Are there limits on damages against public employees and institutions? (Eg., State Highway Department, University Physicians, Denver Health Medical Center, University Hospital & its affiliates, The Children’s Hospital, etc.)
The Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA), C.R.S. 24-10-101 et. seq. limits damages as follows:
The maximum amount that may be recovered under this article in any single occurrence, whether from one or more public entities and public employees, shall be:
- For any injury to one person in any single occurrence, the sum of three hundred fifty thousand dollars;
- For an injury to two or more persons in any single occurrence, the sum of nine hundred thousand dollars; except that, in such instance, no person may recover in excess of three hundred fifty thousand dollars.
As a jurisdictional prerequisite to any damages claim under the CGIA, a notice of claim pursuant to C.R.S. 24-10-109 must be served within 182 days of the date of discovery of the injury, except in some cases of minority or disability.
Note- There are exceptions to CGIA caps on damages, but they generally must be approved by the Legislature. Also, there may be more than one ‘occurrence’ per incident. Eg., there might be negligence by a highway employee followed by malpractice by an ambulance attendant or physician.