You have a legal right to seek compensation after a car accident in Colorado, if that accident was the result of another person’s negligence.
This compensation can be economic, such as medical expenses, or it can be non-economic such as pain and suffering.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Of course, the damages you can seek in your personal injury case will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your car accident, however there are essentially two types of damages:
- When you lose money as a result of your injuries (medical expenses for treatment of your injuries, lost wages because you cannot return to work due to your injuries, or lost future earnings if you cannot return to work for a very long time—or ever) these are known as economic damages.
- Injuries which are harder to quantify are those which have affected your life, but are not injuries a doctor can actually see. These are known as non-economic damages, and include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in your life. Suppose your face is disfigured during an accident caused by the negligence of another. The cost of the actual surgical procedures are economic damages, but if you are unable to leave your house because of the emotional issues tied to the disfigurement, then those would be non-economic damages.
Damage caps are used in some states to limit the amount of compensation an injured person can receive.
In particular, the amount of non-economic damages (pain and suffering and other negative effects of an injury which can be difficult to quantify) can be limited.
The state of Colorado caps these non-economic damages at $250,000, or $500,000 if there is “clear and convincing” evidence which will justify such an increase.
Because this law was passed in 1986, and allowed inflation adjustments, as of 2014, those numbers were $540,000 and $1,080,000.
The state also places a $300,000 cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases, and an overall $1 million cap for medical malpractice total damages.
Statutes of Limitations for Colorado Personal Injury Cases
In order to collect compensation after a car accident in Colorado however, you need to be sure you file your claim before the deadline.
The statutes of limitations limit the time in which a person may bring a personal injury case.
The state of Colorado allows two years from the time the injury occurred to bring a claim for damages.
If the case is not filed within that two-year period, the plaintiff could be barred from bringing a lawsuit at all.
There are certain instances in which an injured person might not be able to tell right away that they suffered an injury.
In such a case, the two-year statute of limitations might begin from the date the injury is discovered, rather than the date of the accident.
Working with an attorney can help ensure that you meet all of your important deadlines, and better position you to receive the appropriate compensation.