When someone you love has been tragically lost, the grief can be overwhelming. And while nothing can compensate for the loss of a loved one, you shouldn’t have to suffer unnecessarily. It’s important to understand that you have rights and that the Colorado Springs wrongful death attorneys of the Green Law Firm, P.C. are available to answer any questions you might have.
It is difficult to consider money after such a tragedy, but creditors are rarely sympathetic. Just months after their loved one’s death, struggling families may suddenly find themselves facing large amounts of debt and falling behind on their bills.
During this difficult time, insurance companies often pressure families into accepting settlements that are far below what they need.
Why Choose Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Colorado Springs?
Our experienced and dedicated wrongful death lawyers will help you review all of your legal options, and negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. Your wrongful death attorney can even help you file a wrongful death lawsuit, and hold the negligent party responsible for your loved one’s death.
Contact the Colorado Springs wrongful death attorneys of the Green Law Firm, P.C. to schedule a free, no-pressure consultation, and get dedicated help today.
What is a Colorado Springs Wrongful Death?
In Colorado Springs, a wrongful death is considered to have occurred when an individual dies as a direct result of another person’s negligence, misconduct, or intentional action. This could encompass a variety of scenarios, such as car accidents caused by reckless driving, medical malpractice resulting in a patient’s death, workplace accidents due to insufficient safety measures, or even intentional acts such as murder.
A wrongful death claim is a legal action brought by the close relatives or estate of the deceased person, seeking compensation for their loss. This compensation can include expenses related to the deceased’s final medical care and funeral, loss of future earnings, loss of companionship, and emotional distress suffered by the survivors.
Colorado law governs who can file a wrongful death claim, the types of damages that can be recovered, and the time limit (or statute of limitations) within which the lawsuit must be initiated.
Examples of Colorado Springs Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A wrongful death lawsuit arises when someone’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional action leads to the death of another person. In Colorado Springs, there are numerous circumstances where a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate. Here are some examples:
- Car Accidents: If a loved one dies in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence or reckless behavior, such as drunk driving, speeding, or distracted driving, a wrongful death claim could be filed.
- Medical Malpractice: When a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or nurse, fails to provide an acceptable standard of care and that negligence leads to a patient’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit could be brought.
- Workplace Accidents: If an employer’s disregard for safety regulations leads to a fatal workplace accident, the family of the deceased could sue for wrongful death.
- Product Liability: If a person dies as a result of using a defective product, the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of that product could be held responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Premises Liability: If a property owner’s negligence causes a fatal accident, such as a slip and fall, the deceased’s family could file a wrongful death claim.
- Pedestrian Accidents: If a pedestrian or cyclist is struck and killed due to a motorist’s negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit could be an appropriate course of action.
Who is Eligible to File a Colorado Springs Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Each state has a civil “wrongful death statute” which outlines the procedures for bringing wrongful death actions. In Colorado, the surviving spouse is the only one eligible to file a wrongful death claim in the first year. During the second year, both the surviving spouse and children of the decedent are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving spouse or children, parents of the decedent may file a claim.
The right to file a wrongful death claim is generally structured in a timeline following the death.
- For the first year after the death, only the deceased person’s spouse can file a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving spouse, the deceased’s children can file the claim.
- If the spouse does not file a wrongful death claim within the first year, during the second year after the death, both the spouse and the children can file a wrongful death claim.
- If the deceased person has no surviving spouse or children, the parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In addition, the representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a “survival action” to recover certain types of damages that aren’t typically recoverable in a wrongful death claim, such as medical expenses incurred before death, funeral and burial costs, and pain and suffering endured by the deceased prior to death.
Colorado Springs Wrongful Death Laws
Colorado laws surrounding wrongful death claims are codified in CO Code § 13-21-202 (2021) and the surrounding sections. They are designed to provide a legal recourse for the surviving family members and loved ones of an individual who has died as a result of someone else’s wrongful act, neglect, or default.
