Wrongful Death Lawyers in Highlands Ranch, Colorado
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The loss of your loved one is understandably a difficult and painful time in your life; adding to the confusion may be the circumstances in which your loved one was killed. If their death was caused by the negligent behavior of someone else, it may be more difficult to move past the anger and confusion. Fortunately, you do not have to face this difficult time alone; the skilled team at Zinda Law Group understands how the wrongful death of a loved one can leave you unsure of the next step to take or whether you may be entitled to compensation.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligent or intentional action, call an experienced Highlands wrongful death attorney from Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
what is wrongful death?
Colorado defines a wrongful death in the Colorado Wrongful Death Act. Under Colorado law, a wrongful death is any death that was caused by “a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another” person, persons, entity, or entities. Generally, the eligible loved ones or beneficiary of a deceased victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit in any situation where the victim could have pursued their own personal injury claim if he or she had survived the accident or resulting injuries. Free Consults 24/7
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common types of wrongful death claims
Wrongful death claims can arise from a wide variety of situations, any of which could potentially result in the victim’s death in some situations. Because of the wide range of applicable law and cases that may apply to your situation in Highlands and could potentially impact the outcome of your case or add additional requirements to successfully pursue compensation, it is crucial that you hire an experienced Colorado personal injury lawyer to help you understand your legal options and help you pursue the maximum compensation you may be entitled to. At Zinda Law Group, our skilled team provides you with a Highlands accident attorney who will use his or her knowledge and expertise gained from years of experience helping other personal injury victims in your area; this lawyer will pursue compensation on your behalf and best handle your wrongful death claim regardless of how the fatal accident was caused.
Common situations that are potentially dangerous and could result in the wrongful death of your loved one include:
- Automobile accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Large, commercial truck accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Medical malpractice
- Birthing injuries
- Dog bites
- Intentional acts, such as violent crimes
- Defective products
how do you prove a wrongful death claim in colorado?
Proving a wrongful death claim is often especially complex, given that you are essentially pursuing a claim on behalf of your deceased loved one. You may be seeking damages suffered by the victim, such as the victim’s pain and suffering experienced before his or her death; you may also be seeking compensation for damages that you have suffered as a result of your loved one’s death, such as funeral costs or the loss of consortium from your deceased spouse or loss of parental support from a deceased parent.
Fortunately, you can call Zinda Law Firm to have your case handled by an experienced wrongful death attorney in Highlands who is well acquainted with the laws applicable to your case. For example, Colorado requires any wrongful death to meet the definition and elements of a wrongful death set by Colorado’s Wrongful Death Act, codified in C.R.S. Section 13-21-201 – 13-21-204. While each case is unique and depends upon the nature and the underlying facts of each individual fatal accident, most wrongful death claims in Colorado require you to prove the following elements to pursue any compensation you may be entitled to:
1. Negligence or Intentional Acts
As with many other personal injury claims, you will generally need to prove that the person responsible for the fatal accident caused your loved one’s death through an intentional action, such as a violent criminal act, or because of the person’s negligent behavior, such as in a medical malpractice case.
To prove the party that caused the fatal accident acted negligently, your wrongful death lawyer will generally need to prove that the other party failed to act with ordinary, reasonable care. In other words, your lawyer will need to prove that a reasonable person would not have acted or failed to act like the defendant did in creating a dangerous situation that ultimately resulted in your loved one’s death. For example, if the victim died as a result of medical malpractice, your lawyer may show that a reasonable surgeon would not have left a surgical instrument in his patient when closing up after an operation.
Further, in some cases, if the negligent behavior was in violation of a law intended to prevent the type of harm that was suffered, your attorney may be able to use the evidence of breaking that law itself to establish a legal presumption that the other party acted negligently, such as when a defendant has engaged in drunk driving, driving at night without any headlights, or carelessly running a red light. If there was no such law broken, your attorney may instead have to conduct a thorough investigation and gather enough evidence from eyewitnesses, photographs, and other sources to show that it is more likely than not that the other party acted negligently.
