Noneconomic Damages in Colorado
Noneconomic damages in Colorado are a class of damages that may be awarded in an injury case. Also referred to a general damages, noneconomic damages relate to reductions in quality of life resulting from injuries.
Noneconomic loss or injury is defined as follows:
Nonpecuniary harm for which damages are recoverable by the person suffering the direct or primary loss or injury, including pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional stress, physical impairment or disfigurement, and impairment of the quality of life.
In Colorado, non-economic damages include compensation for the following:
- Loss of Consortium: this relates to the injured persons ability to fully enjoy the physical pleasures of their marriage. The spouse of the injured party can also claim this loss.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: this is the natural enjoyment and pleasure in being alive.
- Mental anguish: The loss of independence or changes in personality that can result from traumatic brain injuries can create immense stress on injury victims.
- Pain and suffering: Many times an accident can leave the victim suffering from some sort of pain for the rest of their life.
- Physical impairment or disfigurement: sometimes accidents cause serious injuries like the loss or use of a limb.
Calculating Non-Economic Damages in Colorado
Unlike Economic Damages, non-economic damages in Colorado can be difficult to value, calculate, and prove to a jury. There is not a simple formula that can be presented like expenses related to medical bills or property damage claims (e.g. how much did car repairs cost).
Generally, experts can be used to value a claim for non-economic damages. But presenting testimony and supporting evidence related to a diminished quality of life can help support the award of non-economic damages. But Colorado limits the jury awarding this type of damage.
Damage Caps on Non-Economic Damages in Colorado
Some states limit the recovery of non-economic damages. Colorado, unfortunately, is one of those states. Colorado caps damages for non-econmic losses.
Colorado’s damage caps were last adjusted in 2008. The caps have not kept up with inflation. But there is currently a measure working through the Colorado Legislature to adjust the caps for inflation.
Pursuant to State law, Colorado’s 2008 limit to recoverable non-economic damages is $468,010. A court can increase that to a maximum of $936,030. But the court must find there is evidence to justify the increase.
Why Should You Hire an Experienced Trial Lawyer?
Hiring a dedicated trial lawyer that has experience in handling injury cases is the most important decision you may ever make. You generally only get one shot at recovery if you have been injured in an accident. Additionally, a trial lawyer with the experience in handling non-economic damages can present favorable evidence and testimony that will maximize your potential recovery with a jury.
If you have suffered injuries as the result of an accident that was not your fault, Contact me immediately so we can discuss your options.
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