We know that it is never easy to mourn the loss of a loved one. Whatever the circumstances, the grief of a loved one is overwhelming, particularly if the death could have been prevented.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death claim is a unique type of lawsuit wherein a person dies due to someone else’s negligent or intentional act. Unlike a typical personal injury suit, wrongful death suits are filed by the deceased person’s surviving family members. Wrongful death claims allow the family members or loved ones of a deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death. Claims are usually filed against a person, business, or other entity believed to be responsible.
Wrongful Death Claims in Colorado
Colorado has its own specific laws governing wrongful death. There are precise rules regarding who can file. The following family members can file a wrongful death suit:
- Spouse – Colorado grants the surviving spouse priority filing rights. Only a spouse can file a wrongful death complaint within one year of the family member’s death. If other heirs wish to join the lawsuit, the spouse will need to provide written consent.
- Children – after the first year following a family member’s death, children and spouses are allowed to file wrongful death suits.
- Parents – parents can file a wrongful death suit in the second year after their child’s death. Parents can only file if the deceased has no surviving spouse or children.
- Heirs – if the deceased person left no spouse, children, or parents, their heirs can file a wrongful death suit. Alternatively, the representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a survival action.
What are Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases?
Wrongful death claims can happen in different ways. They usually arise from situations where the victim was killed as a result of another person’s negligence. Or someone can be held accountable for their intentional actions that resulted in someone else’s death. Either way, wrongful death cases are considered to have been preventable deaths. Here are a few common scenarios that would have a basis for wrongful death.
- Motor vehicle accidents. Wrongful death complaints are often seen with motor vehicle accidents. An example of this would be a fatal car crash caused by a drunk or reckless driver. Pedestrians, bikers, and motorcyclists can also be victims of deadly crashes that can serve as a basis for wrongful death lawsuits.
- Fatal workplace accidents. Family members of victims who are killed in accidents on the job cannot directly sue the employer. But they may be able to sue other liable parties for compensation. For example, a family could file a lawsuit against the manufacturing company for a defective piece of machinery that caused the death.
- Preventable medical errors. Medical malpractice happens when a doctor fails to diagnose appropriately or makes a mistake while providing care. If a patient dies as a result of a medical professional’s error, the victim’s family may be able to take action. Note that medical malpractice and medical negligence are not the same as a patient whose condition progressively worsens or who has an untreatable condition.
- Defective product. Examples of this could be unsafe prescription drugs or defective medical devices.
What Damages Can I Claim in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Damages are categories of losses that were a result of wrongful death. Surviving family members may be able to receive compensation for these damages. Some examples include:
- The deceased family member’s pain and suffering (often called a survival claim.) Wrongful death laws allow financial compensation to the beneficiaries or those who suffered because of the death. A survival claim allows the deceased person’s estate to be awarded damages that the deceased person would have recovered had they not died. Survival claims essentially allow additional compensation to the family members. Damages could include the deceased person’s pain and suffering but also their lost or reduced wages.
- Medical treatment costs. The deceased victim may have had medical bills incurred as a result of the injury before their death.
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of income due to the deceased person’s death
- Loss of inheritance as a result of death
- Value of services that the deceased would have provided if he or she were still alive
- Loss of care, guidance, and emotional support that the deceased would have provided
- Loss of love and companionship due to the death
- Loss of consortium
Do I Need a Denver Wrongful Death Lawyer in Colorado to File a Lawsuit?
Understanding Colorado law with regards to wrongful death is not always easy. The stakes are higher than usual since someone’s life has been lost. The insurance company for the party at fault will most likely have attorneys defending their financial interests. It would be best if you also had an experienced Denver wrongful death attorney fighting on your side. Insurers will try to pay the least amount possible to resolve the claim. We understand that no amount of money can make up for losing a loved one’s life. But family members of a deceased person from wrongful death deserve to get the maximum compensation possible. This can help loved ones cope and continue with life as best as they can. Without the assistance of experienced attorneys who have what it takes to deal with insurance companies, you could receive a fraction of the amount you are entitled to.
Denver wrongful death attorneys will estimate your economic and non-economic losses that resulted from your loved one’s death. We will negotiate aggressively on your behalf for a maximum settlement. However, we are prepared to seek justice on your behalf if the insurers refuse to agree to a fair settlement.
Contact a Denver Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one’s life due to wrongful death, contact our Denver wrongful death attorneys as soon as possible.
With a combination of a proven track record, impressive financial resources, esteemed legal reputation, and a compassionate approach, we believe there is no better Denver wrongful death attorney team than us.