Personal injury claims can arise from accidents such as slips and falls, car accidents, bike accidents, medical malpractice, and dog bites.
If you were injured in an accident or incident in Lakewood, CO, you may be able to recover compensation–or damages– for your injuries and losses if they were caused by another person’s carelessness or negligence. Non-economic damages is one of the two primary categories of compensation you can recover.
What Are Non-Economic Damages in Colorado?
In personal injury law, damages are divided into two main categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages, as the name suggests, refer to the financial consequences of an accident or injury. They are relatively straightforward to calculate and can be supported by receipts or other documentation. Economic damages include things like medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
On the other hand, non-economic damages do not relate to the financial consequences of an injury. Rather, they relate to the victim’s subjective and psychological impairment after an injury, and they might include things like mental anguish and pain and suffering.
Because they are subjective, non-economic damages are often more difficult to quantify than economic damages. Nonetheless, they can add up to a substantial amount, often comprising the majority of a personal injury claim’s value.
Common Types of Non-Economic Damages in Colorado
Colorado residents can recover many types of non-economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit, including:
Pain and Suffering
Damages for pain and suffering aim to compensate personal injury victims for the physical and emotional pain they must go through as a result of their injuries.
Mental anguish damages include things like grief, anxiety, depression, embarrassment, fear, and trauma, which personal injury victims may suffer from following an accident or injury.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Unfortunately, a serious injury can leave one unable to participate in or enjoy the activities they once loved. These damages are referred to as loss of enjoyment of life. For example, a victim who once loved playing basketball may no longer be able to due to the type of injury they suffered.
Loss of Consortium
A claim for loss of consortium arises when one’s injuries deprive their loved ones of the support, companionship, affection, or sexual relations that once existed. Essentially, loss of consortium concerns what a loved one can no longer provide due to an injury.
Is There a Limit on Non-Economic Damages in Colorado?
Yes. While there is no limit on economic damages that can be recovered in a personal injury case in Colorado, there is a cap on non-economic damages.
In Colorado, the cap on non-economic damages for claims accruing between January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2024, is $642,180. But, if a court finds that clear and convincing evidence supports awarding a higher amount of damages, then the court can award up to $1,284,370.
Note that there is a different limit placed on claims against public entities and their employees.
Who Is Eligible To Receive Non-Economic Damages in Colorado?
Not everyone who is injured in an accident in Lakewood, CO, is eligible to recover non-economic damages. However, if your injury was the result of someone else’s recklessness, wrongdoing, or negligence, then you may be entitled to damages.
To recover damages in a personal injury case based on negligence, a plaintiff must prove the following elements:
- The defendant had a duty of care;
- The defendant breached that duty of care;
- The plaintiff suffered injuries; and
- The defendant’s actions were the direct and proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries.
If a plaintiff can prove these four elements, then they may be entitled to recover damages.
Keep in mind that other factors may impact the amount of damages the plaintiff can recover. For example, if the plaintiff shares some responsibility for the accident–which is called comparative negligence–then the amount of damages may be reduced by the plaintiff’s degree of fault.
Is There a Deadline for Pursuing Non-Economic Damages?
A statute of limitations is a legal deadline for filing a lawsuit. If the lawsuit is not filed by that deadline, then the plaintiff likely loses their right to bring their case in court.
In Colorado, the statute of limitations in most personal injury cases is two years from the date the injury occurs. If the injury occurred in a motor vehicle accident, then the victim has three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit.
How a Lakewood Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Recover Non-Economic Damages
A trusted Lakewood personal injury lawyer can be instrumental in pursuing a personal injury claim and seeking to recover non-economic damages. Among the ways an experienced personal injury lawyer can help are the following:
- Contact the at-fault party’s insurance company on your behalf;
- Negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company;
- Gather documentation to support the extent of your injuries;
- Hire and interview expert witnesses regarding the impacts of your injuries;
- Take your case to civil court if necessary; and
- Ensure that your lawsuit is filed on time.
What’s more, an experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyer can help evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and help you set reasonable expectations.
Contact Matos Personal Injury Lawyers To Discuss Your Non-Economic Damages Claim Today
In the aftermath of a serious injury from a dog bite, slip and fall, car accident, or other incident in Lakewood, CO, you may be feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. The attorneys at Matos Personal Injury Lawyers can help you navigate the personal injury claims process during this difficult time.