Injuries resulting from car crashes, slip-and-falls and other accidents caused by the negligence of someone else can be serious and the effects can be felt for a lifetime. In the worst of cases, the injuries may be so bad that they result in death. In these situations, a wrongful death lawsuit should be filed.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Though wrongful death suits can be filed in Colorado, only a limited number of people have the right to file them. These individuals include spouses, children and other lineal descendants who suffer damages resulting from the death of their loved one – typically due to the loss of financial contributions to the household. Spouses may also have a claim for loss of consortium (companionship and intimate relationship) with their other half. In addition, if the decedent (dead person) named any designated beneficiaries, they, too, can file a wrongful death claim.
Under limited circumstances, the parents of the decedent may have the right to file a wrongful death claim. However, in order to do so, the decedent must have been unmarried and childless at the time of their death.
What Is The Purpose Of Colorado's Wrongful Death Act?
According to Colorado's Wrongful Death Act, the purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to protect those who, through no fault of their own, are left with the emotional and financial burden of the decedent's death. And in order to recover for wrongful death, you must be able to prove that the defendant negligently or intentionally caused the death of your loved one.
How Long Do I Have To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Colorado, the statute of limitations within which you must file a wrongful death lawsuit is two (2) years from the date of death, unless the defendant fraudulently conceals facts giving rise to your claim or you suffer from a disability that prevents you from filing your wrongful death claim within this time period.
What Types Of Damages Can I Receive In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Typically, there are two (2) categories of damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit: (1) economic, and (2) non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the decedent's medical bills associated with their fatal injuries, funeral costs, the amount of money that the decedent would have received in retirement or pension plans, and the lost income the decedent would have made if they were still alive.
There is no cap or maximum amount of economic damages that decedent's dependents (spouse and children) can recover in their wrongful death suit.
On the other hand, non-economic damages include compensation for loss of emotional support and companionship that the decedent would have given to his or her spouse and minor children in addition to the pain and suffering endured by the decedent's surviving loved ones.
Unlike economic damages, there is a cap on the amount you can receive as non-economic damages, unless the wrongful death of your loved one was the result of manslaughter or murder. This cap is $250,000.
If your loved one has been killed as the result of someone else's negligence or intentional conduct, an experienced personal injury attorney, like those at the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal, can assist you in determining whether you have a valid claim for wrongful death and if a lawsuit is in your best interests. Our attorneys can also evaluate how much your claim may be worth and will be by your side through every step of the way. For a free consultation, contact one of our personal injury attorneys today at (303) 825 – 2223, or visit us online.