In the event a person is injured and the injury complained of is attended by circumstances of fraud, malice, or willful and wanton conduct, the injured person may be awarded punitive, also known as “exemplary”, damages. The award, in addition to the actual damages sustained by such party, may not exceed an amount which is equal to the amount of the actual damages awarded to the injured party. C.R.S. § 13-21-102 (1)(a).


The phrase “willful and wanton conduct” means conduct purposefully committed, which the actor must have realized as dangerous, done heedlessly and recklessly, without regard to consequences, or of the rights and safety of others, particularly the plaintiff. C.R.S. § 13-21-102 (1)(b).


A very common example of an award of punitive damages occurs when a person is injured in an accident by a drunk driver and the person injured in the accident requests that punitive damages be awarded. Under limited circumstances, punitive damages may be tripled. C.R.S. § 13-21-102 (3).


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Joseph Elio

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Denver, CO 80202