Every day in Adams County and throughout Colorado, thousands of people suffer all types of personal injuries resulting in physical harm, economic loss, and legal uncertainty. Unfortunately, not all these victims survive these experiences. Whenever a personal injury is fatal, the victim’s family can pursue a wrongful death claim in lieu of the personal injury action the victim could have filed if they survived. While a wrongful death suit is functionally similar to a personal injury claim in several ways, there are a few key differences that you should understand before filing this kind of case.
Compassionate Legal Representation for Adams County, CO, Wrongful Death Claims
If you and your family are mourning the death of a loved one and you believe another party is directly responsible for their death, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. This kind of civil action is procedurally similar to a personal injury claim, but there are specific rules pertaining to eligibility to file a wrongful death suit and the damages available. If you think you have proper grounds for this kind of case, it is important to consult a trustworthy Adams County wrongful death attorney.
The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal offers responsive, compassionate, and meticulous legal counsel to clients in Adams County who need to file wrongful death claims. We know how emotionally stressful these cases can be, and you likely have many questions concerning the impending legal proceedings you and your family face. Whatever your case involves, our firm can provide ongoing support and reassurance as your proceedings unfold.
How to Prove Fault in a Wrongful Death in Adams County
State law limits eligibility to file a wrongful death claim to the closest family members and beneficiaries of the deceased. If the deceased had an estate plan, they might have named a personal representative, and this individual would be responsible for pursuing a wrongful death suit on their behalf. Alternatively, eligibility to file a wrongful death claim usually falls to the surviving spouse of the deceased, followed by their children and other blood relatives.
A wrongful death suit needs to be filed within two years from the day the victim died. The person or party that is responsible for the victim’s death must be identified by the plaintiff, who must then prove that their actions directly caused the death. While most wrongful deaths arise from acts of negligence, it is possible for criminal misconduct to have fatal results. A few commonly cited causes of wrongful deaths across the state are:
- Motor vehicle accidents. These incidents are a leading cause of accidental injuries and deaths in the state each year. Recovery from an accident typically begins with a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, but insurance is unlikely to cover more than a fraction of the total damages involved in a wrongful death case.
- Premises liability. If a slip-and-fall incident on property owned by someone else caused the death of your loved one, it could form grounds for a wrongful death suit under the state’s premises liability laws. Property owners must ensure their properties pose no safety risks to lawful guests and visitors, and they face liability for any injuries resulting from their failure to meet this duty of care.
- Workplace accidents. If a fatal injury occurs at work, the family of the victim could be entitled to death benefits through the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, if a specific party caused the death, they could file a wrongful death suit as well.
- Illegal actions. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol and violent crime can not only cause fatal harm, but they are also serious criminal offenses. Penalties for these offenses increase significantly when they result in death. If your family member died due to another party’s illegal actions, your Adams County wrongful death attorney can help you understand how the nature of the defendant’s actions could impact your family’s recovery.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the ways wrongful deaths can occur. No matter how the death of your loved one happened, the sooner you consult with an experienced Adams County wrongful death attorney, the more time your legal team will have to gather evidence to support your claim. Once you have identified the party or parties responsible for your loved one’s death, you can proceed with your wrongful death suit and seek compensation for your family’s loss.
Claimable Damages in an Adams County Wrongful Death Case
Your Adams County wrongful death attorney can assist you with uncovering all the types of compensation you can include in your case. These will probably include economic damages as well as non-economic damages. Claimable economic damages include the immediate financial effects the death has on the family, such as the financial support they can no longer provide to your family, funeral and burial expenses, and losses incurred by their estate.
Non-economic damages include the family’s pain and suffering, namely the grief and emotional distress caused by the death of the victim. Colorado law limits how much a plaintiff can receive in pain and suffering compensation, but your Adams County wrongful death attorney is a valuable asset for maximizing this aspect of your claim.
The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal can work closely with you and your family to uncover every form of compensation you can include in your case. We’ll help build a compelling civil suit that seeks maximum recovery and streamline the process of securing compensation from the defendant. We aim to settle most cases as swiftly as we can, but if settlement is not an option for any reason, our team can provide the litigation counsel you need in the courtroom. We have successfully represented many wrongful death suits in Adams County and are ready to put this experience to work for your case.
Personal Injury Lawyers FAQs
Q: Can I Claim Punitive Damages for a Wrongful Death in Adams County?
A: Punitive damages may come into play if a wrongful death occurs because of intentional and illegal actions. However, these are not directly claimed by the plaintiff; instead, they are awarded at the judge’s discretion. If the judge handling your case determines that the defendant’s actions exceeded the definition of standard negligence or if they were intentionally harmful in a manner resulting in your family member’s death, they can award punitive damages based on the financial status of the defendant. A wealthy defendant will pay more in punitive damages than one with limited assets.
Q: Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
A: State law limits eligibility to file a wrongful death suit to the victim’s closest family members and beneficiaries. During the first year following the death, only the personal representative of the estate or the surviving spouse of the deceased may file the claim, or they can allow the children of the deceased to file the claim. They also have the option of joining the children in filing the claim together. During the second year after the death, other close family members and beneficiaries can file a wrongful death suit if no one else has already done so.
Q: How Do I Prove Fault in a Wrongful Death in Adams County?
A: Your Adams County wrongful death attorney can help gather the evidence and testimony you will need to assert liability for the death of your loved one. This may require physical evidence from the location where the death occurred, testimony from witnesses who saw the fatal event happen firsthand, and professional insights from expert witnesses in some cases. The sooner you connect with an Adams County wrongful death attorney, the more time they will have to gather evidence on your family’s behalf and build a compelling case.
Q: How Much Compensation Can My Family Win From a Wrongful Death Suit?
A: The total value of any wrongful death case hinges on multiple variables. You have the right to seek full repayment of all the financial losses you and your family incurred from the death, including funeral and burial costs and lost financial support. You also have the right to seek compensation for pain and suffering, but this aspect of your case award is limited by state law. Your Adams County wrongful death attorney can estimate your case’s total potential value.
Q: What Does It Cost to Hire an Adams County Wrongful Death Attorney?
A: The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal accepts personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. This means the client only pays a legal fee if and when they win their client’s case. If the attorney cannot secure compensation for the client for any reason, there is no fee. If the attorney wins the case, the client only parts with a percentage of the final case award. This removes any financial risk of hiring legal counsel when you need it most.
A wrongful death claim is an emotionally charged and procedurally complex ordeal that requires the attention of a seasoned attorney. If you and your family are convinced that another party caused the death of your loved one, the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal is ready to help with your recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free consult with a trustworthy Adams County wrongful death attorney to guide you and your family to a positive outcome in your case.