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I filed a civil suit in Colorado small claims court. Can I ask for monetary damages for emotional distress and my time spent?

Littleton, CO |

For my time, can I charge what my ordinary professional rate is at my occupation or how is that computed?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. First, the amount you are seeking must be within the jurisdictional limits of the small claims court. Emotional distress normally is only awarded if there is risk of physical injury or actual physical injury. Lost wages can be recovered too. However, these issues may make your case greater than the amount of damages that can be awarded in small claims court. I would speak to an attorney about your case.


  2. You don't give much in the way of facts, but I would probably say NO on both counts.


  3. You are likely in front of either Anne Ollada or Christine Chauche in Arapahoe County Court's civil division. As a former County Judge myself who presided over small claims actions, I can tell you that small claims does not provide for emotional distress damages (so you will NOT get those). As far as time spent, that can be awarded in a criminal case as far as restitution. However, in a small claims case, you are not entitled to your professional rate for your occupation. Professional rates are only granted if it is a witness who is testifying as an expert in their field of expertise. It sounds as if you are not necessarily testifying at the small claims court as an expert, instead you are testifying as a litigant. So, you will NOT likely get that compensated either.

    The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice.


  4. It depends on the basis for your claim, but unless you were physically injured it is very unlikely that your claim will allow you to collect for emotional distress. As for the time and stress involved in litigation, you will not recover anything for this unless you have a contract which specifically establishes and provides for such relief. Such contracts are rare. If you actually have a contract that provides for such recovery, you can charge whatever rate was provided for in the contract.

    You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC by phone or email. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.


  5. Mr Leroi has provided a good explanation and I would agree with him

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate by providing feedback that the answer was either "helpful" or "best answer" as appropriate. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Connell is a Colorado attorney licensed in only that state. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question.

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