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Legal Memorandum: Non-payment of No-fault Benefits in CO

Issue: Under Colorado law, what causes of action for non-payment of no-fault benefits survive the insured plaintiff’s death?

Area of Law: Insurance Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Causes of action; Survival; Non-payment of no-fault benefits
Jurisdiction: Colorado
Cited Cases: 274 P.2d 97; 298 P.2d 955; 594 P.2d 1064; 600 P.2d 108
Cited Statutes: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-20-101(1), § 10-4-708(1.8)
Date: 03/01/2004

 

 

Colorado’s Survival Statute provides:

All causes of action, except for slander or libel, shall survive and may be brought or continued notwithstanding the death of the person in favor of or against whom such action has accrued, but punitive damages shall not be awarded nor penalties adjudged after the death of the person against whom such punitive damages or penalties are claimed; and, in tort actions based upon personal injury, the damages recoverable after the death of the person in whose favor such action has accrued shall be limited to loss of earnings and expenses sustained or incurred prior to death and shall not include damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement, nor prospective profits or earnings after date of death.

 

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-20-101(1) (2003).  As is apparent from the face of the statute, “[a]ny action which is not enumerated as an exception to this statute survives the death of a party.”  People ex rel. M.E.W.F., 42 Colo. App. 495, 496, 600 P.2d 108, 108 (1979) (citing Kling v. Phayer, 130 Colo. 158, 274 P.2d 97 (1954)).  Accordingly, most causes of action survive, since only libel and slander causes of action abate upon the death of a party.

With respect to claims for punitive damages, the Colorado Court of Appeals has held that such claims do not survive the death of personal injury plaintiffs.  In Estate of Burron […]

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