Denver Wrongful Death Attorney
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What to Do Following a Wrongful Death
Wrongful death actions are maintained by surviving beneficiaries who usually learn of the death after the fact. If you were involved in or a witness to the incident, the first step is to make sure there is no additional danger. Then you will want to call 911.
Document the Accident
Immediately after a wrongful death, if you are able, document and gather general accident information. Fill out an incident report and gather information for any witnesses. If there are video cameras, ask for footage. Take pictures of the scene of the accident and what caused the accident.
Collect Relevant Evidence
Police or other investigators might collect some evidence in a wrongful death case, but often the collection of relevant evidence is up to the survivors. A Denver wrongful death attorney can help you identify important evidence and contact key witnesses for your wrongful death case.
Call a Colorado Wrongful Death Law Firm
As soon as you are able, contact a wrongful death law firm. Valuable evidence can be lost or destroyed if you don’t act quickly. Experts might be needed to investigate the incident. A wrongful death attorney guides you through this process, ensuring important evidence is preserved and your rights are protected.
Work with a Denver Wrongful Death Attorney You Can Trust.
CO Trial Lawyers is a Denver Personal injury and wrongful death law firm devoted to our clients. We will make sure your rights are protected every step of the way and hold the wrongdoer accountable for their actions. This helps provide closure to survivors, assists with unexpected financial burdens, and protects everyone else in the community by deterring similar wrongful or reckless conduct in the future. If settlement is not possible, we are ready to take your case to trial. Don’t settle for less, contact one of the best wrongful death law firms today.
Frequently Asked Wrongful Death Accident Questions
What is a Colorado wrongful death action?
Wrongful death actions in Colorado are governed by statute. Colorado’s wrongful death act is C.R.S. §§ 13-21-201 through 13-21-204. If someone dies or is killed because of the negligence or misconduct of another, survivors are able to bring claims or lawsuits for a wrongful death. A wrongful death action is a type of lawsuit that allows a survivor to seek compensation for their loss. This includes loss of companionship and lost wages. In a Colorado wrongful death action, a survivor may also recover for damages such as the mental pain and suffering related to their loss.
Why are Colorado wrongful death cases different from other claims?
Colorado wrongful death cases are difficult for many reasons. They involve the passing of a loved one and are therefore extremely serious and emotional in nature by default. They almost always involve serious safety issues that concern the entire community. There are often complicated aspects of the law that apply in wrongful death cases, such as who is allowed to bring a lawsuit and what damages are allowable. Wrongful death accident cases are also difficult because many jurors consider wrongful death actions taboo in a sense. Their feeling is that money will not bring the deceased back to life. It will not fix the harm. Therefore, some jurors do not see the purpose in bringing lawsuits for these horrible losses.
Who can bring a wrongful death claim in Colorado?
In Colorado, not everyone who knew a decedent can be a plaintiff in a lawsuit for their death. The law states that in the first year after a wrongful death accident, the surviving spouse may bring the action for the wrongful death, or if he or she elects, the spouse and or the heirs of the deceased may bring the lawsuit. In the second year after the death, the spouse and or the heirs may bring the wrongful death action.
What damages can you recover in a Colorado wrongful death case?
Damages for a Colorado wrongful death case can include noneconomic losses, including the grief, loss of companionship, impairment of the quality of life, inconvenience, pain and suffering, and emotional stress that the survivor has had and will have into the future. These types of damages are often hard to quantify, but they are every bit as real as economic losses. A wrongful death accident lawyer can present these damages to a jury in a way that fully conveys the impact the loss has had on your life. Wrongful death accident damages in Colorado also include any economic losses, such as funeral, burial, internment, or cremation expenses, and any net financial loss that the survivor has had because of the death of their loved one. The net financial loss is the same as what the survivor might have expected to receive from the decedent had they lived. This includes benefits from future earnings and contributions to the household, etc.
In determining these wrongful death damages in Colorado, a jury will be tasked with considering the age, health, and life expectancy of the survivor, as well as the ability to earn money, the industriousness, and the nature of the relationship between the survivor and the decedent. These are all areas that are likely to be challenged by the defense’s wrongful death lawyer. That is one reason that you should have an experienced wrongful death lawyer on your side.
