If another individual caused the untimely death of someone you love, you may be left with extensive financial burdens, grief, and uncertainty about what’s next. That’s why knowing Denver wrongful death lawyers you can trust is important.
Our team of experienced Denver personal injury lawyers can help you deal with the aftermath of a sudden tragedy caused by negligence. We know that no amount of money can relieve the pain of losing a loved one, but we can help you seek compensation for your losses during this difficult time.
Request a free consultation with Zinda Law Group to learn how we can assist you.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Denver, call 800-863-5312
Wrongful Death Defined
Wrongful death can be defined as a death that results from an accident caused by another person’s negligent or intentional acts. In these cases, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek economic compensation from the at-fault party for your losses.
This includes your financial losses, such as funeral expenses and lost income, along with loss of consortium or loss of companionship.
Wrongful Death in Denver lawyers near me 800-863-5312
What to Do After an Accidental Death
Consult an Attorney
If you have lost a loved one in an accident and believe the accident may have been caused by someone else’s negligent behavior, you should contact a Denver wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. This allows your attorney to have ample time to investigate the details of your claim, determine liability and negligence, and potentially file any lawsuit against the responsible parties before the statute of limitations expires.
Obtaining a Death Certificate
Obtaining the deceased person’s death certificate from the Colorado Department of Health may be helpful because it can support your case. It can also give your legal team a document they can use to support your claim for damages.
Document the Accident
You should document as much evidence regarding the accident as possible before taking legal action. You should attempt to collect or take photographs of the accident site and objects that may have been involved in an accident. It is also important to get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
Appoint a Personal Representative of the Estate
In a wrongful death case, you will need to appoint a personal representative of the estate of the deceased to represent the surviving family members if one is not already named in a will.
Investigation of Accident
Once you have contacted an experienced attorney, they will begin to investigate the accident and determine if you may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit. They will help you file the lawsuit and potentially recover compensation for your lost loved one.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
In order to successfully pursue a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove the following:
Duty of Care
In order to prove liability, it must be shown that the person at fault for the accident had a duty of care towards the deceased. A duty of care is an obligation for the at-fault party to behave in a certain manner and take precautions to prevent an accident.
Breach of Duty
It must then be shown that this duty of care was breached, such as by driving under the influence or speeding.
Even if a duty of care and the breach of that duty have been proven, it must still be proven that this breach caused the accident that resulted in the wrongful death.
A claim can be denied even if duty, breach of duty, and causation can be proven, but damages or injury to the victim cannot. However, in wrongful death cases, damages and injuries to the victim are usually presumed if the other factors can be proven – as the accident resulted in the victim’s death.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Many surviving family members wonder, do I have a wrongful death case? And the answer can be complicated. Not everyone can file a claim for a loved one’s wrongful death. Legal action can often be brought by:
- Spouses. if married at the time of the accident
- Children. if at least one year has elapsed since the victim’s death or the victim’s spouse is no longer alive
- Parents. if the victim left no surviving spouse or children
A sibling cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado.
Child Wrongful Death
If a child under the age of 18 dies in an accident, and negligence may have been involved, the child’s parents can file a wrongful death claim.
However, the damages that parents may seek in these cases are limited to financial damages, which may be much smaller than similar damages for an adult who contributes to the family’s financial ability.
Parties that Can Be Held Liable
In a wrongful death case, a variety of parties may be held liable, depending on the type of claim and the details surrounding it. These parties may be liable:
- At-Fault Driver: If they behaved in a negligent or reckless manner, such as a drunk driving accident that led to a wrongful death.
- Car Manufacturer: If they were negligent in the design or manufacture of the vehicle or its parts, and a malfunction caused the car accident.
- Government Entities: If poor maintenance of roadways or related objects caused a fatal accident.
- Trucking/Cargo Company: If a large truck or 18-wheeler was the cause of the trucking accident resulting in death due to negligence.
- Employer: The employer may be held liable in many workplace accidents, often for a failure to promote effective safety measures, conduct proper oversight, or comply with safety regulations, as well as in cases where the employer’s employee negligently caused the accident.
- Employee: Employees may be held liable if they negligently cause the workplace accident or the unsafe condition that led to the fatal accident.
- Physicians: If the doctor behaved in a negligent manner that resulted in the death of the patient.
- Product Manufacturer: If a medical device or medication was manufactured and/or distributed negligently, resulting in a medical malpractice accident.
- Product Manufacturer: If the manufacturer of a defective product that caused death through a malfunction acted negligently during the manufacturing or design process of the product.
- Retailer: The retailer or distributor who sold the defective product may also be liable for some wrongful death claims.
- Property Owner: The property owner is the most common party held liable for unsafe conditions.
- Employees: Some employees may be held liable if they negligently caused the unsafe condition.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one due to an accident where negligence was involved, you should contact a Denver wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help guide you through the process, investigate your claim, and help to seek compensation to deal with the financial burden of covering damages.
Once you have hired an experienced wrongful death lawyer, they will begin the process of investigating the accident that resulted in the death of your loved one and the details surrounding it. This investigation will help them to determine who is liable and potentially prove negligence.
Your attorney will present your claim to the defendant or their insurers, and they will give a counteroffer. Your Denver wrongful death lawyer will use the facts uncovered during their investigation to help strengthen your claim. This negotiation may go on for some time until a settlement is reached.
If no settlement can be reached, the case may go to trial. Your lawyer will go to court to prove liability and negligence in order to seek compensation by judgment.
Wrongful Death Compensation
Wrongful death compensation laws vary by state. In Colorado, wrongful death laws allow for a family to collect both economic as well as non-economic compensation.
