Legislature Set to Increase Colorado Governmental Immunity Tort Cap

Colorado’s long standing governmental immunity tort caps have been in place since 1977. Major legislation concerning the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA) limits has been introduced in Senate Bill 13-023 which proposes increasing the recovery limits for individual claims from $150,000 to $350,000 and for multiple claims for the same occurrence from $600,000 to $990,000.

The increased limit amounts were determined by applying increases in the Denver-Boulder-Greeley Consumer Price Index to the previous individual limit. The existing limit is a carryover from 1972, when it was initially established, and from 1992 for the aggregate limit, when it was last adjusted by the General Assembly.

The bill was heard and passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 27, 2013. The bill will next be heard by the Senate as a whole. If the bill passes in both houses of the legislature, it will take effect July 1, 2013 for all civil claims filed on or after that date. Those who are affiliated with special districts recognize that this increase could have a significant financial impact on local governments.

Pool members may not immediately feel a direct impact, however the Pool may experience a greater frequency of claims as plaintiffs’ lawyers might see greater opportunity to collect contingency fees. With the CGIA limit increases, each claim now carries three times the risk.

The Pool Board has budgeted to manage the potential for increased costs. The long-term strategy is to look to keep future increases contained. Stay tuned for more information.

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