Governmental Immunity and Colorado Personal Injury Claims
The state of Colorado has passed laws providing “sovereign immunity” that shields government agencies and employees from many types of lawsuits. But there are circumstances where this immunity may be waived, allowing you to receive compensation for your injuries.
If you have been harmed by another person’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation to cover the cost of your medical bills and other expenses. But when the person whose careless behavior caused your injuries is a city, county, State, or Colorado State employee, it may be more difficult for you to receive compensation due to sovereign immunity laws.
The only way to find out if you are eligible for compensation when you have been injured by another person’s careless behavior is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. In Colorado a plaintiff only has 182 days after the injury is discovered to file a special notice to bring a claim against a government body, so it’s essential to contact an attorney right away.
Exceptions to Sovereign Immunity in Colorado
The Colorado Government Immunity Act (CGIA) provides public officials with immunity from claims and damages, but there are exceptions. There are also damage caps on claims governed by the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act. You may not be able to recover all of your damages because of these restrictive caps.
You may be able to seek compensation for injuries that occurred under the following circumstances:
- A motor vehicle operated by a public employee causes a crash
- At public schools and universities
- At a public hospital
- Dangerous conditions along a public road, highway, or street
- Dangerous conditions in a public building
- At a public utility, such as gas, water, sanitation, electrical, power, or swimming facilities
If you were injured at a public facility or hurt by someone working for a government agency, the person who injured you may not be a public employee. For example, the Colorado Supreme court has held that an independent contractor who was driving an RTD bus was not a state employee, and therefore not entitled to any type of legal immunity.
Police, fire fighters, and ambulance drivers are allowed to break traffic laws in some circumstances when responding to an emergency, but they still have to use reasonable care while driving. Courts have held that they may be found negligent when they drive recklessly “in light of surrounding circumstances.”
Injuries Caused by Unsafe Roads and Highways
When it comes to injuries caused by poor road maintenance and faulty traffic design, sovereign immunity may be waived for injuries that result from conditions that physically interfere with the movement of traffic.
In cases of school violence, public and charter schools may not be protected by a waiver if they fail to take reasonable steps to prevent an incident, such as failure to perform a proper employee background check. In these cases, schools may be held liable for the following types of damages:
- First degree assault
- Sexual assault
- Violent crime causing serious bodily injury
We Help People with Catastrophic Injuries
At Leventhal Puga Braley P.C., we fight for people who have been harmed by someone else’s negligence. We can help you file a claim or receive a settlement that allows you to start putting your life back together. This may include compensation for the following types of expenses:
- Medical costs
- Emotional trauma
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Lost financial support for surviving dependents
You will receive the highest standard of legal assistance at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. Call (303) 759-9945 to learn more today. We’re on your side.