Aurora Wrongful Death Lawyers

There’s no way to prepare for losing a loved one to a wrongful death. At Bachus & Schanker, we understand the sudden loss of a loved one can leave you distraught and traumatized. It’s understandable for surviving family members to focus on their grief, but you also deserve justice for your loss.

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Aurora wrongful death lawyers are here for you

Your world may feel like it’s coming apart after a wrongful death. Your loss may leave you struggling to work, perform regular tasks, or interact with others. Unfortunately, while struggling with typical tasks, your responsibilities may increase after a wrongful death. That’s why we have a Victim’s Advocate Team of professionals with experience in the legal system and law enforcement who will find the witnesses and evidence needed to prove someone else’s negligence caused your loved one’s death. 

Our Aurora wrongful death attorneys will use their research to support your wrongful death claim. Our Victim’s Advocate Team can also help you locate financial assistance you can use while we resolve your case. Our dedicated professionals are here to support you and fight to get you the justice you deserve after a wrongful death.

Leading causes of wrongful death

Any accidental cause of death or criminal action resulting in death could qualify as wrongful death. Wrongful deaths aren’t defined by the cause of death. What matters is that the at-fault party’s negligence or deliberate actions caused the person’s death. 

Although proving a wrongful death suit centers on the at-fault party’s conduct, there are many common causes of wrongful deaths, including the following:

  • Aviation accidents: Accidents involving aircraft in the United States claimed 376 lives in 2021, including four fatalities outside the aircraft. Aviation accidents include accidents involving private and commercial planes and helicopters. 
  • Bicycle accidents: Bicycling may be a healthy, environmentally-friendly way to exercise or commute, but bicyclists are vulnerable when traveling on roadways. Bicycle accidents injure over 130,000 people and claim approximately 1,000 lives annually. 
  • Birth injuries: More than 15,000 infants died from birth injuries between 2000 and 2011. A 2019 study revealed that in almost one-quarter of birth injury cases, the birth injury claimed the life of the infant, mother, or both. 
  • Car accidents: There were over 5.25 million reported traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2020, causing 38,824 fatalities
  • Criminal acts: Criminal actions, including assault, homicide, nursing home abuse, sexual assault, and manslaughter, can result in wrongful death. If a nursing home abuse victim dies because of their injuries, their loved ones may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. Family members may also have grounds for a lawsuit if a sexual assault victim dies of suicide because of their trauma. 
  • Defective products or taking recalled drugs: Commercial products caused injuries that sent more than 11 million people to hospitals for emergency medical care in 2021. Severe injuries can result in loss of life. There are also hundreds of recalled drugs each year. Taking recalled drugs can cause illness, injury, or death. 
  • Drunk driving accidents: When a party driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, prescription medication, or recreational drugs causes an accident, it’s considered a DUI accident. Drunk driving, with a blood alcohol content higher than the legal limit, was a factor in over 13,000 car accident fatalities in 2021. 
  • Medical malpractice: Patients may not receive adequate or appropriate care from medical professionals. Failing to order standard tests, misdiagnosing patients, and using the wrong treatments can be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. 
  • Motorcycle accidents: Like bicyclists, motorcyclists are vulnerable on roadways. Their exposure to the elements means they have no protection from other vehicles, which is why motorcycle accident victims often receive severe injuries or die in the accident.
  • Pedestrian accidents: More than 6,500 pedestrians died in accidents in 2020. States with the highest pedestrian fatality rates included New Mexico, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Florida. Colorado ranked 29th, with 89 pedestrian fatalities that year.
  • Premises negligence: Property owners must ensure their property is reasonably safe. If a property has a large hole in the yard or a damaged porch that can’t support weight, the property owner should place signs to alert people to the hazard. Failing to take steps to correct the problem or warn people of a safety risk can be grounds for a premises negligence lawsuit.  
  • Slip-and-fall accidents: Victims of slip and fall accidents may receive severe wounds causing permanent injuries or death. Injuries from falls claimed over 42,000 lives in 2020. When a person falls because of another party’s negligence or wrongful actions, that party may be liable for the victim’s personal injury or death. 
  • Truck accidents: In addition to cars, bicycles, and motorcycles, there are millions of commercial vehicles on U.S. roadways, including eighteen-wheelers, construction vehicles, and box trucks. Passenger vehicles are smaller and lighter than commercial vehicles, which is why accidents involving trucks can cause severe injuries or death.
  • Work-related injuries: Workplace accidents caused 5,190 deaths in the U.S. in 2021. Causes of workplace fatalities include heat exposure, falls, electrocution, and traffic accidents.

Who can bring a wrongful death suit in Aurora, Colorado? 

Colorado allows surviving family members to file wrongful death lawsuits. The family member who can file depends on who survives the decedent. 

Suppose the decedent was a child or young adult without a surviving spouse or children. Colorado law allows their parents to file a wrongful death case. 

However, if the decedent was survived by their spouse, the spouse can file the wrongful death case in Aurora. No waiting period applies to a surviving spouse. 

There are two possibilities in cases where a spouse and children survive the decedent. The spouse can agree the children can file immediately, eliminating the waiting period that applies to offspring. If the spouse doesn’t consent, the decedent’s children must wait until a year passes before they can take legal action. 

If the decedent had a designated beneficiary, the beneficiary can file a lawsuit. However, despite the statute of limitations that applies to other parties, the beneficiary only has three months to file if the decedent’s spouse or children file suit.

How do you prove wrongful death?