Meanwhile, if your loved one’s death was an intentional act, your wrongful death attorney will instead likely need to prove that the other party intentionally caused the victim’s death, such as during the commission of a violent crime like robbery, assault, or murder. However, your attorney may also show instead that even if the other party did not intentionally cause the victim’s death, the other party did intentionally cause the situation that led to the victim’s death, such as by setting an occupied house on fire or poisoning a drink meant for someone else.
2. Proof of Death
In a wrongful death lawsuit, proving the other party negligently or intentionally caused an accident is only the first element to proving your case. Your injury attorney will also have to prove that someone died, and this requirement is generally met by verifying the victim’s death by attaching a certified copy of the victim’s death certificate.
Your lawyer will also need to show that you are an eligible family member who can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim. In C.R.S. Sections 13-21-201 and 13-21-202, Colorado specifies which family members can pursue a wrongful death claim as well as lays out the time frame in which each family member may file any such lawsuit. In Colorado, only a surviving spouse can file a wrongful death lawsuit in the first year after the victim’s death, while in the second year after the victim’s death, the deceased victim’s surviving children, surviving spouse, or the victim’s eligible designated beneficiary may pursue a wrongful death claim.
During this second year, if the deceased victim’s children file a wrongful death lawsuit first, then any surviving spouse or designated beneficiary will only have 90 days from the date the lawsuit was filed in which to join the children’s lawsuit. Finally, if the deceased victim was not married at the time of the fatal accident and did not have any surviving children or designated beneficiaries, then the victim’s parents may bring the wrongful death lawsuit.
Like in other personal injury cases, your Highlands accident lawyer will also have to prove that the other party’s negligent or intentional misconduct actually caused the victim’s death. Even if you are able to prove the other party behaved negligently or committed an intentional act that was dangerous, you will not win your case if your attorney is not able to prove that this misconduct actually caused your loved one’s death. If the death was unrelated or the misconduct was not the sole cause or at least a contributing cause of the victim’s death, the other party may not be held liable for the death of your loved one.
Finally, you must prove that the liable party caused damages to the victim or to you by causing the fatal accident. While your loved one’s death generally satisfies the damages requirement to allow you to pursue and potentially win a wrongful death lawsuit, your attorney will need to thoroughly describe eligible damages with evidence to substantiate the amount of damages being claimed. Damages that may be available in a wrongful death claim include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering experienced by the victim before dying from injuries suffered in the accident
- Funeral expenses incurred to bury or cremate the victim
- Medical bills incurred while treating the victim’s injuries before his or her death
- Loss of income from time missed from work between the time of the fatal accident and the victim’s death
- Loss of parental support if the victim’s child or children are part of the lawsuit
- Loss of spousal support and loss of consortium if the surviving spouse filed or joined the lawsuit
- Punitive damages if the liable party’s actions in causing the fatal accident were especially egregious
Your Colorado can help you pursue the maximum compensation for your claim while allowing you to focus on addressing your grief and the loss of your loved one in an accident that could have been avoided had the other party taken more care.
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CONTACT A Highlands wrongful death lawyer TODAY
If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, you do not have to deal with the aftermath alone. The skilled team at Zinda Law Group can allow you to focus on saying goodbye and healing, while your lawyer handles the administrative and legal procedures of filing and pursuing your claim.
Keep in mind that insurers often have teams of lawyers who work to prevent them from paying out large settlements; they will be familiar with these types of cases and the best strategies for avoiding liability or paying as little as possible. The personal injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group also know these strategies and can advocate for you, helping you to even these odds.
Call (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation with an experienced fatal accident lawyer near you in Colorado. You will not pay anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA BY THE NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (2016-2020)
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA (2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2021), JOE CAPUTO (2019-2021), BURGESS WILLIAMS (2019-2020), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020), JOE CAPUTO (2016 – 2020) & BURGESS WILLIAMS (2016-2017)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA & JOE CAPUTO