What You Need to Know About Colorado’s Wrongful Death Laws
Colorado’s wrongful death laws clearly outline who can sue for damages following the untimely death of a loved one and when they can do so. Losing someone you care about is never easy — when that death is due to negligence or a criminal act, the grieving process is often compounded by the stress of dealing with unplanned funeral expenses and other financial consequences. Though legal action is rarely the first thing on one’s mind in these situations, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is often the best way to maintain your financial security in the weeks, months and years to come.
Who Can File?
In Colorado, the surviving spouse, children or parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, if there is a surviving spouse, his or her claim will take priority over others — in fact, a spouse has the exclusive right to sue for wrongful death for up to a year after the incident.
Following the first year, the deceased’s children are able to submit a claim for damages. If the deceased had no children and no spouse, his or her parents may sue for wrongful death. In Colorado, a spouse is defined as any legally married partner. In some cases, however, a common-law union may be recognized.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
To successfully sue for wrongful death in Colorado, it must be established that the death was a direct result of the negligence or fault of another person. Common situations in which a wrongful death claim may be filed include traffic accidents, on-the-job accidents, and accidents caused by defective products or poorly maintained facilities.
In many cases, the defendant may also be facing criminal charges. The point of pursuing a wrongful death suit is not to further punish the individual, but rather to obtain compensation for the damages incurred as a result.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
Wrongful death lawsuits can involve compensation for both direct and indirect costs relating the incident. As many accident victims will incur large hospital bills, medical expenses are some of the most-commonly sought damages.
In most cases, there is no limit to the amount of money that can be awarded. It is also possible to sue for loss of companionship and future earning potential — for these, however, compensation is limited by statue. A skilled wrongful death attorney can help you determine the correct amount of damages to seek as you begin to prepare your case.
Contact Laybourne Law Firm for Assistance
If you’ve lost someone close to you and are worried about your financial future as a result, Laybourne Law Firm can help. We are a wrongful death law firm serving Colorado Springs with more than 12 years of experience navigating our state’s legal system. Contact our office to arrange your free consultation with a wrongful death attorney today.