First Regular Session
Sixty-first General Assembly
LLS NO. 970222.01 EBD
HOUSE BILL 971197
STATE OF COLORADO
BY REPRESENTATIVES Swenson, Agler, Allen, Dean, Dyer, June, May, Owen, Pfiffner, Schauer, and Schwarz;
also SENATOR Coffman.
TRANSPORTATION & ENERGY
A BILL FOR AN ACT
CONCERNING LIMITATIONS ON RECOVERY OF DAMAGES ARISING
OUT OF A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT, AND, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH,
LIMITING RECOVERY OF NONECONOMIC DAMAGES BY CONVICTED FELONS,
UNINSURED MOTORISTS, OWNERS OF MOTOR VEHICLES THAT ARE NOT INSURED,
PERSONS CONVICTED OF DRIVING WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE AT THE
TIME OF AN ACCIDENT, AND PERSONS DRIVING WITH A LICENSE THAT IS
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced
and does not necessarily reflect any amendments which may be subsequently
In actions arising out of the operation or use of
a motor vehicle bars recovery of noneconomic damages by persons
committing or fleeing from the scene of a felony, convicted of
driving while under the influence during an accident, uninsured
motorists, owners of motor vehicles that are not insured, and
persons driving with a license that is under restraint. Specifies
that insurers are not liable to the above persons for noneconomic
damages. Continues to allow recovery by uninsured motorists who
are injured by a person convicted of driving under the influence
or injured by a person engaged in the commission of, or flight
from, a felony.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. Part 7 of article 4 of title 10, Colorado Revised Statutes, 1994 Repl. Vol., as amended, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:
104712.5. Limitation of recovery to convicted felons, uninsured motorists, persons convicted of driving under the influence, and persons driving with a license under restraint. (1) THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY HEREBY FINDS, DETERMINES, AND DECLARES THAT:
(a) IN 1973 THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTED A SYSTEM OF COMPULSORY AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE CONSISTING OF LIABILITY INSURANCE AND A COMPREHENSIVE PACKAGE OF PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION BENEFITS PAID ON A NOFAULT BASIS.
(b) COLORADO LAW PREVENTS INSURED MOTORISTS FROM COLLECTING IN TORT ANY ECONOMIC DAMAGES UNDER THE COLORADO AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT REPARATIONS ACT, SUCH AS MEDICAL EXPENSES OR LOST WAGES, BECAUSE SUCH DAMAGES ARE PAID UNDER A COMPLYING POLICY AND IF A MOTORIST IS UNINSURED, SUCH MOTORIST IS, IN EFFECT, SELFINSURED AND THEREFORE PREVENTED FROM COLLECTING IN TORT SUCH ECONOMIC DAMAGES.
(c) THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY RECOGNIZES THAT A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF MOTORISTS BREAK THE LAW BY DRIVING UNINSURED, COMMITTING OR FLEEING FROM A FELONY, DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS, OR DRIVING UNDER A REVOKED OR SUSPENDED LICENSE AND YET ARE PERMITTED TO RECOVER NONECONOMIC DAMAGES, SUCH AS PAIN AND SUFFERING, UNDER LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICIES.
(d) BY ENACTMENT OF THIS STATUTE, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY INTENDS TO STATE THAT THE PUBLIC POLICY OF COLORADO IS TO NO LONGER TOLERATE THE ABUSE OF THE PRESENT LIABILITY INSURANCE SYSTEM BY THOSE WHO FAIL TO HAVE IN EFFECT A COMPLYING POLICY AS REQUIRED UNDER SECTION 104705 OR 104706 OR BY THOSE WHO BREAK THE LAW AS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH (c) OF THIS SUBSECTION (1).
(e) THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BY PASSING THIS SECTION, DOES NOT ALTER THE RIGHT OF ANY PERSON TO RECOVER ECONOMIC LOSSES IN A TORT ACTION AS CURRENTLY ALLOWED BY LAW.
(2) EXCEPT AS SPECIFIED IN SUBSECTION (3) OF THIS SECTION, IN ANY ACTION, BASED ON NEGLIGENCE, TO RECOVER DAMAGES RELATED TO THE OPERATION OR USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE, AN INJURED PERSON SHALL NOT RECOVER NONECONOMIC DAMAGES TO COMPENSATE FOR PAIN, SUFFERING, INCONVENIENCE, PHYSICAL IMPAIRMENT, DISMEMBERMENT, DISABILITY, DISFIGUREMENT, OR OTHER NONPECUNIARY DAMAGES IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING APPLIES:
(a) SUCH INJURED PERSON'S INJURIES WERE IN ANY WAY PROXIMATELY CAUSED BY THE INJURED PERSON'S COMMISSION OF ANY FELONY, OR IMMEDIATE FLIGHT THEREFROM, AND THE INJURED PERSON HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF, OR PLEAD GUILTY OR NO CONTEST TO, THAT FELONY.
(b) SUCH INJURED PERSON WAS CONVICTED OF, OR PLEAD GUILTY OR NO CONTEST TO, OPERATING SUCH MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 4241301, C.R.S.;
(c) SUCH INJURED PERSON WAS THE OPERATOR OF, OR A PASSENGER IN, AND WAS THE OWNER OF A MOTOR VEHICLE INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT AND SUCH MOTOR VEHICLE WAS NOT INSURED AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 104705 OR 104716;
(d) SUCH INJURED PERSON WAS A NONOWNER OPERATOR OF A MOTOR VEHICLE INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT AND CANNOT ESTABLISH HIS OR HER FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AS REQUIRED PURSUANT TO SECTION 104705 OR 104716; OR
(e) SUCH INJURED PERSON WAS OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE SUCH PERSON'S LICENSE WAS UNDER RESTRAINT IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 422138, C.R.S.
(3) EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (4) OF THIS SECTION, AN INSURER SHALL NOT BE LIABLE, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, UNDER A POLICY OF LIABILITY OR UNINSURED OR UNDERINSURED MOTORIST INSURANCE TO INDEMNIFY FOR NONECONOMIC DAMAGES OF A PERSON INJURED AS DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2) OF THIS SECTION.
(4) SUBSECTION (2) OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY IN THE EVENT A PERSON DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH (c) OR (d) OF SUBSECTION (2) OF THIS SECTION SUSTAINED INJURIES CAUSED BY A PERSON WHO, AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT, WAS OPERATING HIS OR HER MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 4241301, C.R.S., AND WAS CONVICTED OF THAT OFFENSE, OR IF THE INJURIES WERE IN ANY WAY CAUSED BY A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT IN WHICH THE NEGLIGENT DRIVER WAS ENGAGED IN THE COMMISSION OF, OR FLIGHT FROM, A FELONY.
SECTION 2. Effective date applicability. (1) This act shall take effect at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the expiration of the ninetyday period after final adjournment of the general assembly that is allowed for submitting a referendum petition pursuant to article V, section 1 (3) of the state constitution; except that, if a referendum petition is filed against this act or an item, section, or part of this act within such period, then the act, item, section, or part, if approved by the people, shall take effect on the date of the official declaration of the vote thereon by proclamation of the governor.
(2) The provisions of this act shall apply
to causes of action filed, and insurance policies issued or renewed,
on or after the effective date of this act.