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Compensatory Damages in Colorado Personal Injury Cases

Posted on April 14, 2021 in

If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. There are various types of compensation that may be available to injury victims in Colorado. This includes compensatory damages, which are also known as special damages and general damages. Here, we want to define these damages as well as briefly discuss how special damages differ from general damages in a personal injury case in Colorado.

What are Compensatory Damages in a Colorado Personal Injury Case?

As we mentioned above, there are two types of compensatory damages. Here, we want to discuss special damages, or economic damages. These differentiate from non-economic damages, and we will discuss those in a moment. Compensatory damages revolve around the types of losses that are relatively easy to calculate in the aftermath of a person sustaining an injury. That is because a victim and their attorney will be able to gather up bills, receipts, and pay stubs to prove the losses that have occurred. Some of the most common types of compensatory damages awarded in Colorado include the following:

  • Full coverage of medical bills related to the incident
  • Coverage of any physical therapy or rehabilitation needed
  • The cost of medical devices or prescription medications
  • Lost income if a victim cannot work
  • General household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Property damage expenses (if applicable)

What are General Damages?

General damages are also referred to as non-economic damages, and these are not the typical out-of-pocket expenses that a person sustains after an injury occurs. These are often referred to as the pain and suffering that a person endures due to the injuries. These damages are not as easily calculable because there are no bills or receipts that can be added up. Some of the most common types of general damages awarded in a Colorado personal injury case include the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium for a spouse

Properly calculating general damages in the aftermath of a Colorado personal injury will involve showing how the injury has affected the victim’s day-to-day life. This could include statements from family members or friends, testimony from the victims themselves, medical records from physicians or psychologists, and more.

How Much Compensation is Available?

There is no set amount of money available for compensatory damages in the aftermath of an injury in Colorado. Rather, the facts and circumstances of each particular situation will guide how much insurance carriers pay or how much a jury awards. Some of the factors that can affect the total economic damages awarded in these cases include:

  • The severity of the injury
  • The length of recovery time
  • Whether or not physical therapy or rehabilitation is needed
  • Whether or not a victim can work while they recover
  • Total property damage losses, if any
  • Whether there was any shared fault for the incident

In Colorado, there are no limitations on the amount of economic damages that can be awarded in a personal injury case. Colorado does currently have damage caps in place for non-economic damages. This includes $250,000 (adjusted for inflation) for most types of pain and suffering damages. For cases where there is clear and convincing evidence against the at-fault party, this damage cap is increased to $500,000 (adjusted for inflation). If there is a permanent physical impairment, there is no cap in place for non-economic damages.