Here are some key aspects of the law:
- Who Can File: During the first year following the death, the decedent’s spouse has the exclusive right to file a wrongful death claim. If the decedent did not have a surviving spouse, the deceased’s children may file. If there is no spouse or children, the parents of the deceased may file a claim. During the second year, the decedent’s spouse, children, or either can file a wrongful death claim.
- Damages: Claimants may seek both economic and non-economic damages, which could include medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages, loss of benefits, loss of companionship, and more. There are certain caps on non-economic damages, which a lawyer can explain.
- Negligence: In order to win a wrongful death lawsuit, you must be able to prove that the death was caused by the negligence, or reckless or intentional behavior, of another party.
- Felony Murder: If the defendant has been charged with murder or manslaughter in relation to the death, a separate wrongful death claim can still be filed.
- Survival Actions: Colorado law allows the estate of the deceased person to bring a survival action to recover damages that the deceased could have recovered if he or she had lived. This includes medical expenses and the pain and suffering the deceased endured prior to death.
Compensation for Colorado Springs Wrongful Death
When wrongful death claims are successful, survivors may recover monetary compensation for their loved one’s losses. These damages can include medical expenses prior to death, and funeral and burial costs. It can also include the loss of the victim’s earnings potential and the loss of benefits including medical coverage, pension plans, and retirement benefits.
Non-economic losses are also considered in wrongful death lawsuits and can include compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of companionship.
Some examples of compensation that might be claimed include:
- Lost Wages: This includes the wages the deceased would likely have earned if they had lived and continued working.
- Loss of Future Earnings: Damages can be awarded for the income the deceased would have earned in the future, had they not passed away. This is particularly relevant if the deceased was a significant contributor to household finances.
- Loss of Support and Services: If the deceased provided significant services such as childcare, cooking, cleaning, or maintenance, compensation could be awarded to cover these lost services.
- Loss of Parental Guidance: If the deceased had minor children, compensation could be awarded to cover the loss of parental guidance and upbringing.
- Loss of Consortium: This is a form of compensation awarded to a surviving spouse for the loss of companionship, affection, comfort, and sexual relations.
- Emotional Distress: Family members might be able to receive compensation for the emotional trauma and grief they’ve endured due to the loss of their loved one.
- Legal Fees: In some cases, the court may award damages to cover the legal fees and related expenses incurred during the lawsuit.
Furthermore, family members may be able to collect punitive damages. Punitive damages are often awarded in wrongful death lawsuits. These types of damages not only seek to punish the wrongdoer for their negligent behavior, but they also discourage others from acting in a similar fashion.
If someone you love has been killed, we can help you and your family through this difficult time. Contact our personal injury law firm to review all of your legal options. Helping grieving families obtain peace of mind is our only priority.
Statute of Limitations for Colorado Springs Wrongful Death Claims
In the state of Colorado, the law provides a specific timeframe within which wrongful death claims must be filed. This period, known as the statute of limitations, is generally two (2) years from the date of the decedent’s death. This means that if a wrongful death claim is not filed within this two-year period, the right to pursue compensation may be forever lost.
However, there can be exceptions to this rule. For example, if the decedent’s death was caused by a motor vehicle accident, the statute of limitations can extend to three (3) years. Furthermore, in cases where the cause of death was not discovered immediately, the statute of limitations may start from the date of discovery rather than the date of death.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of another person, it’s important to understand that you may have options available to you. Navigating through the loss of a loved one can be a painful and confusing time. With the legal complexities and looming deadlines associated with wrongful death claims, it’s crucial to have an experienced, compassionate legal advocate by your side.
Colorado’s best attorneys are at the Green Law Firm P.C. We are dedicated to helping you through this difficult journey, offering support, guidance, and the legal expertise necessary to secure the compensation you deserve. Don’t face this challenging period alone. Contact the experienced Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys of the Green Law Firm, P.C. today, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. Call 719-694-8515 or fill out the contact form on this page to get dedicated legal help.