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Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Colorado?

February 29, 2024 | 5 min read

Hundreds of thousands of accidents occur in Colorado every year—many of which result in serious and debilitating injuries; however, while serious injuries come with medical expenses and can prevent you from working, the financial burdens from medical bills and lost wages may fail to account for all of your damages. The pain from physical injuries and lingering emotional trauma must also be considered to understand the full extent of an accident’s toll on your life.

Insurance settlements may provide compensation for hospital stays and medical expenses. They may even cover lost wages and property damage. What they seldom cover is the pain and suffering that accompanies serious injury. To receive compensation for these types of damages, legal action will likely be required. The Colorado personal injury lawyers at Burg Simpson are here to help.

If you have sustained a serious injury in an accident in Colorado, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Call Burg Simpson Law Firm at 303-792-5595 to schedule a FREE and confidential case review and learn more about the types of compensation you may be able to seek through legal action.

What Are General Damages?

There are two primary types of damages awarded in personal injury claims: special (economic damages) and general (non-economic damages). While special damages are quantifiable, focusing on established expenses and costs, general damages are intended to compensate for the intangible aspects of your injury, which, while not immediately visible on a balance sheet, can profoundly affect your overall well-being and quality of life.

Depending on the specifics of your case, general damages may include compensation for:

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Disfigurement and Scarring

In essence, general damages are a recognition of the profound and often lasting effects an injury can have on your life beyond the immediately apparent physical injuries. They represent an attempt to provide monetary relief for the pain and suffering caused by serious injury and offer a measure of comfort and support for those dealing with these often life-altering consequences.

How Are Damages for Pain and Suffering Calculated?

The calculation of damages for pain and suffering in personal injury cases is a nuanced process, as it involves placing a monetary value on intangible losses. Unlike economic damages, which are based on actual expenses, damages for pain and suffering require a more subjective assessment of things including:

  • The severity of the injury
  • Ongoing discomfort
  • Impact on daily life
  • Emotional trauma

It is important to note that there is a high degree of subjectivity in calculating pain and suffering damages. However, certain methodologies can be used to help determine what may constitute a fair compensation amount. These may include:

  • Multiplier Method. This approach involves multiplying the total economic damages (like medical bills and lost wages) by a certain number (the multiplier), which typically ranges from 1.5 to 5. The multiplier is chosen based on the severity and impact of the injury. 
  • Per Diem Method. With this method, a daily rate is assigned for your pain and suffering, similar to a daily wage. This rate is then multiplied by the number of days you are expected to experience pain or discomfort from the injury.

In some cases, a combination of methods or a different approach altogether might be used. All of this depends on the unique circumstances of your case.

While no monetary compensation can fully undo the pain and suffering endured after a catastrophic injury, the legal system strives to offer some measure of relief with general damages. During your complimentary consultation, we can explain how pain and suffering might be calculated in Colorado to help you understand the damages you may be entitled to.

What Is the Cap on General Damages in Colorado?

In Colorado, like in many other states, there are statutory limits or “caps” on the amount of non-economic damages one can receive in a personal injury case. These caps dictate the maximum amount you can be awarded for general damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. 

While there are limits, a key feature of Colorado’s caps on general damages is that they are not static. They are periodically adjusted for inflation. As of this writing, non-economic damages are capped at $729,790 under most circumstances. This amount can, however, be increased to a maximum of $1,459,600 at the discretion of the court.

It is very important to note that the cap on general damages can vary depending on the type of personal injury case. For instance, medical malpractice cases might have different cap limits compared to other personal injury cases (see Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-102.5). Talking to one of our attorneys is a good way to determine which caps will apply to your case.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Seek Compensation for Pain and Suffering?

Navigating a personal injury case for pain and suffering without legal assistance is challenging and often less effective. While not mandatory, the benefits of having a lawyer are substantial. Experienced attorneys bring a deep understanding of legal nuances—from statutes of limitations to intricate filing requirements—ensuring your case adheres to all procedural demands. These things are essential in avoiding missteps that could jeopardize your claim.

A key advantage of legal representation lies in the negotiation phase. Insurance companies are known for their strategies to minimize payouts. A personal injury lawyer will work to counter these tactics, advocating fiercely for your best interests. An attorney can also accurately assess your damages, ensuring that all aspects of your claim, including your personal pain and suffering, are accounted for.

In court, the value of a skilled litigator becomes even more evident. A trial attorney will know how to present evidence effectively, cross-examine witnesses, and construct persuasive arguments. This personalized support provides peace of mind and allows you to focus on recovery, confident that the legal aspects of your case are in capable hands.

Why Choose Burg Simpson

The Colorado personal injury lawyers at Burg Simpson are grounded by our commitment to justice and the relentless pursuit of fair compensation for those impacted by negligence. Our approach to each case is tailored, blending deep professional knowledge with a genuine concern for each client’s unique experiences post-injury. This client-focused approach is at the heart of our practice, ensuring that every individual we represent feels heard, supported, and valued throughout their legal journey.

At Burg Simpson Law Firm, our advocacy extends beyond legal representation. We are staunch supporters of our clients’ overall well-being, recognizing the physical, emotional, and financial toll of personal injuries. We take time to understand all of the ways an injury has and will continue to impact your life, and fight tooth and nail for the total compensation your damages—including pain and suffering—demand.

Contact Us for a FREE Case Evaluation

If you are struggling with the aftermath of an accident, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Contact Burg Simpson for a FREE case evaluation at our Denver office right away. Our experienced personal injury lawyers represent individuals and families dealing with serious and debilitating injuries throughout the state of Colorado.