Colorado and Denver Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one in an accidental death can cause emotional pain and suffering as well as financial hardship for a family. The emotional burden of the loss can make it very difficult to move forward. You need trusted legal guidance from a knowledgeable Colorado attorney who understands the ordeal that you and your family are experiencing.
Our attorneys at The Sawaya Law Firm firmly believe that people who suffer a death in the family as a result of the negligence of others should not have to bear the financial and emotional impact of that loss alone. We are guided by our law firm’s heritage of justice. While nothing can replace your lost loved one, it is important that your family maintain financial stability and not be burdened with medical debt. If your family member has died in an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, our Denver wrongful death attorneys want to talk with you. Our compassionate attorneys will answer your questions and explain your legal options during a free consultation.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit in which the survivors of an individual who has been killed as a result of someone else’s negligence or misconduct sue for compensation for their grief and financial hardship. The lawsuit is typically filed against the person, business or other entity that is believed to be responsible for the death.
A wrongful death action may arise from an accidental death such as a car crash or a malicious act such as a violent assault.
Sometimes, a death may result in both criminal charges and a wrongful death lawsuit being filed. For example, a drunk driver who causes a fatal accident may be charged with vehicular homicide and also be sued by the family of the person killed. The criminal charges and civil lawsuit proceed separately. A criminal prosecution is intended to punish a wrongdoer and is brought by the police and government prosecutors. A wrongful death lawsuit is a separate civil action filed by the survivors to obtain monetary compensation.
To collect compensation for a wrongful death, the individual or group of individuals filing the civil lawsuit must show that a loved one’s death was caused by the negligence, disregard for safety or intentional act of another person or entity.
Colorado law allows families that have been harmed by the wrongful acts of others to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for the loss. The statute of limitations in Colorado requires that the lawsuit be filed within two years of the death.
The experienced Colorado wrongful death lawyers at The Sawaya Law Firm can help you pursue compensation if your family has lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s carelessness or intentional acts. We have extensive experience handling wrongful death lawsuits and the resources needed to pursue these claims.
Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Case?
Colorado’s Wrongful Death Statute allows the close relatives such as the spouse or children who were economically dependent on the deceased person to file a wrongful death claim.
Colorado law gives the surviving spouse priority in filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the first year after the death. If the deceased individual is unmarried and did not have children, then the parents of the accident victim are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim under Colorado law. Other potential heirs such as siblings or nieces and nephews are not permitted to file a wrongful death claim in Colorado.
In addition, Colorado law gives the designated beneficiary of a wrongful death victim the right to bring a wrongful death claim. The law defines a designated beneficiary as one who has entered into an agreement with another person for each to designate the other as their beneficiary.
What are Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases?
There are a number of scenarios in which an individual or business may be held liable through a wrongful death claim for damages related to the death of your loved one.
Wrongful death claims often involve motor vehicle accidents such as fatal car crashes caused by careless drivers or intoxicated drivers. Motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents that involve deaths also may be the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Fatal workplace accidents may lead to a wrongful death claim. The family of a worker who is killed in an on-the-job accident cannot file a lawsuit against the worker’s immediate employer. But the family of the deceased may be entitled to sue others for compensation such as another contractor working on the same job site or the manufacturer of an unsafe piece of machinery that caused the death.
A preventable medical error by a doctor or other health care provider leading to a patient’s death may be the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit.
A family member’s death caused by a defective product such as an unsafe prescription drug or a medical device may also be the basis of a wrongful death action.
The knowledgeable Denver wrongful death lawyers at The Sawaya Law Firm offer a free consultation to review the details of your loved one’s death and discuss your legal options for holding those who caused the death accountable.
What Damages Can be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Colorado law allows the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages related to the loss of a close family member. The types of compensation that may be sought include:
- Economic damages
- Pain and suffering and emotional stress
- Loss of companionship
- Exemplary damages when the death was due to malicious or wanton conduct.
Economic damages include funeral expenses of the deceased as well as the loss of financial benefits that you would have received from your loved one if he or she had lived. For example, if your husband who supported the family dies, you may seek compensation through a wrongful death claim for his past and future earnings. Estimating the dollar value of financial benefits is complicated. It involves taking into account many factors including the age and life expectancy of the person who died, their earning capacity and their disposition to provide monetary support.
Exemplary damages, sometimes referred to as punitive damages, may be in order in a wrongful death accident in which the conduct of the responsible party was intentional, malicious or outrageous.
The types of compensation that are appropriate to seek depend on the specific facts of the case. Let our attorneys review the details of your loved one’s death and discuss what types of compensation are appropriate to seek.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Understanding and following Colorado laws pertaining to wrongful death claims can be complicated. The stakes are higher because a death is involved. The insurance company representing the at-fault party will have attorneys looking out for the insurer’s financial interests. You should have an experienced attorney fighting for justice for you and your loved ones. The insurer will try to pay the least amount possible to resolve the claim. Without the assistance of a seasoned attorney who has experience dealing with insurance companies, you may receive a fraction of the amount you should receive in compensation.
It is important to contact The Sawaya Law Firm immediately so that our experienced Colorado wrongful death attorneys can start an investigation of the cause of the death. The sooner you call, the faster we can get to work identifying the responsible parties, gathering evidence, finding surveillance tapes and preserving the integrity of evidence from the accident scene. Security camera video tape may show how an accident occurred, but it may be recorded over in a matter of weeks if it is not preserved as evidence.
We will estimate your economic and non-economic losses resulting from your loved one’s death. Based on having handled thousands of personal injury and wrongful death cases, our wrongful death law firm will have a well-developed sense of the value of your claim. We will negotiate on your behalf for a maximum settlement. If the insurer refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement, our attorneys will be prepared to seek justice in court. At The Sawaya Law Firm, we are experienced trial attorneys who take pride in our law firm’s heritage of justice.
Whether someone you love has died in a fatal car accident, workplace accident or as a result of medical malpractice, the attorneys at The Sawaya Law Firm have the resources and experience to represent you effectively. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to talk with you.