Proving a wrongful death suit involves demonstrating the party responsible for the death was either negligent or took deliberate actions that caused the death. The standard for negligence centers on how a typical person would behave under the same circumstances. Proving the at-fault party did something most people wouldn’t do, or didn’t do something most people would do, is the basis for proving negligence. 

Once negligence is established, your wrongful death lawyer must demonstrate that the at-fault party’s actions caused your loved one’s death. Successful wrongful death suits must also establish the cost the decedent’s surviving family members have suffered from their death.

What can be recovered in a wrongful death claim in Aurora?

Wrongful death suits allow surviving family members to recover expenses related to their loved one’s passing. The claimant can seek reimbursement for costs incurred that are a direct result of the incident leading to the decedent’s death, including the following:

  • Childcare costs
  • Damaged property repairs
  • Damaged property replacement
  • Funeral and burial expenses 
  • Home care costs
  • House cleaning expenses
  • Lost income
  • Medical bills 
  • Transportation expenses

Easing the financial burden on surviving family members

Unexpectedly losing a loved one can cause financial challenges for surviving family members, mainly if the decedent was one of the primary providers in the home. There are also extensive costs associated with the loss of stay-at-home parents, such as childcare costs. 

Colorado has several benefit options that may be available to surviving family members. Our Victim Advocates can explain these benefits and help you identify what you could qualify to receive.

What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Colorado? 

Unfortunately, surviving family members may need to make legal decisions after their loved one’s passing. Colorado statutes require the appropriate family members or beneficiaries to file a lawsuit within two years. The countdown to this deadline begins on the date of the decedent’s passing. The statute of limitations doubles to four years if vehicular homicide is the cause of death.

What type of compensation is available for a wrongful death claim?

Claimants may receive a settlement or a judgment from their wrongful death case. Settlements are agreements reached between the parties. Most settlements are reached before a trial. When a case goes to trial, and the verdict is in the claimant’s favor, the court orders the at-fault party to pay a judgment. 

Both settlements and judgments include economic damages, which is financial compensation for the costs you incurred. In addition to these damages, you can receive emotional or non-economic damages. Emotional damages recognize the way your loved one’s death has affected you and can include financial compensation for the following:

  • Anxiety: Claimants may be anxious about the safety of other family members after losing a loved one
  • Depression: Suffering a traumatic loss can cause surviving family members to struggle with depression 
  • Grief: It’s natural for the decedent’s family members to grieve after their passing. Grief can interfere with a person’s ability to work and perform routine tasks, justifying compensation for the loss of income and costs incurred. 
  • Loss of companionship: Loss of consortium is a term that refers to the personal benefits people receive from relationships and the cost of losing those benefits after a loved one’s death. Loss of consortium includes loss of companionship and intimacy. 
  • Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering compensation covers the emotional difficulties experienced after a loved one’s death
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Those who’ve lost loved ones in wrongful death incidents may develop PTSD and need ongoing therapy to help them cope with their trauma

Some claimants may also receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are applicable when the at-fault party acted recklessly or with deliberate indifference for the safety of others. As the name infers, these damages are awarded to punish the at-fault party for their actions.

What if the person or organization responsible does not have enough money to pay the settlement?

Wrongful death cases often involve payments from the at-fault party’s insurance company. When the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance, the claimants have some options they can pursue. Putting a lien against the at-fault party’s property is possible to force them to pay the judgment. The owner can only sell the property once the lien is removed. Therefore, a lien against their home or vehicle can limit their options until they pay the wrongful death settlement. You may also be able to garnish their wages to receive payment for medical costs included in your judgment.

“Wrongful death” vs. “survival action”

In some situations, the person closest to a decedent doesn’t qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, until 2015, many gay couples couldn’t marry. Some people don’t marry because of their personal beliefs. Suppose you and your partner haven’t married, but your partner named you as their legal representative in their will before they died. As their legal representative, you may opt to pursue a survival action

The other distinction between survival action and wrongful death suits is the compensation available. Designated representatives file survival action cases and can only seek reimbursement for economic damages. Claimants can’t seek compensation for emotional damages.

What is the average settlement for a wrongful death claim in Aurora, Colorado?

Settlements and judgments for wrongful death cases depend on whether punitive damages are applied, the amount of costs resulting from the death, and the circumstances that led to the decedent’s passing. 

After an Aurora police officer caused the wrongful death of Naeschylus Vinzant, the victim’s family received $2.6 million from the City of Aurora. Another police-involved incident in 2019 resulted in the wrongful death of Elijah McClain. The City of Aurora settled that case for $15 million.

At Bachus & Schanker, we’ve helped clients receive millions in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Our law firm will fight to get you fair compensation for losing your loved one.

How our team of Aurora wrongful death lawyers can help you

An Aurora wrongful death lawyer reading a law book at his desk. On his desk is paperwork, more books, a Lady Justice statue, and a gavel.

Turn to our Aurora wrongful death lawyers after losing a loved one. As your wrongful death lawyer, we’re your advocate. We’ll help you understand the legal process and how much compensation you could receive after a loved one’s wrongful death. Our Victim Advocates will gather the evidence needed to prove your claim. They will help you with practical and personal matters while we resolve your case.


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Economics and Industry Data. (2023). 

Gillespie, J. (2023). Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Colorado

Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities. (2023). 

Livesay, J. (2023). When was same-sex marriage legalized? A quick history of an LGBTQ rights battle in the U.S.

Loss of Consortium. (2023). 

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