Governor Polis signed Senate Bill 19-109 into law by this year. The bill adjusts limitations on damages (caps) to reflect the effects of inflation. Colorado’s damage caps were last adjusted for inflation in 2008. This new law adjusts damage caps for non-economic damages, wrongful death damages, and damages for unlawfully serving alcohol damages.
The adjusted caps will go into effect on January 1, 2020 and will be adjusted for inflation each January 1 every 2 years thereafter.
Non-economic injuries, damages and losses
Prior to January 1, 2020, the adjusted limitations for non-economic injuries, damages, and losses was $486,010 which may be increased by the Court upon clear and convincing evidence to a maximum of $936,030.00 C.R.S. 13-21-102.5(3)(a)
The anticipated adjusted limitations will now be $584,210.00.
Wrongful death injuries, damages and losses
Prior to January 1, 2020, the adjusted limitations for wrongful death injuries, damages, and losses such as grief, solace and loss of a loved one was $436,070.00 C.R.S. 13-21-203. This cap can be exceeded if the death constituted a felonious killing, which is defined as “the killing of the decedent by an individual who, as a result thereof, is convicted of, pleads guilty to, or enters a plea of nolo contendere to the crime of murder in the first or second degree or manslaughter.” C.R.S. 15-11-803(1)(b).
In wrongful death cases an heir must prove emotional loss. Alternatively, they can make a solatium claim which is capped by the state at $87,210.00 C.R.S. 13-21-203.5
The anticipated adjusted limitations will now be $584,210.00 for wrongful death and solatium will be $108,840.00.
Dramshop and unlawfully serving alcohol injuries damage and losses
Prior to January 1, 2020, the adjusted limitations for non-economic injuries, damages, and losses was $280,810.00
From January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021, the limitation will be $350,550.00.