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Denver Wrongful Death Lawyer

According to Colorado law, a person who is injured because of another’s intentional wrongdoing or negligence may seek compensation from the wrongdoer. Unfortunately, some accidents are fatal. In such cases, surviving family members may bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent party. Wrongful death claims offer an important way for surviving family members to seek justice for the loss of a loved one. They also ensure that those who have lost a family member are not put into dire financial straits as a result of their loss. It is crucial to have an experienced Denver wrongful death lawyer on your side if you are considering filing a claim.

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Jordan S. Levine

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Understanding Colorado Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims can be filed by close family members of someone who is killed in an accident as a direct result of negligence. Wrongful death claims can be brought after an auto accident, after a defective drug or product causes death, after medical malpractice or a slip and fall injury occurs, or in any other situation where someone dies due to another’s negligence or wrongdoing.

A wrongful death claim is intended to make the party responsible for the death pay for the losses of the victim who was killed, as well as the losses of the family members who were left behind. Wrongful death damages can cover medical expenses incurred before the death as well as funeral expenses and lost wages. They can also cover other losses, including loss of companionship and emotional support.

Often, it is difficult to determine exactly how much compensation is appropriate in a wrongful death case. Placing a value on human life is challenging in any situation. Colorado courts consider several factors when valuing a wrongful death claim, starting with the relationship between the deceased and the person bringing the claim. Spouses, children, and parents may all bring wrongful death claims under certain circumstances. Damages are based on the relationship shared between the family member and the person who was lost.

Another important factor courts consider in wrongful death claims is the loss of financial support that the deceased victim would have provided to the person bringing the claim. To calculate the value of lost wages and benefits, it is important to consider the life expectancy of the deceased, his or her salary or potential salary, and the number of years that he or she would have worked.

Due to the complexities of proving wrongful death claims and determining damages, it is important to have an experienced Denver wrongful death lawyer assist you in calculating and proving damages.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Colorado?

The state places certain restrictions on wrongful death lawsuits. That includes limiting who can sue.

The following family members generally have the legal right to seek compensation for wrongful death in Colorado.

  • Spouses: A surviving spouse is the only person who can sue for wrongful death in the first year after a loved one passes away. Other heirs can join a lawsuit filed by the spouse, but only with the spouse’s written consent.
  • Children: A deceased person’s kids, including step-children, can sue for wrongful death after the one-year period.
  • Parents: Parents can sue in the second year after an adult child’s death if the person did not leave a surviving spouse or children. Parents of children who die in an accident can also file a wrongful death suit without having to wait for a year.
  • Other heirs: A deceased person’s heirs can seek compensation for wrongful death if the person has no surviving spouse, children or parents. A personal representative for the deceased person’s estate can also sue for wrongful death.


Overview of Wrongful Death Damages in Colorado

Close family members and those who were receiving financial support from the deceased victim can bring a wrongful death claim against a person responsible for causing the death of their loved one as a result of negligence, intentional wrongdoing or some other breach of legal duty. 

Family members – including parents of minor children, spouses and children who lost their parents – and the representative of the estate may be able to recover economic damages from the defendant, including:

  • Wages and other compensations that the deceased likely would have earned if they had lived
  • Amounts compensating for the loss of benefits that would have been provided by the deceased
  • Medical expenses, including hospital bills, emergency care, and expenses related to the deceased person’s final illness or injury
  • Any funeral or burial expenses.

Family members can also recover non-economic damages for pain, suffering, grief, and loss of companionship.

While there is generally no limit on the amount of economic damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death action, there is a cap on non-economic damages.

Calculating Wrongful Death Non-Economic Damages Under Colorado Law

Under the Colorado Wrongful Death Act, the plaintiff in a case wrongful death damages can opt for a flat solatium award in lieu of non-economic damages. The award of $50,000 is adjusted for inflation as needed.

If a wrongful death plaintiff accepts the solatium award in lieu of non-economic damages, they need only prove liability and not the extent of their non-economic damages.

If the plaintiff does not accept the solatium award, they can sure for a higher amount of non-economic damages. Colorado law originally capped wrongful death non-economic damages at $250,000, but the limit has increased significantly over the years with adjustments for inflation.

Are There Any Caps on Money Damages in the Cases?

Yes. State law imposes certain limits on the amounts of specific types of damages, depending on the situation.

  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for pain and suffering due to the loss of a loved one is generally capped at $250,000, or $300,000 in medical malpractice cases.
  • Medical malpractice: The total compensation from wrongful death resulting from medical malpractice is topped at $1 million.
  • No surviving spouse: In cases where the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse, the total compensation is capped at $250,000 or $300,000 in medical malpractice cases.

Because of these caps, it is important to explore all the possible types of money damages available and maximize the compensation. A Denver wrongful death attorney at Levine Law can help you understand your rights and consider your options.

What is the Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

Colorado imposes a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. That means that a person generally must file a claim within two years of a loved one’s death or risk losing the right to seek compensation.

How Do I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Colorado?

A wrongful death claim is much like any other personal injury lawsuit. It is a legal claim filed in a court with jurisdiction, alleging that a person or entity is legally responsible for your loved one’s death and demanding compensation.

Fortunately, many wrongful death cases can be resolved without going all the way to trial. In some situations, simply making a pre-lawsuit demand for compensation is sufficient to begin settlement discussions.

How Can a Denver Wrongful Death Attorney Help?

At Levine Law, our Denver wrongful death attorneys help people and families fight back after losing a loved one. We are tireless advocates for our clients, dedicated to getting them the full compensation available. Our track record of success includes many six- and seven-figure verdicts and settlements in wrongful death cases.

Denver wrongful death claims are complex, not only because of the need to prove damages but also because so much is at stake. Whether you settle the case or fight for damages in court, it is important to have the very best legal representation to handle these intricate cases.

At Levine Law, our injury lawyers have more than 20 years of experience representing injured victims and surviving family members. Our AV-rated lawyers have a long track record of fighting vigorously for our clients and of providing caring representation during the tough times after a loved one has been lost.

To learn more about how we can help you with your wrongful death claim, contact us today at 303-333-8000 or reach out to us online. Someone is standing by to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and your consultation is free.