According to the Aspen Daily News, RFTA is weighing its options for settling the 2012 New Year’s Eve wrongful death lawsuit filed by the victim’s family. News leaks indicate that RFTA is considering paying the mother of the victim the maximum amount – $150,000 – allowed under Colorado’s Governmental Immunity Act (GIA) for 2012. It sounds like RFTA is “battle weary” from the ongoing litigation and switch in plaintiff’s counsel.
As noted in a recent Aspen Daily News article on a separate accident involving a RFTA bus, the cap for liability of a governmental agency increased in July 2013. The GIA generally limits the exposure of a Colorado governmental entity from tort (personal injury) claims. There’s an exception that allows claims for injuries sustained from a vehicle owned by a governmental agency or operated by an employee in the scope of their public work. Ambulances, firetrucks and other emergency vehicles are still granted immunity due to the nature of their use. The cap for damages under the GIA was $150,000 for one person until July 2013. The ceiling has been raised to $350,000 per C.R.S. 24-10-124.
In order to sustain a personal injury lawsuit against a Colorado governmental agency, written notice of the injuries is required to allow the government to investigate the incident. A claimant has 182 days to file a notice with the applicable government agency under C.R.S. 24-10-109. There are also specific requirements for the content of the notice and how it is delivered.
The plaintiff in the 2012 New Year’s Eve collision cleared all those notice hurdles in the GIA. Now we wait to see if RFTA ponies up for the decedent’s family.
[Edit on 11/29/2013: This post was edited because Aspen attorney Jeff Wertz was apparently misquoted on the notice provisions for the GIA.]