The victim in a wrongful death lawsuit may have survived for some time after the accident before succumbing to their injuries and may have incurred heavy medical expenses. Compensation for economic damages, such as medical expenses, will usually include costs of hospital stay, treatments, and medications.
Other examples of economic damages include:
- Burial costs: Compensation for burial costs usually covers the cost of funeral services and burial.
- Loss wages: Compensation for lost income awards are based on lost income during the time period after the accident but before the loved one’s death, as they were unable to work during this time due to injuries.
- Loss of Earning Potential: Compensation for the potential income a lost loved one could have been expected to earn during a normal lifetime. This is calculated according to the deceased’s salary at the time of the accident, sex, age, health, nature of occupation, and other variables.
- Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering damages offer compensation for the physical and emotional pain or agony the victim may have suffered before their death as a result of the accident. Pain and suffering compensation varies according to the nature of the injuries and details surrounding the accident.
- Emotional Distress: Emotional distress damages compensate for emotional anguish and distress suffered by the family due to the victim’s death. This compensation can vary according to the details of the case.
- Loss of Parental Guidance: If the victim of a wrongful death was survived by their children, the children may be eligible for compensation for the loss of their parents and the care they provided.
- Loss of Companionship: If the victim of a wrongful death was survived by a spouse, the spouse may be able to claim compensation for the loss of companionship due to the wrongful death.
Statute of Limitations
In Colorado, the statute of limitations requires the family of a victim of a wrongful death accident to file a claim within two years of the death. If the claim is not filed within this time, it will most likely be dismissed.
It should also be noted that there are time restrictions on when certain family members may file a wrongful death claim in Colorado. Only a surviving spouse can file a wrongful death claim during the first year after death. During the second year after death, a wrongful death claim may be filed by a surviving spouse, surviving children, or surviving parents in the absence of a surviving spouse or children.
Common Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful deaths can occur in a variety of ways. Sadly, most cases are the result of someone else’s negligence. These are some of the most common scenarios that can lead to someone’s wrongful death.
Motor vehicle accidents can often prove fatal. Common causes of car accidents caused by negligence include distracted drivers, drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or fatigued drivers.
In most car accident cases, the negligent driver will be at fault, but if the accident was caused by a mechanical malfunction or a dangerous road condition such as a deep pothole or bridge failure, the car manufacturer or government entity may be at fault.
Due to differences in size and weight, accidents involving large trucks or 18-wheelers often result in the death of the driver or passengers of the cars involved. These accidents are often caused by negligent behavior such as fatigued driving, driving under the influence, and distracted driving.
Some accidents may be caused by mechanical malfunctions, such as brake or tire failure. Depending on the nature of the accident, the driver and/or the trucking or shipping company that owns the truck may be at fault.
Despite substantial regulation, many workplaces often present many dangers and cause fatalities. Common causes of wrongful death include failure to enforce proper safety rules, properly maintain safety equipment, or effectively train employees to perform work safely.
If a wrongful death is caused by a workplace accident, the employer may be at fault, as well as any negligent employees, present third parties, manufacturers, or others who contributed to the workplace accident.
Medical professionals may be at fault for the death of a loved one. Such behaviors can include cutting corners or using shortcuts in procedures to save time and effort, misdiagnosis of a condition, failure to diagnose it completely, or failure to follow proper protocols during a procedure.
The physician responsible for the patient may be at fault for their death if they have acted negligently, and in some cases, the hospital or doctor’s employer may also be liable.
We increasingly rely on a variety of manufactured products and machinery to go about our daily lives, but sometimes these machines and products can malfunction with deadly results.
Defective products are usually caused by flawed designs or manufacturing defects. In these cases, the product manufacturer, distributors, or retailers may be at fault.
Various injuries are often suffered while on the premises of a business or other third party. Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury on the premises of another.
These falls can sometimes cause a traumatic brain injury, severe internal injury, spinal cord injury, or other serious injury leading to the victim’s death. If a death has occurred, the property owner will often be held at fault, in addition to any negligent employees or third parties who may have contributed to the unsafe conditions that caused the premises liability accident.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Is This Claim Valid?
When a victim is killed as a result of negligence or an intentionally harmful act.
What do You Need to Prove?
You will need proof that their actions were a direct cause of the death. You will also need proof that the victim’s death caused the damages you are seeking to recover.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The spouse or the surviving children. If there are no surviving spouse or children, the parents may file the claim.
Should You Have an Attorney?
This answer is almost always yes. Hiring a qualified personal injury attorney with experience in wrongful death cases is vital when seeking compensation for the death of your loved one.
Cost of Hiring a Denver Wrongful Death Attorney
Some surviving family members choose not to hire a personal injury lawyer for a wrongful death claim because they think it will be costly. However, hiring a law firm for your civil lawsuit can be even more affordable than hiring a single lawyer.
Zinda Law Group can offer you a strategic consultation at no cost to help you determine if you have a valid case and are entitled to damages.
Our experienced lawyers can also work for you on a contingency basis. That means we can protect you and your rights, and you only have to pay if we win financial compensation for you – that’s our No Win No Fee Guarantee!
Call Zinda Law Group Now to Learn About Your Legal Rights
If you are a relative of a victim that is deceased due to another party’s negligent behavior, it is important that you retain the services of a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Zinda Law Group is a Denver personal injury law firm that has handled numerous wrongful death cases.
Our Denver wrongful death lawyers will put their experience to work to seek the best possible settlement or judgment for you. Call to get a free consultation with us to explore your options.
Meetings with Attorneys by appointment only.