The goal of every personal injury lawsuit is to obtain a fair recovery for a client. A common question that arises at the beginning of a lawsuit is, “How much could I reasonably expect to receive if I win?” The answer can sometimes be a complicated one, but there are certain damages caps in place that restrict the amount that a plaintiff can conceivably get from specific types of cases.
For several types of cases, those caps have been at the same level for the last 10 years. But, just recently, Colorado Senate Bill 109 (SB-109) was signed into law. This bill provides an increase in the damages caps that apply in certain personal injury cases, and makes regular adjustments to those caps based on inflation. Let’s take a look at the details and what this will mean for these particular lawsuits going forward.
Types of Cases That Are Affected
The new law increases damage caps for the following types of cases or claims:
- Non-Economic Loss or Injury
- Wrongful Death
- Dram Shop (over-serving alcohol) Cases.
Amount of the Cap Increase
The amount of the cap increases will go into effect on January 1st, 2020. As the current law stands now, the limit for non-economic damages in personal injury or wrongful death cases is $468,000 for standard cases and $936,000 for cases that are determined to be “extreme.” These new cap on non-economic damages in standard personal injury and wrongful death cases is estimated to increase to $584,210 in January 2020.
For solatium claims, which is a specific type of claim within Colorado’s Wrongful Death Act, the new amount that a plaintiff can recover after January 2020 is anticipated to increase to $108,840.
Damages that can be obtained in Dram Shop cases, are anticipated to rise to $350,000 in January, 2020. The current cap is only $150,000.
The even better news is the fact that these caps will increase per inflation every two years afterward.
No Increase to Medical Malpractice Amounts
One notable exception to SB-109 was medical malpractice cases. The cap for these types of cases currently stands at $300,000 for non-economic damages (pain and suffering, for instance) and $1 million for all damages, in most cases. An increase in the damage caps for medical malpractice cases was left off the table (out of the bill) because it’s an extremely hot-button topic and it was surmised that its inclusion would make the bill’s passage into law more difficult.
Remedying Ten Years of Stagnation
The change in the law was necessary to remedy ten years of stagnant damage caps for the cases it applies to. For the past decade, caps to the cases covered by the bill have stayed the same, despite increases in the overall costs of living
How Your Personal Injury Case Will Be Affected
An experienced attorney should handle any personal injury or wrongful death case that you’re involved with. While the amount of money that you may receive for your case is rarely known at the onset of a case, the increase in damage caps that will take effect next year, thanks to SB-109, allows seriously injured victims to be more fully compensated for their injuries.
If you’ve suffered any type of personal injury, it’s best that you don’t hesitate to seek legal representation. Give the attorneys at Mintz Law Firm a call right away for a free consultation.