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Colorado Negligence Laws

When one party owes another party a duty -- such as a shopkeeper's requirement to keep the floor clean -- and deviates from that duty, they are considered negligent. If this negligence causes injury to the other party (or parties), then they may be held liable for damages. Negligence is the legal basis for most personal injury and accident-related lawsuits, including slip-and-fall and medical malpractice injuries. While negligence claims are based on common law and very similar among different states, state laws often have subtle differences in how fault is assigned and damages are awarded.

What Are Colorado's Negligence Laws?

In Colorado, contributory negligence by the claimant (the person filing the claim) diminishes the amount of damages that can be collected. For example, a motorist who was speeding at the time he was struck and injured by a drunk driver may have his damages reduced in proportion to his share of the fault. But if the court determines the claimant's negligence to be greater than that of the defendant's, the plaintiff may not recover any damages.

Additionally, the state limits the amount of damages a claimant may recover in a medical malpractice case to $1 million total. Also, you may not claim more than $300,000 for non-economic damages, such as "pain and suffering" or "loss of consortium." In some cases where the court determines the $1 million to be unfair, additional damages may be awarded for projected medical care and lost earnings.

See the chart below to learn more about Colorado's negligence laws, and FindLaw's Negligence section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section 13-21-111
Comparative Negligence -
Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery Contributory negligence does not bar recovery if claimant's negligence is not greater than defendant's. But any damages allowed is diminished in proportion to claimant's attributed negligence (13-21-111)
Contribution Among Tortfeasors Yes; §§13-50.5-101 to 13.50.5-106
Uniform Act Yes. §§13-50.5-101 to 13.50.5-106

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- make sure you contact a Colorado personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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