Colorado Increases Damages Caps in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Jerry Bowman, Owner and Managing Attorney

June 14, 2024
Colorado Increases Damages Caps in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

On June 3, 2024, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law House Bill 24-1472, which increases the cap on non-economic damages, wrongful death damages, and medical malpractice damages. Previously, injured parties who could not reach a resolution with the at-fault party faced an uphill battle when seeking justice because of caps. The limitations not only frustrated deserving parties, but also undermine the very concept of air recompense for victims and their families. In this article, the wrongful death attorneys at Bowman Law discuss the upcoming changes to Colorado law.

The Old: Colorado Caps on Non-Economic Damages and in Wrongful Death Cases

Non-economic damages encompass intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages, often referred to as pain and suffering damages, often have the most profound and enduring effects, yet Colorado lawmakers have historically limited the amount of compensation a personal injury victim could receive at trial. By placing a predetermined limit on non-economic damages, the law fails to acknowledge the unique circumstances of each case, reducing complex human experiences to a monetary value.

Moreover, caps on non-economic damages disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, including women, children, the elderly, and those with lower incomes. These groups often rely more heavily on non-economic damages to address the emotional and psychological toll of their injuries. By limiting non-economic awards, Colorado’s old law exacerbated existing disparities and further marginalized already marginalized communities.

In wrongful death cases, the situation is equally dire. Losing a loved one is perhaps the most devastating experience one can endure, and no amount of money can fully compensate a person for such a profound loss. Adding insult to injury, wrongful death caps in Colorado imposed arbitrary limits on the compensation families could receive, regardless of the severity of their loss or the financial impact on their lives.

The consequences of wrongful death caps extend far beyond financial constraints. Colorado’s caps devalue human life, sending a message the loss of a loved one is worth only a predetermined amount. The limitations imposed by caps in Colorado has meant responsible parties were not fully accountable for their actions. Caps result in a travesty of justice that prioritized cost-saving measures over the fundamental principles of fairness and accountability.

Furthermore, caps on wrongful death damages impeded the deterrent effect of civil litigation. When negligent parties know they can only be held liable for a fraction of the harm they cause, they are less incentivized to prioritize safety and accountability. This puts the lives and well-being of Coloradans at risk, as corporations and individuals may cut corners and disregard safety regulations without fear of significant financial consequences.

The New: Colorado Caps on Non-Economic Damages and in Wrongful Death Cases

The new law regarding caps was the result of complex bargaining between the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (“CTLA”), business interests, and the insurance industry. The CTLA is an incredible organization of civil trial lawyers with the purpose of the organization to support and advocate for the rights of individuals who have been harmed by providing education, resources, and networking opportunities. The CTLA was successful in their efforts because the alternative was to introduce a ballot to eliminate caps entirely.

The new law allows siblings of a decedent to bring a wrongful death action under certain circumstances. Another important provision in the new law is that it requires caps be adjusted for inflation every two years starting on January 1, 2028. Most importantly, the new law increases the caps for non-economic damages from $250,000.00 to $1,500,00.00 and caps on wrongful death cases from $679,000.00 to $2,125,000.00.

Contact Colorado’s Top Rated Wrongful Death Law Firm

If you have questions regarding caps for non-economic damages or in wrongful death cases, you should speak with a qualified car accident injury attorney in Colorado. The attorneys at Bowman Law are standing by with answers to your questions. 

Contact Bowman Law at 720.863.6904 or email us for your free consultation. Our lawyers handle a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents. Our law firm is located in Denver and serves the Front Range including Colorado SpringsBoulderFort CollinsWestminsterLakewood, and Aurora.