wrongful death claim, the clock could be ticking. If you fail to give Colorado public entities notice within 180 days that you will file a claim against them or their employees, your claim could be barred forever.

Colorado Revised Statues Section 24-10-109 provides:

(1) Any person claiming to have suffered an injury by a public entity or by an employee thereof while in the course of such employment, whether or not by a willful and wanton act or omission, shall file a written notice as provided in this section within one hundred eighty days after the date of the discovery of the injury, regardless of whether the person then knew all of the elements of a claim or of a cause of action for such injury. Compliance with the provisions of this section shall be a jurisdictional prerequisite to any action brought under the provisions of this article, and failure of compliance shall forever bar any such action.

(2) The notice shall contain the following:

(a) The name and address of the claimant and the name and address of his attorney, if any;

(b) A concise statement of the factual basis of the claim, including the date, time, place, and circumstances of the act, omission, or event complained of;

(c) The name and address of any public employee involved, if known;

(d) A concise statement of the nature and the extent of the injury claimed to have been suffered;

(e) A statement of the amount of monetary damages that is being requested.

(3) If the claim is against the state or an employee thereof, the notice shall be filed with the attorney general. If the claim is against any other public entity or an employee thereof, the notice shall be filed with the governing body of the public entity or the attorney representing the public entity. Such notice shall be effective upon mailing by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or upon personal service.

(4) When the claim is one for death by wrongful act or omission, the notice may be presented by the personal representative, surviving spouse, or next of kin of the deceased.

(5) Any action brought pursuant to this article shall be commenced within the time period provided for that type of action in articles 80 and 81 of title 13, C.R.S., relating to limitation of actions, or it shall be forever barred; except that, if compliance with the provisions of subsection (6) of this section would otherwise result in the barring of an action, such time period shall be extended by the time period required for compliance with the provisions of subsection (6) of this section.

(6) No action brought pursuant to this article shall be commenced until after the claimant who has filed timely notice pursuant to subsection (1) of this section has received notice from the public entity that the public entity has denied the claim or until after ninety days has passed following the filing of the notice of claim required by this section, whichever occurs first.

The date of the injury must be determined as well as whether any possible defendant was a Colorado government employee or agent who was on the job when he or she caused or failed to prevent the injury. With these two pieces of information, Colorado personal injury attorneys can establish whether or not a notice of claim must be filed and how much time is left before it will be due.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell whether or not the person responsible for causing an injury was a government employee or agent who was on the job. This is why it is very important that injured victims contact personal injury attorneys to discuss their rights and legal options soon after they have been injured due to another person's negligence or malice.

For example, a car accident victim might not realize that the person who crashed into them was a government employee driving across town on government business in an unmarked vehicle. A hospital patient might not realize that some of the hospital employees or independent contractors work under state, county, city, or university contracts. A person who slips and falls on a wet floor in a commercial building might not realize that a Colorado government agency leases space in the building and could be responsible for making sure its floors are safe or that reasonable warnings are placed in clear view.

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