CGIA Summary

Claims must meet criteria set forth in the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA). The following summary provides highlights concerning the CGIA, which is found at 24-10-101 through 24-10-119, C.R.S. Claimants should refer to the actual text of the CHIA, and should seek the advice of an attorney for legal questions about 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:

  1. Operation of a motor vehicle owned or leased by a public entity, by a public employee while in the course of employment,
  2. Operation of a public hospital, correctional facility or jail,
  3. A dangerous condition of any public building,
  4. A dangerous condition of a public highway, road or street,
  5. 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,
  6. The operation and maintenance of any public water facility, gas facility, sanitation facility, electrical faculty, power facility, or swimming facility by such public entity.
  7. The operation and maintenance of a qualified state capital asset that is the subject of a leveraged leasing agreement.
  8. 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 C.R.S. 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.

Notice of legal claims against the State under the CGIA can be accomplished upon mailing by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or upon personal service within 182 days of the loss to the Attorney General's Office.  24-10-109, C.R.S. Upon receiving claim information, the State Office of Risk Management (SORM) sets up a claim file and, in cases involving claims of property damage or bodily injury, may assign claims to adjusters to investigate the occurrence and bring the claim to conclusion, either by settlement or denial. Legal action against the state may not be commenced until after SORM has denied the claim or 90 days have passed, whichever occurs first. State statutes limit recovery for damages, which are paid by SORM under the Risk Management Act. 

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.