When you or a loved one sustains an injury, you may have many questions about the claims process.
In an effort to find out the value of your claim, you may come across a pain and suffering calculator for Colorado claiming to provide all of the answers. However, these online resources don’t usually take into account the complexities of state laws and damage caps.
Here are some things that are important to take into consideration when calculating or estimating personal injury damages, and why it may be best to seek the advice of a Colorado personal injury attorney.
Why a Pain and Suffering Calculator for Colorado Isn’t Accurate
At the beginning of your research, you may come across calculators online that claim to give an accurate estimate for damages.
Unfortunately, many of these calculators do not take pain and suffering damages in Colorado into account. Instead, they focus on calculating the total economic losses in your claim. These losses are relatively straightforward and usually come in the form of bills or receipts. However, pain and suffering damages are intangible and vary greatly from case to case. For this reason, using a pain and suffering calculator for Colorado often doesn’t generate a good estimate based on your unique circumstances.
Damages Available in Colorado
There are three areas of damages that can be collected in a personal injury lawsuit. The first area is Economic Damages, the second area is Non-Economic damages, and the third area is Physical Impairment. two broad categories of damages available in Colorado: special or actual Economic Damages
Economic or special damages are the tangible losses incurred by the victim due to their injury. In other words, the losses must be quantifiable and have a standard cost. A few examples of economic damages include medical bills, property damage repairs, lost wages, lost future earning potential, and even transportation to the doctor’s office.
Non-economic damages focus on the intangible, subjective losses sustained by the victim because of their injuries. Pain and suffering falls under this category of damages. These losses do not have an easily calculated financial value because they are rooted in the emotional and mental harm you suffer after an accident as well as your physical pain that you are enduring.
Here are a few examples:
- Loss of consortium for a spouse,
- Loss of companionship,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Emotional distress, and
- Physical Pain and suffering.
There are many different ways that an experienced attorney may calculate non-economic damages. One method utilizes a multiplier applied to the total economic damages. Another determines a per day cost that is multiplied by the number of days in recovery. Another factor is looking at jury verdicts for similar types of injuries. Ultimately, there is not one way or any specific calculation that can be performed in order to precisely determine what non-economic damages are.
Pain and Suffering: Colorado Law for Damage Caps
Many states, including Colorado, put limits on certain types of damages. While economic damages typically do not have caps pain and suffering damages in Colorado have different limits depending on the type of personal injury case.
The caps are typically adjusted for inflation, and they can vary based on the type of case that you have. It is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney regarding damage caps.
How Contributory Negligence May Affect Your Damages
Another factor that may affect the total pain and suffering in your case is fault. States have different rules determining whether a plaintiff may receive compensation if they are partially or mostly at fault for their injuries. Colorado in particular follows a contributory negligence (CRS 13-21-111) doctrine that diminishes the award based on the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. In addition, their fault must not exceed that of the defendant. Consider the following fictional example:
Jane is driving to work. She goes 10 mph over the speed limit since she’s late. When passing through a green light at a major intersection, a car driven by Josh makes a left turn in front of her. The crash causes Jane permanent back issues requiring lifelong physical therapy and the use of a cane. Her total damages are $1.5 million.
At the trial, the jury determines that Jane is 20% at fault for her injuries for speeding. However, they also find Josh 80% responsible for making a poorly timed turn against oncoming traffic. As a result, the court reduces Jane’s award by her percentage of fault, making the final judgment $1.2 million. There are other factors that come into consideration, including actual costs of the lawsuit and also interest on the judgment.
In this case, the plaintiff had some share of fault in their accident. Despite this, the jury found the defendant mostly responsible. If Jane’s fault was 50% or more, she wouldn’t be able to recover anything.
Need Help Calculating the Value of Your Claim? We Can Help
If you or a loved one sustains an injury due to another party’s negligence, don’t rely on the insurance company to help. Their goal is to minimize your claim as much as possible, even if that means denying you the compensation you need to recover. At McCormick & Murphy, P.C., our personal injury attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience advocating for victims during their time of need. We provide a personalized experience and immediately take action to help get you back on your feet.
To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or give us a call at 719-249-0541. We serve clients throughout Colorado from our offices in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.