How do You Prove Wrongful Death in Colorado?

When you lose a family member as a result of another person’s negligence it can be frustrating. At DCAL these are some of the most emotionally frustrating cases that we have represented. We know that financial compensation will not bring up the loss of a family member. Even, so we do know that you as the family member should not have to bear the cost of the loss while still dealing with the loss of your loved one.

When you are dealing with a wrongful death claim it is important to understand the elements of this type of lawsuit. These elements are what you as the plaintiff should be able to prove so you can prove wrongful death in Colorado and win the case. You should be able to verify these elements so a judgment can be passed and you can be given compensation. How do you prove wrongful death? This article will discuss a few things that you will need to find out about the elements of a wrongful death claim.

The deceased family members are eligible to file for a wrongful death claim when their loved one dies as a result of another person causing the accident with or without intent. The state of Colorado has laws that apply to wrongful death lawsuits. This includes the time limit in which one should file for the lawsuit and who can file for a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death occurs when an individual has been killed as a result of an accident caused by another individual, business entity, or organization. Since the surviving family members can be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit there are a few things that they should be able to prove so their case can yield results. Below are some of the key elements that you will need to prove in your case;

  • There was Breach of Duty – you should be able to prove that the party defending the claim owed your loved one a duty of care and that they breached that duty of care. For example, a driver owes a duty of care to the pedestrians as well as other motorists or drivers on the road. As a motorist or driver you should drive safely and responsibly. It is a driver’s duty to obey all of the traffic rules.
  • Causation – it is important for you to establish that the person defending the claim directly caused the death of your family member. There are incidences where causation is hard to prove. Cases such as medical malpractice or defective products can be hard to prove.
  • Damages – You will need to prove that the death of your loved one has caused damages such as loss of companionship, funeral costs, hospital bills, as well as a loss of income in the household.

A wrongful death claim can be filed after the death of a loved one after any tragic accident that has been caused by an individual or entity’s negligence.

a gavel and legal books on a desk

Here are some of the most common causes of a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Slip and fall accident
  • Trucking accident
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Medical malpractice
  • Work related accidents
  • Construction site accidents
  • Nursing home neglect or abuse
  • Defective products

Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Colorado, a wrongful death claim falls under the category of a civil lawsuit. A criminal lawsuit seeks to punish the party that has committed the offense. Unlike a criminal lawsuit, a civil lawsuit aims to award damages to the family members or individuals that have been afflicted as a result of another person’s negligent behavior. Unlike other civil lawsuits, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be filed by a family member that has survived the deceased.

There are strict guidelines in the state of Colorado about who can bring up a wrongful death claim and the time limit that one has to file that claim.

During the First Year After Death – It is only the surviving spouse of the deceased that can be able to file a lawsuit the first year after the death of their partner.

The Second year after death –The second year after the death of a family member the surviving children or the surviving spouse will be able to file a wrongful death claim. In the case where the deceased did not have a spouse or children the parents of the deceased will be able to file the lawsuit the second year after their death.

After the deceased person’s children file a wrongful death case the surviving spouse or other eligible beneficiary has a period of ninety days for them to join the lawsuit.

Related Content: Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Colorado

How to You Know If You Have a Wrongful Death Case

If you are able to prove the elements of a wrongful death lawsuit you will have a case. The Denver personal injury lawyer that you have entrusted your case to will help you to establish the elements of a wrongful death claim. The lawyers will use their legal experience to be able to evaluate the specific things that you will need to prove concerning your case.

A personal injury lawyer will use their experience and the training that they have to ensure that you are adequately prepared to show all of the elements of a wrongful death claim. As an injury law firm, we can as well be able to help you counter any defense strategies that the defense’s side may use during the legal procedure.

Damages That Can Be Recovered In a Wrongful Death Case

When you are filing a wrongful death case the damages or the losses that the plaintiff is claiming can be divided into two categories is both economic and non-economic categories. The economic damages are paid to the deceased family to cover financial losses that have been suffered. Some of the most frequent types of damages awarded in Denver are:

  • Wages and other compensation that the deceased would likely have earned if he or she had lived.
  • Funeral expenses.
  • Benefits that the family has lost as a result of the death of their loved one. The benefits can include a source of income and life insurance.

Compared to economic damages it is much more difficult to quantify non-economic damages. These damages are intended to compensate for intangible losses suffered by the family after losing their loved one. Noneconomic damages in Colorado will include money that is being paid to compensate the deceased's survivors for:

  • Their grief
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Losing the companionship of the deceased
How do You Prove a Wrongful Death Claim in Colorado?

Colorado, together with many other states, has put a limit on the amount of money that can be awarded to the affected party in a wrongful death lawsuit. The state of Colorado has limited the amount that can be awarded in a wrongful death claim to $571,870. The amount that can be awarded slightly changes after every two years. If the case of the wrongful death lawsuit has come about as a result of a felonious killing then the limits on the amount of damages do not apply.

There isn’t a limit or a precise amount that the court can award in economic damages when it comes to wrongful death in Colorado. That is because every case is different and unique.

Do You Need to Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney in Colorado?

Proving a wrongful death case is not easy. There are a lot of things that you will need to be able to prove, rules and laws of the state concerning who can file this type of lawsuit, and the time at which you can file the lawsuit. If you do not have an experienced Denver wrongful death lawyer walking with you through the journey it can be impossible for you to win your case.

Aside from the fact that you need to prove negligence there are other reasons why you require a skilled and experienced attorney to represent you.

You should keep in mind that in such cases the police, as well as the local officials, are not obligated to help. Also, the responsible party or negligent party is going to get an experienced lawyer who will fight the wrongful death claim brought up against them. For you to be able to stand a chance against them you will need a wrongful death attorney by your side to help you aggressively fight for yourself and your family.

Another reason why you need an attorney is so you can have ample time to grieve. When you are in the period of grieving it can be scary and overwhelming to deal with creditors, insurance companies, and taking legal action. The wrongful death attorney that you will hire will review your case, file the legal motions necessary, closely investigate the case, and carry out negotiations with insurance companies and make sure that you do not miss any critical deadlines.

Attorneys That Can Prove the Elements of a Personal Injury Case

Our Denver car accident lawyers we want our clients to understand the elements of a wrongful death claim and we want to help them get the evidence that will help them prove their claim. We are here for you. Our team will help you through this tough time by offering you strong legal support and advocacy so you can get compensated. Get in touch with an experienced lawyer to schedule your free no-obligation evaluation of your personal injury claim.

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