In Colorado, wrongful death damages are subject to a cap on noneconomic damages. The cap on wrongful death damages in Colorado is $250,000.00 adjusted for inflation. In 2020, the adjusted limitation for wrongful death damages was $436,070.00. However, if your Colorado wrongful death lawyer can establish that the wrongful act, neglect, or default causing death constituted a felonious killing under a preponderance of evidence standard, then there is no cap on the number of noneconomic damages that are recoverable. A felonious killing has the same elements as the crime of murder in the first or second degree or manslaughter as those crimes are defined in sections 18-3-102 to 18-3-104 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.
Alternatively, a survivor can elect to sue for and recover a solatium in addition to economic damages. The solatium is a set amount that is chosen instead of noneconomic damages which would otherwise be recoverable. The statutory solatium amount for a Colorado wrongful death action is $50,000.00 adjusted for inflation. In 2020, the adjusted solatium amount was $87,210.00.
Lastly, where the death is attended by circumstances of fraud, malice, or willful and wanton conduct, a jury may award exemplary damages that cannot exceed the amount of the actual damages awarded to the injured party.
What do Denver wrongful death attorneys do?
Your Colorado wrongful death lawyer will help you obtain compensation for your loss. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help a jury understand that while money cannot bring someone back, it can help restore the surviving family members’ lives to some semblance of normalcy. It can also provide emotional closure and a sense that the wrongdoer was forced to account for their actions. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, holding negligent or reckless parties accountable for wrongful deaths protects everyone from injury and death in the future by deterring similar conduct. This makes the community a safer place.
Should I talk to the insurance company after a wrongful death?
No. You should not talk to an insurance company or sign any documents after a wrongful death accident before you talk to a Denver wrongful death attorney. From sending low settlement checks to demanding blanket authorizations for all of your protected medical records, the insurance companies know what they are doing. Insurance companies try to minimize the amount of money they have to pay you for the actions of their insured. Make sure you talk to a wrongful death law firm before talking to the insurance company.
Do I still have a wrongful death case if the decedent was at fault?
Maybe. Any defenses that would have been available to a bodily injury case will likewise apply in a wrongful death action. These defenses can include comparative fault or assumption of the risk. This means that in wrongful death cases, defense counsel will often argue that the decedent was negligent and contributed to or caused their own death. If a jury determines that a decedent was comparatively at-fault, the survivor’s damages may be reduced by that pro-rata liability. If a jury determines that a decedent was 50% or more at-fault for their death, then the survivors will not be allowed to recover damages.
A Colorado wrongful death lawyer can help explain the subtleties surrounding wrongful death liability and defenses.
How can a Colorado wrongful death attorney help me?
Your wrongful death lawyer understands that you are going through an incredibly difficult period of your life. Your lawyer will help you navigate the maze of complicated wrongful death laws and hold the wrongdoers accountable for your loss. This includes taking steps to preserve important evidence that can help maximize your recovery and prove the elements of your case. Videos and incident reports can disappear, and witness information can be lost. A wrongful death lawyer will send out a preservation letter to make sure the at-fault party preserves any important information. If they fail to do so, they may be subject to an adverse instruction if the wrongful death case goes to trial.
The evolution of Colorado’s wrongful death laws can be a confusing web of statutes and case law that many attorneys and judges are unable to agree on. If you have lost a loved one because of someone’s carelessness or recklessness, contact a Colorado wrongful death law firm today to protect your rights. In most cases, wrongful deaths could have been prevented with common sense and a little caution. We can reduce these horrible losses and make our communities safer for families and friends by holding negligent parties accountable for their actions. Don’t settle for less, call the top wrongful death attorneys at CO Trial Lawyers today for a free wrongful death accident case evaluation.
Find Your Colorado Wrongful Death Attorney at CO Trial Lawyers
CO Trial Lawyers is a dedicated personal injury law firm that brings experience and representation to those involved in a wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado. We also represent those in the Denver area who need a motorcycle accident lawyer, distracted driving attorney, bad faith insurance attorney, and much more. Visit our personal injury law firm resources to find more advice from the best wrongful death lawyers in Denver. Get the results you deserve with CO Trial Lawyers.
If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death accident, contact our personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.
Get in Touch with Our Wrongful Death Attorneys to Begin the Process
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Unfortunately, there can be many causes for wrongful death claims. There are also ways to seek justice. The best wrongful death lawyers are successful in cases involving automobile accidents, nursing home neglect, workplace hazards, medical malpractice, and violent criminal actions. Wrongful death actions deserve to be fairly settled or brought to court – while financial compensation does not fix the grief that goes along with the wrongful death of a loved one, it can restore some semblance of normalcy and stability for those affected.
