Recently, a U.S. district judge ruled that Pfizer was obligated to pay approximately $1.8 million in punitive damages to a woman who developed breast cancer after taking the company’s menopause drug. Despite its widespread recognition, the term punitive damages remains largely misunderstood.

What are punitive damages?

In Colorado, punitive or exemplary damages are designed to punish wrongdoers for engaging in fraud, malice, and willful and wanton conduct. Willful and wanton conduct is behavior that is undertaken purposefully and without attention to others’ safety or rights.

Establishing a punitive damages claim

To succeed in a punitive damages claim, you need to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the conduct was willful, wanton, malicious or fraudulent. Examples of misconduct that might meet this standard include:

  • A communications company that fails to regularly inspect equipment such as utility poles for dangerous conditions.
  • A business owner who sets fire to a competitor’s business to “get even.”
  • Drunk driving.

Punitive damages limits in Colorado

Under Colorado law, punitive damages are usually limited to the amount of the actual damage award. A court may also reduce or block an award of punitive damages even after a jury decides in favor of the award.

If you believe that you or a family member suffered harm due to a person or entity’s intentional misbehavior or recklessness, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Bell & Pollock have more than 20 years of experience helping injured Coloradans receive the punitive damages they deserve.

Contact Us

Call a trusted attorney at Bell & Pollock, P.C. at (303) 795-5900 to get on the road to recovery now. You can also email our firm via the contact firm on this page.

As proud champions of the people, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions, explain the law and your rights, and help you take whatever steps necessary to recover the compensation you’re entitled to. With us in your corner, you can be confident that you have the legal support and representation necessary to successfully resolve your claim.

Don’t delay your recovery for a second longer – and don’t be misguided into thinking that you have to go through the process alone. Our attorneys are here, ready to help – and you won’t have to pay us anything until (or unless) there is a recovery in your case.

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Case Results


CASE: Client was injured by a drunk driver. As a result of the motor vehicle accident, client was rendered a quadriplegic and needed a life care plan.
Outcome: $9,600,000

CASE: Against Insurance company for failure to pay for property damage after a gas and fire explosion.
Outcome: $1,600,000

CASE: Medical malpractice for failure to diagnose a descending aorta aneurism, resulting in death.
Outcome: $1,300,000

CASE: Neck and back injuries from car accident. Client had ongoing symptoms and needed injections for attempted remediation of pain.
Settled for $485,000

CASE: Client was injured in a 2 vehicle collision. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, concussion and multiple injuries to the neck.
Outcome: $6,000,000

CASE: Client was in her car and was T-Boned by a commercial vehicle. Her cerebral spinal fluid leaked and she suffered a concussion and traumatic brain injury with neck and lumbar (low back) injuries. Her neck injury caused radiating pain, numbness and tingling in her arms.
Outcome: $3,400,000

CASE: Client was driving on a rural road when another car crossed the center line and caused a head-on collision in the snow and ice. Client did physical work for a living. Both knees were injured, along with a neck injury.
Outcome: $2,300,000

CASE: Client was driving on South Parker road when another vehicle rapidly changed lanes and rear-ended the clie