Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Colorado?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Phillip Chupik with Metier Law Firm.
Wrongful deaths can occur in a myriad of ways and may be difficult at first to determine, but as a general rule if someone’s death could have been avoided, the death may have been wrongful. Understanding what constitutes a wrongful death is important, because whenever someone’s death occurs due to negligent or intentional conduct on the part of one or more parties, it may be possible to file a wrongful death claim to pursue not only the damages the victim could have sought had they survived, but also damages specific to the surviving family’s losses as a result of the death. However, the rules regarding who can file a wrongful death claim can vary significantly from state to state.
In Colorado, the following parties may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim:
- Spouse of the deceased
- Child or children of the deceased
- Parents of the deceased
- Heirs of the deceased
- Designated beneficiaries of the deceased
The deadline for wrongful death claims is two years in Colorado, and the laws are highly specific regarding when certain parties can file.
Colorado wrongful death law is unique in that the first year after the death, a claim may only be brought by the surviving spouse of the deceased. Only if the deceased had no spouse can the deceased’s heirs or designated beneficiaries bring a claim in this year. Alternate parties may come forward to file a claim in the second year following the death. However, it’s important to begin the process of filing right away, as important evidence can quickly go missing and the statute of limitations or deadline for filing the claim is only two years from the death. This is why it’s important to reach out to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after whatever incident caused the injuries leading to the death or the death itself. A wrongful death attorney can quickly collect evidence, build a case, and help determine who is eligible to file on behalf of the deceased at any point in time.
Damages that may be sought in a wrongful death lawsuit are unique.
The damages that can be sought in a wrongful death lawsuit are also unique, and are designed to help a family in their financial recovery as well as to compensate for their emotional loss in some small part. Damages that may be sought in a wrongful death claim can include medical bills from treatment prior to the deceased’s passing, compensation for wages lost during their treatment or death, compensation for the deceased’s pain and suffering, and more. Additional damages unique to wrongful death claims may include compensation for lost income, especially if the deceased was a primary wage earner, as well as loss of care and companionship due to the deceased’s passing; funeral and burial expenses may also be awarded in a claim like this.
To identify and calculate the full extent of the damages, it’s important to reach out to a wrongful death attorney for help. These lawyers typically offer free consultations to grieving families and even work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients don’t pay for their services unless and until they win, at which point the attorney receives a previously agreed-upon portion of the winnings. The loss of a loved one especially due to the negligent conduct of one or more parties is devastating, and families of wrongful death victims are encouraged to explore every option for recovery and to do so as soon as possible.