Mar 14, 2022

Accidents happen, whether that is an accident in the workplace, a car accident, or even an accident caused by a defective product. All accidents can cause an injury, and if you have suffered one, then you may be liable for compensation.

This may be due to filing a workers’ compensation or an insurance claim. Unfortunately, most often, the actual settlement does not cover all your medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

If you are fighting a personal injury lawsuit, you may want to know what type of compensation you can expect. Especially if you hire a lawyer, you might feel like you will not end up getting much of your compensation after paying them.

This can be overwhelming, so understanding how the compensation is calculated for an injury case can be helpful.

What is Compensation?

Compensation, also called damages, refers to the money awarded to an injured party in a lawsuit. Compensation is typically awarded after reaching a settlement or winning a personal injury lawsuit.

When there is an accident and one person is liable for that accident, usually, that party’s liability insurance company will pay the injured person compensation.

The judge or jury will award the damages to an injured victim who demonstrates financial, physical, or emotional loss because of the injury. 

Examples of Compensation Awarded: 

  • Medical bills and related expenses

  • Missed work time

  • Lost income

  • Pain and other physical suffering

  • Permanent physical disability

  • Loss of family, social, and educational experiences

  • Emotional damages

Compensation is simple when it comes to medical bills or physical damage, but it gets tricky when calculating compensation because each state has different laws.

What Type of Personal Injury Damages Can You Sue for in Colorado?

Compensatory damages are usually awarded for those who suffer losses and expenses as a result of an accident and injuries.

The defendant is liable to the plaintiff for the direct consequences of their actions. The compensatory damages reimburse the plaintiff for losses due to the actions by the defendant.

In a personal injury lawsuit, there are a few types of damages that you can sue for in Colorado.

These damages include: 

  • Medical expenses related to your injury

  • Lost income

  • Reduced earning potential

  • Value of household services you are unable to perform

Although these examples of compensation are called economic damages, there are also non-economic damages as well, such as: 

  • Pain and suffering

  • Loss of consortium (loss of physical/sexual affection)

  • Loss of enjoyment

These items do not have a specific cost, which means it will be up to the judge how much you are awarded. The court may even decide to add punitive damages if the liable party was acting recklessly at the time of the accident.

However, it’s important to note that every situation is different.

What Colorado Laws Affect Compensation

There are two main forms of damages that can be awarded in the state of Colorado, economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Typically, economic damages are those which are considered tangible and quantifiable. Economic damages most often include: 

  • Past and future hospital, rehabilitation, or other medical bills

  • Past, present, and future lost earnings

  • Funeral costs (in wrongful death cases)

  • Essential services (home and yard care)

There is no cap on economic damages in the State of Colorado aside from cases of medical malpractice. In these cases, economic damages are limited to $1,000,000.

Non-Economic Damages

There is a cap on non-economic losses in the state of Colorado. This is due to their intangibility.

These caps are legally mandated, and include:

  • Pain and Suffering: $250,000 before inflation and $500,000 after inflation.

  • Punitive Damages: The amount awarded must not exceed the economic damages awarded with the exception of extreme cases. In extreme cases, the cap is three times the economic damages.

  • Medical Malpractice: $300,000 for pain and suffering, including as a result of wrongful death.

  • Wrongful Death: $250,000 or $500,000 before inflation for pain and suffering. If the death was the result of medical malpractice, the cap is $300,000.

  • Dram Shop: $150,000 per person injured at a tavern or bar.

Punitive Damages

Another part of compensation for a personal injury case is to do with punitive damages. These are those which have acted with fraud, malice, or willful or wanton misconduct.

Rather than compensating the victim for the injury, typically these damages are used to punish the person responsible for their behavior. Most often they are awarded along with compensation.

These damages are typically awarded to the injured party, and punish those who act recklessly, or in a dangerous manner, on purpose. This might include a drunk driver killing someone. In this case the family might sue for the economic and non-economic losses, but also be awarded punitive damages.

In Colorado, the law that governs punitive damages, may not exceed the amount awarded for compensatory damages.

How is Compensation Calculated in Colorado?

Colorado law imposes limits on some types of compensation, as mentioned above. Additionally, the details of your accident can affect your eligibility for compensation. In some cases, both parties may be somewhat responsible.

This can contribute to you holding a percentage of fault or liability, which then affects how much money you can receive.

If you suffer catastrophic injuries, you may be eligible for more compensation, than if you have suffered less-severe injuries. If you end up having a disability as result of the accident, you may be entitled to more compensation.

To calculate your potential compensation, you need to consider your loss from the accident. If you are disabled and can’t work anymore, that financial loss will be strongly considered. However, if the damages are only minor, compensation may be less.

There isn’t a one size fits all solution when calculating compensation because every situation is different. If you want a better idea of how much compensation you may be entitled to, it’s best to speak with an experienced Colorado Attorney.

How a Colorado Injury Lawyer Can Help

It is important to note that no two personal injury cases are the same. This is why you can never be sure as to how much compensation you will be awarded in your case.

The best path to take is to work with a Colorado injury lawyer. This way you can know if you are even eligible to file a lawsuit, and what your expected outcomes might be.

Get a free case evaluation by contacting our team today!

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