Possible Outcomes of Wrongful Death Cases
The best lawyers for wrongful death typically seek to deliver the following compensational outcomes for wrongful death case:
- Coverage of Funeral and Burial Fees
- Pain and Suffering Compensation
- Anticipated Future Contributions
- Other Monetary Damages
Coverage of Funeral and Burial Fees
The immediate expenses following the death of a loved one can be massive. From the hospital bills, funeral fees to the cremation and burial costs, the financial burden quickly adds up and can be crippling to anyone who does not have an excess of disposable savings. If your loved one passes due to the negligence or malpractice of an individual or institution, that large financial burden should not fall on your shoulders.
Pain and Suffering Compensation
The pain and suffering following a wrongful death can be immense and deserves to be acknowledged and compensated for in whatever way possible. While gaining compensation for the loss of a loved one does not in any way heal the grief, it can help alleviate some stress following the incident. On top of that, having a financial cushion allows for many survivors to seek mental health treatment to aide their emotional healing.
Anticipated Future Contributions
When a loved one who actively contributed to a household income dies suddenly, financially planning for the future can become even more daunting. The best wrongful death lawyers can assist survivors in calculating anticipated contributions that would have been provided by the deceased and try to gain an equivalent compensation in your case. That way, survivors can often maintain a similar standard of living and remove some of the emotional burden of financial instability.
Other Monetary Damages
When it comes to sudden deaths, there are often a lot of unexpected financial losses, such as inheritance, insurance protections, and beyond. The best lawyers for wrongful death will help you identify other instances where you and your family may be impacted down the line, ensuring that your case and compensation are comprehensive. You should not have to navigate this process alone, get in touch with a wrongful death law firm today to ensure you get the justice you deserve.
Advice from the Best Wrongful Death Lawyers
There are some forms of evidence that can greatly increase the likelihood of success in a wrongful death case. While things are likely emotional and fast-paced following the incident, it is extremely beneficial to start planning for legal action immediately. If possible, following the incident, try to do the following:
Document the Accident
If you have the ability or time, do your best to document some general information about the accident. As soon as possible, complete an incident report and gather information from any witnesses. If available, take photos or ask for footage if the incident took place in an area with security cameras. Get photos of where the incident occurred and whatever caused the accident. Write down or record any relevant information you have about what occurred.
Gather Any Evidence
Investigators and police officers may collect some evidence at the scene following a wrongful death accident. After that unfortunately, the survivors are typically the ones responsible for gathering the bulk of the evidence. Beyond any images and information collected from the accident, there is also a lot of evidence that can be gathered after the fact that can greatly improve your case. The best lawyers for wrongful death can help you organize relevant and valuable evidence following the death of a loved one. Whether it is evidence of earnings, receipts, a death certificate or information from witnesses, any insight can help in your case.
Record Related Expenses
Things typically move very quickly during and after the death of a loved one but try your best to record and save any expenses from ambulance rides to funeral costs. As listed above, these unanticipated damages are commonly able to be returned to the survivors following a wrongful death, often with additional compensation for pain and suffering. Be sure to take note of what you are paying throughout the time following the accident, so you can potentially get that money back with the help of a lawyer.
Note the Emotional Impact
This is a less precise piece of advice because grief can present itself in many different ways. However, it can be helpful to take note of the emotional impact a wrongful death has made on you and your loved ones. Whether grief has affected your mental health, your concentration at work, or a child’s performance at school – these are important details that often deserve to be presented in a wrongful death case. Write it down and save any documentation that shows the impact that this incident has made.
How Can the Best Lawyers for Wrongful Death Help?
The best lawyers for wrongful death can help you throughout the difficult legal process following the loss of a loved one. Get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible, so they can help you find the next steps for building your case and seeking justice for this terrible incident. You should not have to navigate this process alone. Access valuable insight and expertise from an experienced personal injury attorney.
Navigate Your Case with the Best Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you or someone you know could benefit from expert guidance and legal support from one of the best lawyers for wrongful death in Colorado, CO Trial Lawyers can help. We provide unmatched legal expertise, so people can get justice, compensation, and most importantly, closure following the death of a loved one. Get in touch with Jake C. Eisenstein to start discussing your case.
Contact the personal injury lawyers at CO Trial Lawyers today to schedule a free case evaluation from the best lawyers for wrongful death in Colorado.