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What Is a Damage Cap, and How Does It Affect Your Colorado Injury Case?
Colorado is one of many states that has a limit on the amount of money an injured party receives after a jury finds someone guilty of negligence. In other words, despite the amount of damages a jury determines to be fair and reasonable, Colorado law has limits in place that may preclude the injured party from receiving full and fair compensation.
The insurance companies have fought hard to keep the damage caps as low as possible. The argument the insurance companies pretend to assert is that a multimillion-dollar verdict will force insurers to raise insurance premiums for everyone to cover the loss. Medical malpractice insurers further claim that high verdicts will drive up medical costs and threaten our physicians’ livelihoods as the cost of practicing medicine will be too high. So, even though the injured party suffers horrific damages at the hands of a negligent driver or physician, he or she may never be made whole again due to Colorado’s caps on damages. One of the top priorities of the Colorado Trial Lawyer’s Association (CTLA) has been to remove the caps completely so all victims are fairly and fully compensated. While the CTLA has not yet achieved this goal, we are making progress. This past April, Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 19-1901 into law. This bill raises the current Colorado damage caps for noneconomic damages and wrongful death. Current noneconomic damages for pain and suffering are capped at $468,010. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the anticipated new cap adjusted for inflation will be $584,210 for noneconomic damages and $584,210 for wrongful death claims with adjustments for inflation every two years. For nearly 20 years, we’ve fought hard to ensure that every client is fairly compensated for the life-altering injuries flowing from an act of negligence. We’ll continue to push for the elimination of all damage caps. Because noneconomic damages are difficult to calculate, contact an experienced personal injury attorney before agreeing to any settlement offer from an insurance company.
Damages are divided into two categories: economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages include your actual, quantifiable losses for things like medical bills and lost earnings. Noneconomic damages are intended to compensate the injured party for losses that are hard to quantify, like pain and suffering and emotional distress. Fortunately, there is no cap on economic damages for personal injury losses in Colorado. However, there is a limit on the maximum amount you can recover for noneconomic damages. Sadly, we’ve witnessed some very tragic circumstances where the noneconomic damage cap has unfairly limited our client’s recovery.
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