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What Are the Types of Damages for Personal Injury Cases in Colorado?

Posted by Michael P. Kane | May 06, 2024 | 0 Comments

Another question we get quite often from potential clients: I'm hurt and need to bring a personal injury claim in Colorado, what kind of damages can I recover? Most people know they can recover their medical bills for the treatment they've had. And the insurance companies try to appear reasonable by telling claimants their "medical bills will be covered". But what about the pain, inconvenience, emotional distress and permanent injuries people suffer? This post discusses the various types, or categories, of damages a personal injury plaintiff can recover.

Economic. This category obviously includes medical bills but also includes other economic losses as well. For example, if you miss work because you're in the hospital or can't physically do your job requirements due to your injuries, you can and should get compensated for those economic losses. Also, if you can't return to the job you previously had because of the injuries, you're entitled to claim a loss of earning capacity damage. 

How are economic damages calculated in Colorado? Skilled personal injury attorneys will hire an expert economist and/or medical billing expert to calculate the total economic losses you've suffered. You may also get evaluated by a vocational rehabilitation expert to determine what jobs you can do now based on your injuries, educational and work background.  

Non-economic. These damages are what people typically refer to as "pain and suffering" damages in Colorado. This includes pain (obviously), mental anguish, emotional distress and inconvenience. Currently, there is a "cap" or limit on what plaintiffs can recover for non-economic damages. No matter how horrible the injuries are, the maximum a plaintiff can recover is $642,180 - which can be doubled by the judge after a jury trial based on clear and convincing evidence. (Wrongful death cases in Colorado have a different cap which will be discussed in an upcoming blog post).

Physical Impairment. These damages are uncapped in Colorado, meaning a jury can allow as high a verdict as they see fit. There is no legal definition for physical impairment damages in Colorado but they typically include activities someone can no longer do because of their injuries or they can do the activities but it comes with a price. We explain impairment damages to juries as how you function vs. non-economic damages are how you feel.

There is both art and science behind effectively presenting personal injury damages to juries in Colorado. We recommend consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney or law firm to ensure your rights are protected and you don't leave any money on the table. If you have any questions, please contact Kane Trial Law at 303-919-7777 for a free consultation. 

About the Author

Michael P. Kane

Mike Kane is a Colorado personal injury attorney specializing in car accidents, truck accidents and catastrophic personal injury litigation. He also represents victims of sexual assault against institutions and individuals. Mr. Kane, a third-generation lawyer and Colorado native, is a former US Marine who served a tour in support of Operation I...

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