Call (800) 863-5312 to Speak with Westminster Wrongful Death Lawyers for Free
The unexpected death of a loved one can devastate a family; the pain and sorrow are compounded when that loved one’s death was caused by the negligence or intentional actions of someone else. At Zinda Law Group, we understand that a sudden death can place an extraordinary emotional burden upon a family, and it may be even more difficult if financial burdens have accompanied such a tragic circumstance as the wrongful death of someone you love. Nothing can bring a loved one back; still, we want to help in the best way we know how.
Our firm believes that victims’ families should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations. If someone wrongfully caused your loved one’s death, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 today and schedule your free case evaluation with our Westminster wrongful death lawyers.
What is a Wrongful Death under Colorado Law?
In Colorado, a "wrongful death" is a death caused by “a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another” person or entity. If the deceased could have brought a personal injury claim had they survived, their family can bring a wrongful death claim. Since the injured party is no longer around to pursue their claim in court, their family can step in and file a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
Many events can provide a basis for a wrongful death claim, such as:
- Car accidents and other incidents arising out of someone’s negligence
- Medical malpractice
- Intentional acts, such as homicide and other crimes
- dangerous and defective products
- dangerous property conditions
In a successful wrongful death case, a court orders the defendant to pay the deceased person's survivors damages for economic and noneconomic losses resulting from the death. You may file a wrongful death lawsuit regardless of whether the state files criminal charges and regardless of a criminal case’s outcome. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the decedent’s close family members for their loss in an attempt to make them whole after their injury.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Colorado?
The people who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado depends on a few factors. Was the deceased married? Were they a parent, or did they have a named, designated beneficiary?
Typically, in Colorado, if the deceased person has a surviving spouse, only the surviving spouse may file a wrongful death lawsuit for the first year after the death; however, there are several exceptions. In the first year, the surviving spouse may join with the deceased's children to file a claim or they may elect in writing to allow the deceased's children to file the claim. If the deceased was unmarried, then their children or designated beneficiary may bring the wrongful death lawsuit in the first year.
In the second year after the person's death, any of the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, or designated beneficiary may bring a wrongful death claim. If the deceased person's children file a wrongful death case, the surviving spouse and/or designated beneficiary have 90 days to join the lawsuit. If the deceased person was unmarried and had no designated beneficiary or children, the person's parents may bring the wrongful death action.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Colorado?
A wrongful death action must be filed within two years of the victim’s death. The two-year period begins to run on the date of death. This is called a statute of limitations. If the case is not filed within that time period, the case can be dismissed, and you may lose the right to recover damages.
Colorado does have some exceptions to this two-year limitation. For example, if your loved one died in a car crash, your family has three years to file a claim rather than two. To find out if one of these exceptions applies to you, contact Zinda Law Group today.
To avoid missing the deadline set by the statute of limitations, you should call a Zinda law group attorney for a free consultation as soon as possible. Contacting a wrongful death attorney will give you time to understand your options, and give the lawyer plenty of time to help you build the best case possible after your family member’s wrongful death.
What damages can I recover as part of my lawsuit?
Damages are the monetary payments awarded by the court to compensate you for your loss or injury. Economic damages recoverable in a wrongful death action can include:
- medical bills
- lost insurance and retirement benefits
- loss of decedent’s earnings
- loss of decedent’s services
- funeral expenses
- any property damage that occurred during the incident
Non-economic damages recoverable in a wrongful death action can include compensation for:
There is no cap on economic damages in a Colorado wrongful death claim unless there is no surviving spouse, minor children, or dependent parent. There are caps, or limitations, on how much the court can award for noneconomic damages in a Colorado wrongful death claim.
Colorado caps non-economic damages according to the type of damages. For instance, pain and suffering damages are capped at $250,000, or $500,000 upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that the higher amount is appropriate. If medical negligence caused the pain and suffering, then the damages are capped at $300,000.
If there is no surviving spouse, minor children, or dependent parent, the damage cap is set at $250,000. However, if there is clear and convincing evidence for a higher amount, the cap is $500,000. This applies to both economic and non-economic damages.
What Are Loss of Companionship or Loss of Consortium Damages?
Loss of companionship and loss of consortium are types of compensation in wrongful death cases. These damages are awarded because the harm you experience when a family member wrongfully dies at the hands of another cannot solely be measured in terms of lost wages and funeral expenses. Parents, spouses, and children can file a claim based on the emotional loss they experienced after the death or injury of their family member.
Loss of companionship damages are meant to represent the benefits that an individual would experience from the love of and relationship with the decedent. Because the defendant’s negligent or willful conduct led to the decedent’s death, the decedent cannot provide their family the same love, affection, companionship, or comfort they provided before the accident. Because of this harm, the family can bring a claim for these losses.
Loss of consortium damages consider loss of companionship, assistance, and affection as a result of a loved one’s injury or death. To be awarded loss of companionship compensation, a judge or jury examines the familial relationship; they may consider living arrangements, the condition of the relationship at the time of death, and the activities and interests the family participated in together. If you are experiencing a loss of consortium due to the wrongful death of your loved one, contact one of Zinda Law Group’s experienced wrongful death lawyers today to discuss your claim.
Wrongful Death Action versus Survival Action
A wrongful death action seeks damages that the decedent’s loved ones suffer as a result of their death. By contrast, a survival action seeks damages the decedent suffered before they died; for example, if a decedent did not die immediately after the injurious incident, their family may bring a survival action to recover lost economic expenses related to earnings losses during that time of disability, but they will not receive damages for non-economic damages. A family can bring a wrongful death action and a survival action simultaneously.
Can a Fatal Car Accident be a Wrongful Death?
Fatal car accidents are among the most common causes of wrongful deaths. Distracted driving is negligent driving, and if your loved one was killed by a distracted or intoxicated driver, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against them.
If you or someone you love has been impacted by a negligent driver, you may have a wrongful death case. A consultation with one of Zinda Law Group’s personal injury attorneys can help you decide if you would like to bring a wrongful death case.
Call (800) 863-5312 to Speak with Westminster Accident Lawyers for Free
Our Westminster wrongful death attorneys have helped thousands of victim’s families get compensation after a loved one has died. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation for economic and emotional damages, lost income, pain and suffering, and all the other ways your loved one’s death has cost you.
If a family member has died in a car accident or someone in some other way wrongfully caused your loved one’s death, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with our Westminster wrongful death lawyers. We offer 100% free consultations, so you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your wrongful death case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.