Colorado Personal Injury Overview
Colorado personal injury lawsuits can include cases stemming from auto accidents, medical malpractice, property damage, slip and fall, and many other types of accidents. Personal injury is a very broad area of law, and while the general principles are the same across the country, important aspects vary from state to state.
Compensatory damages in Colorado can include:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses, including time lost from work to attend medical appointments
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Emotional distress
- Interference with family relationships
- Property damage, including vehicles damaged in auto accidents
- Expenses incurred as a direct result of injury
In Colorado, punitive damages are only available if your can prove that the responsible party’s wrongdoing was intentional or malicious. In most cases punitive damages cannot be more than the compensatory damages, but if the behavior which warrants the punitive damages continues during the trial the court may award punitive damages up to three times the amount of the compensatory damages.
Non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases are limited to $300,000.
If your actions or inaction contributed to your injuries
Colorado follows what is called “modified comparative negligence” to determine if you are entitled to compensation when you are partly to blame for your injuries. As long as you are less than half (49% or less) to blame for your accident, the person who caused your injuries can be held responsible for the percentage of damages equal to their percentage of fault.
When there are two or more responsible parties, under several liability, each responsible party is responsible for their chare of the damages only and cannot be held responsible for another party’s failure to pay. You must collect the compensation you are awarded individually from each responsible party.
In most types of personal injury cases in Colorado you must prove negligence in order to prove fault. Negligence does not require intentional or willful wrongdoing, but simply the failure to use reasonable care, thus causing your injuries. These elements must exist in order to prove negligence:
- The person who caused your injuries owed you a duty and failed to uphold that duty
- That failure caused your injuries
- You suffered damages
A defective product lawsuit holds the defendant liable under strict liability rather than negligence. Under strict liability you must prove that:
- The product was unreasonably dangerous, even if used properly
- You used the product as it was intended to be used
- The product caused your injury
- You suffered damages
The time limit for filing a lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. This time limit is different in each state. In Colorado the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. There are some special circumstances which can affect when the two year period begins, and certain types of lawsuit have a shorter or longer time limit.
For more in depth information about time limits in Colorado read our Colorado Statute of Limitations page.
Personal injury laws vary from state to state. If you believe you have a personal injury claim and you live in Colorado, please contact one of our Colorado personal injury lawyers for a free claim evaluation.