Covering expenses after an accident can be daunting; there’s the whole process of filing a claim, adding up losses, and reaching a settlement.
However, Colorado has a set of laws that can potentially place limits on damages in your personal injury lawsuit. These laws often center around the types of damages in question, the time the accident took place, and cause of action.
Check out our article on the subject for a more comprehensive overview of these laws.
Types of damages
While economic damages (those that cover medical expenses and other verifiable losses) are not capped under Colorado law, non-economic damages (like pain and suffering) can be.
The state of Colorado follows a law that states that non-economic damages can only reach $250,000 unless there is significant evidence to suggest it should be higher. Even in that case, non-economic damages can never be awarded over $500,000.
Time of accident
Depending on what year your accident took place in, your non-economic damage cap can vary. In 2007, Colorado decided to adjust its non-economic damage cap to account for inflation over the years. Here’s what the numbers look like:
- $250,000 or $500,000 for accidents occurring before January 1, 1998
- $366,250 or $732,500 for accidents occurring from January 1, 1998 to January 1, 2008
- $468,010 or $936,030 for accidents occurring after January 1, 2008
As discussed above, and in our longer article, “in order to justify the double amount of the award for non-economic damages, the court must have clear and convincing evidence.”
Cause of action
Causes of action are defined as certain circumstances for personal injury lawsuits that determine damage caps.
For example, medical malpractice cases must adhere to a non-economic damage cap of $300,000 and a total damage cap (economic and non-economic) of $1 million. Nolo has a nice explanation of this law.
Additionally, dram shop cases (businesses selling alcohol to the impaired or minors) have a maximum damage cap of $280,810.
Speaking to a personal injury attorney can help when dealing with damage caps and other inhibitions to your case. Check out this article to see several instances that may warrant hiring a lawyer.