Successful claims must meet criteria set forth in the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA). The facts must fall within one of the "waived" areas of sovereign immunity and there must be legal liability involving negligence. Claims filed under Federal law are not required to meet these criteria.
Waivers fall into eight general areas:
- Operation of a motor vehicle owned or leased by a public entity, by a public employee while in the course of employment,
- Operation of a public hospital, correctional facility or jail,
- A dangerous condition of any public building,
- A dangerous condition of a public highway, road or street,
- A dangerous condition of any public hospital, jail, public facility located in any park or recreational area maintained by a public entity, or public water, gas, sanitation, electrical, power, or swimming facility and,
- The operation and maintenance of any public water facility, gas facility, sanitation facility, electrical faculty, power facility, or swimming facility by such public entity.
- The operation and maintenance of a qualified state capital asset that is the subject of a leveraged leasing agreement.
- Failure to perform an education employment required background check as described in 13-80-103.9, C.R.S.
Note: With the 2012 Legislative Session the definition of 'dangerous condition' was amended to include 'controlled agricultural burn' and 'prescribed fire' in response to the Lower North Fork fire that occurred in March 2012.
Each of these waivers has specific exceptions that are noted in CRS 24-10-106 and subsequent case law. Please note: The Governmental Immunity Act relates to all governmental entities in Colorado and not just state government.
A damage claim has legal standing once it has been filed in writing, within 182 days of the loss, at the Attorney General‚ Office, as required by statute. Upon receiving claim information, the State Office of Risk Management (SORM) sets up a claim file and assign claims to adjusters to investigate the occurrence and bring the claim to conclusion, either by settlement or denial. State statutes limit recovery for damages, which are paid by SORM under the Risk Management Act. State agencies are prohibited by statute from making payments for damages themselves. The statutory references are CRS 24-30-1510(3)(e) & 24-30- 1520 respectfully.
The restrictions of the CGIA may seem unfair to some individuals, however, the legislature felt it was necessary to protect citizens from the excessive taxation that would result from unlimited liability.