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Are There Limits on Damages in a Colorado Personal Injury Case?

Posted on in Personal Injury

Fort Collins personal injury attorneyWhen you think of the effects of a serious accident, such as a car crash, physical injuries like broken bones, lacerations, bruises, and head or back trauma may be the first things that come to mind. However, severe accidents can also affect the lives of injury victims in other, less tangible ways. As such, victims are often eligible to recover non-economic damages in addition to compensation for their medical expenses when they pursue a personal injury claim. Appropriate dollar values for non-economic damages can be difficult to determine, and they can also be limited by statutory caps under Colorado law.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages compensate for things like the victim’s pain and suffering, stress and anxiety, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. Determining a monetary award for these types of injuries can be very challenging for all parties involved. While the injuries may certainly be very serious, there are many factors that jurors will likely consider when trying to determine adequate compensation for the victim, some of which include:

  • The severity of the injury and the extent to which it interferes with the victim’s life

  • The approximate recovery time

  • The victim’s age, profession, and activity level

  • The extent to which the defendant is clearly liable for the injury and how much responsibility may fall on the injured party

Explaining Capped Damages

In most cases, Colorado does not place a cap on the economic damages an injury victim can recover; however, there are typically limitations on the amount of non-economic damages someone can receive. The existing caps depend on the type and extent of damages, the cause of the accident, and the defendant’s identity.

The state of Colorado passed a law in 1986 that limited recoverable non-economic damages to a cap of $250,000, or $500,000 if sufficient evidence is provided that warrants an increase. Because this law has allowed for inflationary adjustments over time, the cap for non-economic damages today is much higher. As of 2020, the general cap for non-economic damages is $613,760, with a possible increase of up to $1,227,530.

Some types of cases have their own specific caps for non-economic damages. For example, in a wrongful death case, the limit is currently $571,870. In a dram shop case involving liability for serving alcohol, total damages, including both economic and non-economic, are currently capped at $368,260.

Contact Our Fort Collins Personal Injury Attorneys Today

The pain and suffering sustained from severe accidents often lead to subjective decision-making in the courtroom. With this in mind, victims should come prepared to prove their emotional distress with an ample amount of evidence. Examples of evidence they could use to support their claims include journal accounts, correspondence with friends and family, and photographs depicting the victim’s life.

An experienced personal injury attorney will not only be able to help you collect such evidence, but they can also help you secure the maximum possible amount of damages for your case. Our Larimer County personal injury attorneys can help injured victims put their lives back on track and hold liable parties accountable. Contact Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. today to schedule your free consultation by calling 970-225-2190.

 

Sources:

https://centerjd.org/content/fact-sheet-caps-compensatory-damages-state-law-summary

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/colorado-increases-damages-caps-effective-january-1-2020-and-every-two-years

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

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Fort Collins, CO 80524

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