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What Damages Can Be Collected in a Colorado Wrongful Death Case?

05/20/2021

Meta Description: Under the state law of Colorado, you can sue the responsible party or parties under a wrongful death claim and demand recoverable damages for your losses and suffering; in this article, we will explore the details.

Coping with the death of a loved one, especially if they were the sole breadwinner of the family, can be very hard and deeply traumatic for the survivors. The emotional pain of knowing that it was someone’s negligence that took your loved one away from you is beyond explanation, the pain, the horror. What damages can be collected in a Colorado wrongful death case?

But in such perilous times, however traumatic as they may be, you need to confront the practical issues related to the death of your dearly beloved. The financial issues created by a father’s death, for instance, can leave the children in troubled times for the rest of their lives – their prospects for achieving big things in life utterly shattered.

But it does not have to be this way, you have every right to sue the at-fault party for causing this harm to your family and claiming meaningful compensation for their negligence and the losses they’ve incurred upon you.

In this article, we will explore what Colorado’s law says about wrongful deaths, how much can you expect to claim in compensation for the loss of a loved one, and what can a wrongful death attorney do for you.

What Damages Can Be Collected in a Colorado Wrongful Death Case?

Defining Wrongful Death In Colorado

People can incur upon others irreparable and devastating damage without even meaning to do so but this does not make things any better for those who had to suffer. One can argue that intent of causing harm and being negligent cannot be the same, and while we do agree somewhat, this does not make negligence acceptable in any manner.

The death of a person because of someone’s negligence is termed as wrongful death and allows the legal survivors of the deceased person to file a wrongful death claim for the loss of their beloved. This death is more tragic for the survivors of the victim not only because the victim did not have to die at that moment but also because of the thought that someone put so little value on the life of their loved one and let them depart through their negligence.

Wrongful deaths can happen because of motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, fatal car accidents, other motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, animal attacks, workplace accidents, defect products, medical malpractice, workplace injury, and forms of other fatal accidents/events.

In the realm of personal injury law, wrongful deaths are dealt with extra regard because the claim not only deals with the suffering of the accident victim but also with that of their survivors due to the loss of decedent, and the financial problems it may create for them.

Thus the payouts for wrongful deaths are usually much higher than that of other personal injury cases, but of course, this is based on several conditions.

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim?

This is an important one, we need to establish who can file a wrongful death claim for the victim and when. After all, the whole conversation about the sum for the actual damages (economic and non-economic) will be moot unless we explore this area first.

The most natural candidate for filing a wrongful death claim for the victim would be the spouse of the deceased if they had one. Of course, the legal heirs (children) of the deceased may also file this claim if the victim’s spouse permits (or if the said spouse was already dead).

If none of these parties come to the front, then the designated beneficiary of the deceased’s state (if they had nominated someone in their will) can take charge and file a wrongful death claim. But if the deceased had not appointed any beneficiary then their parents (if there are no spouse/children), can file the claim.

Thus the order of priority for filing a wrongful death lawsuit/insurance claim will be as follows: spouse, children, nominated beneficiary, and then the parents of the deceased.

Of course, if the deceased was a young bachelor, then their parents will be the ones who’ll get to file the civil claim – it all depends on the age/status of the deceased at the time of their death.

Just a PS, even if the parents are no longer together (divorced or separated), they will still have equal rights over the compensation sum and if only one of the parents survives then they’ll have complete rights over the settlement amount.

What Damages Can Be Collected in a Colorado Wrongful Death Case? Types of Damages Recoverable Under The Wrongful Death Law

The survivors of a wrongful death victim have to deal with both financial losses and non-economic damages. A fair settlement sum should cover both types of losses and be enough to allow the survivors to go ahead with their lives, or all’s that is left of it.

The economic side of wrongful death damages includes the actual costs of the wrongful death action for the victims and their survivors:

  • Medical bills for the care that the deceased received before passing away
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of income/future income
  • Loss of future earning, insurance benefits, social security, and retirement benefits
  • Loss of the size of property left behind by the deceased (they would’ve gathered a greater wealth had they lived on)
  • Property damage and special damages caused by the incident leading to the wrongful death

And so on…

Keyboard with the work death

The noneconomic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering of the victim
  • Emotional stress for you
  • Loss of companionship/loss of consortium
  • Loss of a role model for the children
  • Punitive damages for wanton conduct/intentional action leading to severe losses, i.e. in a drunk driving accident case, the drunk driver must face strong civil action (exemplary damage) for their negligence, especially if there is convincing evidence against them.

No page is left unturned when a personal injury attorney drafts their demand for your financial compensation. Lawyers make it a point to get the pain and suffering of their victims across as accurately and convincingly as possible, with all the proof and supportive arguments needed.

The insurance company will try to slash down your sum based on the life expectancy of the deceased at the time of death, and any number of other excuses, thus it is best to get lawyers involved.

Limitations Over The Monetary Compensation Sum & Exceptions

As for the financial damages explained above, there are no caps on damages – the greater your losses, the bigger the payout (i.e. based on the financial contribution of the deceased, you can expect a payout that will make for the financial aspect of their loss). However, a wrongful death damage cap does come in place when you’re dealing with non-economic damages.

In most cases, the limit for pain and suffering financial recovery is $250,000 but it may be as high as $500,000 too, plus factoring in future inflation. Also, if the victim had no dependents, then the payout will be limited to around $250,000, although a higher payout of as much as $500,000 is also possible.

The only exception to these limitations is if the wrongful death resulted due to a felonious killing (criminal charge) in which case there will be no limits over how much you can claim. This includes situations where the wrongful death resulted due to first-degree murder; the crime of murder goes far beyond gross negligence and demands extreme legal action.

But as for accidental death, the limit will be applied.

Statute Of Limitations For Wrongful Death Cases

As is the case with all personal injury claims, wrongful death cases are also regulated by a time limit place by the wrongful death statute of limitations. This statutory limit exists to ensure that the defendant can exercise their right to defense without any issue and to prevent the misuse of the law which is possible with a delayed civil lawsuit from a wrongful death plaintiff (this is a common situation in the law so don't take it personally).

If you wish to be heard by the court, you must file your wrongful death suit within two years of the death and take matters to a wrongful death trial, otherwise, you will lose your right to compensation. While there are exceptions to this two-year period of time, it is best to file your complaint on time to avoid any trouble.

Two years may seem like lots of time but it is not, you should call a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to get things sorted out.

We understand how harrowing it must be for you to have to deal with the death of a loved one.

You have every right to bring those who caused you such pain and suffering to accountability for their actions. Negligence can have devastating consequences for the victims but the law does the best it can to allow them to seek compensation for their monetary damages (and otherwise) and thus consider justice served.

While no amount of money will bring back your beloved, you can at least take solace in the fact that those who caused you such pain were brought before the law and had to suffer the consequences of being so negligent and inconsiderate. It takes exceptional courage and resolves for one to stand up for their rights amid such perilous times but we ask of you nothing more than that.

drunk driver driving with blurred vision

Our lawyers, at the Firouzbakht Law Firm, have extensive experience in this field and will handle all the legal and technical stuff while you spend this difficult time mourning the departure of someone who meant so much in your life. You also need not worry about being able to pay us – that’s the last thing on the minds of our experienced attorneys.

Since we operate on a contingency fee basis, we’ll only ask for our payment once you’ve been compensated fairly.

Call us today, and let us handle your case with the level of professionalism and expertise that it deserves.

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