By: Paul Jordan, Associate Attorney, Sutton | Booker | P.C.
Effective January 1, 2020, Colorado increased statutory damage limitations under C.R.S. §§ 44-3-801 (Dram Shop Act), 13-21-102.5 (noneconomic losses), and 13-21-203.7 (wrongful death).
The cap on total liability for claims against vendors of alcoholic beverages, whether they are a licensee or a social host, increased from $280,810 to $368,260. The cap on noneconomic damages in civil actions other than medical malpractice claims increased from $468,010 to $613,760. With clear and convincing evidence, the court may allow noneconomic damages of up to $1,227,530 (increased from $936,030). The cap on damages for derivative noneconomic loss or injury also increased from $468,010 to $613,760. The cap on noneconomic damages under Colorado’s Wrongful Death Act increased from $436,070 to $571,870. For claimants who are able to and elect to sue for and recover a solatium under Colorado’s Wrongful Death Act, the solatium increased from $87,210 to $114,370.
The increase in damage caps applies to claims accruing on or after January 1, 2020. These damage limitations have not been adjusted since 2008. However, moving forward, they will be modified every two years on January 1 based on the cumulative annual adjustment for inflation for each year. The specific dollar amount will be certified by the secretary of state near the beginning of the year.