Colorado Auto Accident Compensation: How To Obtain The Maximum For Your Injuries
When you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s important to know what damages you might be entitled to and then to align yourself with an experienced Colorado car accident attorney who understands what is takes to obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Who can sue?
While there used to be certain threshold levels that one had to reach by way of either medical expenses or injury in order to sue in Colorado; that is no longer the case according to Jim Chalat, a Colorado attorney with over 30 years of experience whose firm focuses its practice in personal injury law. He says that, “You are permitted to file a case and make a claim for damages no matter what the extent of your medical bills or injuries. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s the right idea in every case, but that’s the paradigm.”
How much compensation might you be entitled to?
Colorado places certain limitations on auto accident victims when it comes to compensation. Chalat explained those limitations:
Assuming unlimited insurance on the part of the at-fault driver, the limitations for non-economic damages that include pain and suffering are $468,010 in Colorado as of 2009. Those limitations are increased on a regular basis by the legislature as certified by the secretary of state. Non-economic damages in a wrongful-death action are $436,070.
The amount was originally $250,000, but adjustments have been made by the United States government twice now based upon the Consumer Price Index for the Denver/Boulder areas. So, the increases were made initially from 1986 to 1998 and now they’ve been made again from 1998 to 2008.
While the pain and suffering award can be doubled upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence*, it has only happened once in the 70 plus combined years of experience in my office. So, we would expect that exception for someone such as a burn victim or somebody with neuropathic pain. In other words, they have a nerve-root injury and they’re in agonizing pain that cannot be controlled therapeutically by medication.
There is no cap on damages in Colorado for physical impairment. There is no cap on damages disfigurement. There is no cap on damages for proven economic losses. But then again, you have to prove them and that’s a very rigorous exercise for counsel to do in the courtroom.
*What is clear and convincing evidence in Colorado?
Chalat explained the clear and convincing evidence standard. “The law defines clear and convincing evidence as being evidence which is stronger than a preponderance – more than just the more-probably-than-not standard. It has to be unmistakable, and here’s the magic language, ‘free from serious or substantial doubt.’ That’s language from the Colorado jury instructions. My experience is that it’s essentially the same as beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s the same standard for evidence on that would essentially meet the criminal conviction test in front of the jury.”
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, contact an experienced car accident attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.