Statutory caps on damages set limits on the maximum amount of financial compensation that an injured victim can collect from a defendant during a civil lawsuit. Also commonly referred to as damages, compensation is uncapped or without limitations in some states, but there are specific damage caps or limitations on damages in Colorado.
The statutory cap on damages from a variety of incidents has recently been raised in Colorado after Senate Bill 19-109 was signed into law in April 2019 and came into effect on January 1st, 2020. It intends to account for the effects of inflation and allows for the cap on damages to be adjusted in accordance every two years in perpetuity. The first increase in cap damages in Colorado occurred on January 1st, 2020, and the second on January 1st, 2022. The next increase will occur on January 1st, 2024.
Colorado Senate Bill 19-109 initially increased statutory damages for noneconomic loss or injuries, damages recoverable from dramshop claims and wrongful death claims, and solatium damages. The maximum damage cap for all of these cases was raised in 2020. However, on January 1st, 2022, only the cap on damages from noneconomic loss or injury and solatium damages increased. The cap on damages for dramshop claims and wrongful death claims remained unchanged from the amount set in 2020, and it is currently unclear whether or not they will be increased or not in 2024.
Noneconomic loss or injury and solarium damages that occurred between January 1st, 2022, and January 1st, 2024, are different. Noneconomic loss or injury claims have a cap of $642,180, but compensation can be increased to a maximum of $1,284,370 by the Court should clear and convincing evidence be provided and established in the case. Solatium damages have a cap of $119,660. Considering these caps were adjusted in both 2020 and 2022, we expect them to be raised again come January 1st, 2024.
As previously mentioned, the increase in cap damages in Colorado that occurred on January 1st, 2022, did not affect the cap on dramshop claims and wrongful death claims. The current cap for dramshop claims is $368,260, and the cap for wrongful death actions is $571,870. Exceptions are noted for incidents involving what is commonly referred to as an accident involving a felonious killing. This topic will be discussed further and in great detail in a future blog posting.
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These changing cap damages in Colorado impact plaintiffs, defendants, and insurance companies and specific cases can be affected by these and many other laws differently, so it is best to contact an experienced lawyer to find out how they may affect your case. Curious how the upcoming 2024 damage changes, increases, and limitations could affect your claim? Contact Whalen Injury Lawyers today!