2020 Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 13 - Courts And Court Procedure
Article 21. Damages
Section 13-21-102.5. Limitations on damages for noneconomic loss or injury.

(1) The general assembly finds, determines, and declares that awards in civil actions for noneconomic losses or injuries often unduly burden the economic, commercial, and personal welfare of persons in this state; therefore, for the protection of the public peace, health, and welfare, the general assembly enacts this section placing monetary limitations on such damages for noneconomic losses or injuries.

(2) As used in this section:

  1. "Derivative noneconomic loss or injury" means nonpecuniary harm or emotional stress to persons other than the person suffering the direct or primary loss or injury.

  2. "Noneconomic loss or injury" means nonpecuniary harm for which damages are recoverable by the person suffering the direct or primary loss or injury, including pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional stress, and impairment of the quality of life. "Noneconomic loss or injury" includes a damage recovery for nonpecuniary harm for actions brought under section 13-21-201 or 13-21-202.

(3) (a) In any civil action other than medical malpractice actions in which damages for noneconomic loss or injury may be awarded, the total of such damages shall not exceed the sum of two hundred fifty thousand dollars, unless the court finds justification by clear and convincing evidence therefor. In no case shall the amount of noneconomic loss or injury damages exceed five hundred thousand dollars. The damages for noneconomic loss or injury in a medical malpractice action shall not exceed the limitations on noneconomic loss or injury specified in section 13-64-302.

  1. In any civil action, no damages for derivative noneconomic loss or injury may beawarded unless the court finds justification by clear and convincing evidence therefor. In no case shall the amount of such damages exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars.

  2. (I) The limitations on damages set forth in subsections (3)(a) and (3)(b) of this section must be adjusted for inflation as of January 1, 1998, January 1, 2008, January 1, 2020, and each January 1 every two years thereafter. The adjustments made on January 1, 1998, January 1, 2008, January 1, 2020, and each January 1 every two years thereafter must be based on the cumulative annual adjustment for inflation for each year since the effective date of the damages limitations in subsections (3)(a) and (3)(b) of this section. The adjustments made pursuant to this subsection (3)(c)(I) must be rounded upward or downward to the nearest tendollar increment.

  1. As used in this paragraph (c), "inflation" means the annual percentage change in theUnited States department of labor, bureau of labor statistics, consumer price index for DenverBoulder, all items, all urban consumers, or its successor index.

  2. The secretary of state shall certify the adjusted limitation on damages within fourteen days after the appropriate information is available, and:

  1. The adjusted limitation on damages is applicable to all claims for relief that accrueon or after January 1, 1998, and before January 1, 2008;

  2. The adjusted limitation on damages as of January 1, 2008, is applicable to all claimsfor relief that accrue on and after January 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2020; and

  3. The adjusted limitation on damages as of January 1, 2020, and each January 1 everytwo years thereafter is applicable to all claims for relief that accrue on and after the specified January 1 and before the January 1 two years thereafter.

(IV) Nothing in this subsection (3) shall change the limitations on damages set forth in section 13-64-302, or the limitation on damages set forth in section 33-44-113, C.R.S.

  1. The limitations specified in subsection (3) of this section shall not be disclosed to ajury in any such action, but shall be imposed by the court before judgment.

  2. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the recovery of compensatory damages for physical impairment or disfigurement.

  3. (a) (I) In any claim for breach of contract, damages for noneconomic loss or injury or for derivative noneconomic loss or injury are recoverable only if:

  1. The recovery for such damages is specifically authorized in the contract that is thesubject of the claim; or

  2. In any first-party claim brought against an insurer for breach of an insurance contract, the plaintiff demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant committed willful and wanton breach of contract.

(II) For purposes of this paragraph (a), "willful and wanton breach of contract" means that:

  1. The defendant intended to breach the contract;

  2. The defendant breached the contract without any reasonable justification; and

  3. The contract clearly indicated that damages for noneconomic loss or injury or forderivative noneconomic damages or loss were within the contemplation or expectation of the parties.

  1. Except for the breach of contract damages that are permitted pursuant to subsubparagraph (B) of subparagraph (I) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (6), nothing in this subsection (6) shall be construed to prohibit one or more parties from waiving the recovery of damages for noneconomic loss or injury or for derivative noneconomic loss or injury on a breach of contract claim so long as the waiver is explicit and in writing.

  2. The limitations on damages set forth in subsection (3) of this section shall apply inany civil action to the aggregate sum of any noneconomic damages awarded under this section for breach of contract including but not limited to bad faith breach of contract.

  3. In any civil action in which an award of damages for noneconomic loss or injury orfor derivative noneconomic loss or injury is made on a breach of contract claim, the court shall state such award in the judgment separately from any other damages award.

  4. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (c) of this subsection (6), nothing in thissubsection (6) shall be construed to govern the recovery of noneconomic damages on a tort claim for bad faith breach of contract.

Source: L. 86: Entire section added, p. 677, § 1, effective July 1. L. 89: (2)(b) amended, p. 752, § 1, effective July 1. L. 97: (3)(c) added, p. 923, § 4, effective August 6. L. 2003: (3)(a) amended, p. 1787, § 1, effective July 1. L. 2004: (6) added, p. 770, § 2, effective July 1. L. 2007: (3)(c)(I) and (3)(c)(III) amended, p. 329, § 3, effective July 1. L. 2019: (3)(c)(I) and (3)(c)(III) amended, (SB 19-109), ch. 83, p. 296, § 2, effective August 2.

Cross references: For the legislative declaration contained in the 1997 act enacting subsection (3)(c), see section 1 of chapter 172, Session Laws of Colorado 1997. For the legislative declaration contained in the 2004 act enacting subsection (6), see section 1 of chapter 232, Session Laws of Colorado 2004. For the legislative declaration contained in the 2007 act amending subsections (3)(c)(I) and (3)(c)(III), see section 1 of chapter 83, Session Laws of Colorado 2007.

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