Colorado’s Governmental Immunity Act (GIA) is a law put in place so that governmental bodies cannot be sued unless that body- first grants its permission or under certain exceptions provided in the act. This protection of the government has caused many injured individuals to go without any compensation for harm to them caused by governmental employees or agencies. As it currently stands Colorado’s GIA does set aside, or waive, immunity for specific occurrences. If an injury is caused by the government, or by an agent of the government, due to negligence in one of these specific occurrences where immunity has already been waived, the law allows for the injured party to file a claim against the government for compensation. However, under the Colorado GIA; a party’s recovery for personal injury damages sustained under circumstances where immunity is waived, is capped meaning there is a set limit on the dollar amount the government will pay out to any plaintiff. The amount of the cap is set regardless to circumstances such as the type of injury, or the extent of the damages incurred by the injured party.
The current cap in place for claims permitted under the Colorado GIA are set at ($150,000.00) per occurrence, and ($600,000.00) for all claims per occurrence, regardless of the number of injured parties. There has not been a significant change in the act since 1979, and the act has not been amended since 1992, respectively. Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed SB 13-023, which holds the government accountable to Colorado residents for its actions in cases where governmental immunity is waived and raised the caps set by the act in 1979. For the public this means more money for injured parties who have suffered from the negligence of a government agency. The new bill amending the Colorado GIA will raise the outdated caps and increase the amount government entities will be forced to pay out for claims on injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2013. The amount of the increase for the per person cap will now be up to ($350,000.00), and up to ($990,000.00) for the per occurrence cap. Lastly, and quite importantly, Colorado’s Attorney General will adjust the cap limits for inflation every four years, starting January 1st, 2018. The adjusted amounts will be published on the Colorado Attorney General’s website.
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