As with every other state in the U.S., the laws that govern wrongful death lawsuits in Colorado vary on a large scale. For example, Colorado has a different set of rules regarding who, in particular, may file a lawsuit, as well as the types of damages the plaintiff may file in a Colorado courtroom.
Moreover, depending on the type of case being filed (and other factors), Colorado civil courts also place time limits for filing these types of cases. At any rate, it is always in your best interest to find a good wrongful death lawyer to help you file a civil court claim.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
However, before going any further, it is important to define a wrongful death lawsuit, and the circumstances under which these types of cases can be filed. A wrongful death claim occurs when someone dies due to the fault of another party. Probably the most common wrongful death claim occurs when a driver kills another person in a car accident.
Wrongful death claims can also take place when someone dies due to the fault of another entity. For example, someone may die in a car accident due to faulty brakes or poorly designed airbags. With these types of claims, the survivors of the accident could potentially file a wrongful death suit against the automobile manufacturer—which is probably the reason why we see so many recalls from car makers. Other types of wrongful death claims include slip and fall accidents, injuries caused by faulty products and other accidental situations.
In Colorado specifically, the survivor in a wrongful death claim must prove that either an individual or company was liable (or responsible) for the death of another. To do so, the claimant needs to show that the victim’s death was caused by negligence, recklessness or intentional behavior by the other individual.
In a wrongful death case, it is always a good idea to find a professional wrongful death lawyer to help you out.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Colorado?
The law books in Colorado spell out the rules regarding who can file a wrongful death claim, as well the time limits that apply to the claimants.
Again, the laws vary from state to state, but in the state of Colorado, the surviving spouse of the deceased individual is the only one who can file a wrongful death lawsuit within the first year of the victim’s death. After two years, both the surviving spouse and children may file a lawsuit in civil court. If the deceased person does not have a spouse or children, the parents may file a claim instead. Either way, the Colorado statute of limitations says that all wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the death.
What Types of Damages are Awarded in Wrongful Death Claims?
Family members filing for a wrongful death claim in Colorado may be able to seek damages for any of the following:
- Any wages or compensation the victim may have earned if he/she survived the accident.
- Benefits (for example, life insurance, health insurance and retirement) lost in result of the death.
- Loss of love, care, protection and affection of the individual who is now deceased.
Working with a Wrongful Death Lawyer
In general, a wrongful death claim can be a civil case, meaning that it must be filed by a family or a personal representative of the family. Also, liability is expressed regarding money only. If you think that you could benefit from legal representation, reach out to your wrongful death lawyer at the offices of Heuser & Heuser today to learn more.