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Opinion: Lawmakers need to reassess Colorado DUI proposal, Part 1

On Feb. 17, we shared a blog post about a new bill that Colorado lawmakers want to be enacted in the state. Senate Bill 107 is related to drunk driving accidents and is presented as a measure that would allow victims of Colorado DUI accidents and their families to recover more for their losses.

While it is hard to argue that those affected by a drunk driving crash don't deserve justice, not everyone is behind the legislative measure. One critic, a member of the Colorado Civil Justice League Legal Advisory Board, wrote into The Denver Post to share his concerns.

First off, as we introduced in the February post about this state bill, the measure would remove a cap on certain types of damages following an alcohol- or drug-related accident. Crash victims and their families could sue for an unlimited amount in non-economic damages. The cap is currently set at about $462,000, since a cap was established back in 1986.

What do non-economic damages cover? They compensate plaintiffs for losses outside of the financial realm, like lost wages, the cost of medical bills and the cost of damaged property. Through non-economic damages, victims and their families are paid to cover their pain, suffering, loss of companionship, etc.

Non-economic elements of loss are impossible to quantify and, therefore, can mean extremely steep awards for plaintiffs, award amounts that the above-mentioned critic thinks will do more harm than good in the community. In the critique of the bill in The Denver Post, the member of the Colorado Civil Justice League Legal Advisory Board writes that the bill's aim is off target.

Check back in soon to learn why he thinks SB 107 is flawed and legislators have to rethink the potentially destructive plan.

Source

The Denver Post: "Guest Commentary: DUI bill threatens business," Evan Stephenson, 26 Feb. 2011

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