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Children's Rights Advancing in Colorado Legislature

Western States Law, P.C. March 27, 2021

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard and passed SB21-061.The bill abolishes a rule that only permits parents to claim economic losses, when another person is liable. Instead, the bill allows a minor to file a claim for economic losses, such as medical bills or wages, which he or she incurred before turning 18 years old. Such a claim may be pursued by the minor, rather than just the parents, after the child turns 18 years of age.

There continues to be a statute of limitations for pursuing such claims. The statute of limitations is the deadline by which a lawsuit or settlement must be reached. Failure to act before the statute of limitations can result in the loss of a case or claim. In Coloraddo, the statute of limitations for automobile accidents is three years. The statute of limitations for premises liability, animal attacks, and medical malpractice claims is generally two years. 

The statute of limitations for minors is generally tolled during their minority. This means that the time for bringing a lawsuit by a minor child will not begin to run until they turn age eighteen. Upon turning eighteen years of age, the injured minor may pursue their own claim but must do so before the statute of limitations runs or expires. \\

For instance, a two-year-old is currently unable to pursue a claim for his medical expenses. Rather, the claim belongs to the parents. If the new law passes, the child can pursue his or her claim after turning eighteen years old. The statute of limitations will begin running on the minor's claim upon his or her eighteenth birthday and the deadline for the minor, now an adult, to file a suit will depend on the type of case.